I Have the Watch: Becoming a Leader Worth Following

When you’re a leader, you have the watch.

Through seven deployments commanding sailors in the complex and dangerous world of nuclear submarine warfare, Jon Rennie experienced a deep form of leadership. On a sub, there is no escape. No “after work.” No home to commute to. You live and lead side-by-side with the crew, every day.

What Rennie didn’t realize was how much his time underwater prepared him to lead global industrial businesses and startups across multiple industries.

Becoming a leader worth following begins—and ends—with people.

“This book cuts to the heart of the matter of leadership: it’s all about people.” Says Joshua D. Cotton, PhD, Founder and CEO, VetStoreUSA

All in the Same Boat: Lessons I Learned While Leading on a Nuclear Submarine

Available in 2020

My first job out of college was my dream job. I served as a Naval Officer on a nuclear submarine, the USS Tennessee. In five years, I earned my “dolphins” (qualified submarine officer) and was certified as a naval nuclear engineer. I made seven deployments and spent around 540 days underwater. Yes, that’s a year and a half under the ocean.

Some say living on a submarine is a lot like space travel. I think it’s more like being locked up at work with 150 of your coworkers where no one can go home for three months at a time. The truth is, it’s a bit of a social experiment. You learn a lot about people and leadership when you’re locked in a 560-foot metal tube with a nuclear reactor and 24 nuclear missiles for 77 days straight.

On a submarine at sea, you can’t get away from people you don’t like. You learn quickly how to work with others to complete the mission. You realize quickly, that, regardless of rank, you’re all in the same boat. 

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