This book captures the inspirational, humorous and heart-warming stories of a particularly adept group of leaders—“Navy Chiefs” (Navy Chief Petty Officers).

The leadership principles and practices explored here are universal. They should resonate with anyone who aspires to be a better leader, but they will be particularly relevant to those who find old explanations of leadership and organization lacking, and those who yearn for role models dedicated to a purpose greater than themselves.

Navy Chiefs inspire, train and motivate young sailors to accomplish the often unglamorous work of the Navy. Work usually performed in challenging, hazardous conditions.

Through the stories of Navy Chiefs, and the simple exercises presented at the end of each chapter, the reader will uncover their own stories and discover the powerful nexus between narrative and exceptional leadership.


Listen up to morning quarters! “So there we were…” is a must read, “no sh*t,” sea story for wannabe E-7’s, a walk down memory lane for Chiefs and a lesson in effective leadership for all others.
–Duane R. Bushey (Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy, retired)

This is easily the most original and important work about leadership I have read! “So there we were…” is the essence of leadership writ large.
–Jesse J. Elliott (Force Master Chief, USN, retired)

With a Navy Admiral for a father, I learned early on that storytelling is a great way to teach valuable lessons about leadership. Read “So there we were…” and let Patricia Reily show you how leadership principles and concepts can often be communicated best through the art of the story.
–Ken Blanchard, coauthor of The One Minute Manager® and Lead with LUV

A fascinating look into what makes the world’s great Navy tick–The Chief.  Have you ever wondered how common citizens from all walks of life can grow and inspire others to do the impossible?  The Navy Chief Petty Officer has always been, and continues to be, an amazing example of how leadership emerges from the ranks through experience and tradition. Dr. Reily explores the complex and experiential learning environment of simple deck plate sailors who come up from the ranks and learn through story to lead by example. There is nothing, and I mean nothing, better than a good sea story. This should be a required read for every aspiring young sailor and would be leader no matter what field they choose.
–Len R. Hering, Rear Admiral, USN (retired)
Vice President for Business Services and Administration, University of San Diego.

The Navy Chief has run the Navy for 235 years.  Anyone who has served understands this concept.  Other organizations can learn a lot about leadership from these heroes and the wonderful sea stories they know how to tell.  Dr. Reily captures the essence of story beautifully and practically.
–Ronne Froman, Rear Admiral, USN (retired)
CEO/Chair National Veterans Transitions Services, Inc.

Commander Reily’s work takes us to a new level in the study of organizational storytelling. Rather than focus on executive narrative, as so many others have, she examines how the Navy’s middle managers, Chief Petty Officers, use stories to communicate the culture in very real life-or-death situations. As such, it sets a new standard for exploring the function of storytelling for managers in all organizations.
–Ken Baskin, Ph.D., author of Corporate DNA: Learning from Life.

Patricia Reily was masterful in tying the stories of Chief Petty Officers into academic principles. She was able to communicate the stories portraying the environment that I matured (and thrived) in
for nearly 30 years and showed me that the stories we used routinely to communicate lessons to our sailors was in fact…leadership.
–James B. Ford, Director, U.S. Navy Senior Enlisted Academy (2007-2009).

“So there we were…” is a must read for any leader or manager trying to tap into the essence of an organization.  Capturing the spirit of “The Chief” and how the chief trains, educates, and mentors the Sailors that he or she is responsible for, through storytelling and narrative, is revolutionary!
–Tom Whitney, Command Master Chief, USN (retired).

Click here to download detailed contents (PDF format)

Current Stock:

No Reviews Write a Review