Navigating the Seven Seas

Leadership Lessons of the First African American Father and Son to Serve at the Top in the U.S. Navy

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Navigating the Seven Seas is an account of the leadership experiences two high-achieving African-Americans in the U.S. Navy. This father and son duo both achieved leadership ranks in the service of their country by following certain precepts than can applied for success in any profession, both military and civilian.

Melvin G. Williams, Sr. served in the U.S. Navy for 27 years (1951-1978) and reached the highest enlisted leadership rank of Master Chief, with final Navy leadership assignment as a Command Master Chief. His son, Melvin G. Williams, Jr., served 32 years (1978-2010) and reached the rank of Vice Admiral with final Navy leadership assignment as a Fleet Commander). As two African Americans who served the nation for nearly 60 consecutive years across two generations, they hope to provide readers with their perspectives on leadership.

Their book describes how they navigated up through the ranks of the U.S. Navy to positions of greater responsibility by employing their “Seven Cs” of leadership: Character, Competence, Courage, Commitment, Caring, Communicating, and Community.

Their book addresses the questions regarding who a leader is, what a leader does, why and how a leader performs? Although the context of their experiences is with the U.S. Navy, their message is that the seven Leadership Cs are germane to all readers, regardless of occupation or leadership situation (civilian, military, public and private industry, etc.), and regardless of the reader’s background, culture, or gender.

The authors contend that leadership is an art and a science and that leadership can be learned, practiced, and refined and that there is no stereotypical type cast mold for leaders. They argue that if they as members of a minority can rise to leadership roles in the U.S. Navy by following these key principles to navigate across the rough seas of life, then anyone can employ these rules to rise to increased leadership responsibility in any profession or career.

About the Author

Editorial Reviews

“A worthy primer for those interested in what it takes to become and be a successful leader, written by a father–son duo who successfully made it to the top of Navy leadership.” —ADMIRAL CARLISLE A. H. TROST, USN (Ret.), 23rd Chief of Naval Operations
“A most remarkable book by two Navy retirees, father and son, whose hard work and uncompromising ideals have established a family, a shared code of values, honor, integrity, and attainment. Its well-written message, artfully composed, gives their work a universal appeal for all readers, well beyond just the naval community, both for its powerful motivation and the pure enjoyment of the Williams family’s success in life.” —ADMIRAL JAMES L. HOLLOWAY III, USN (Ret.), 20th Chief of Naval Operations and author of Aircraft Carriers at War
“This is a must-read story for two reasons. The first being it’s a classic American tale of a parent and child that captures family values and love. The second reason is that two elements of the American spirit, leadership and character, are evident.” —TYRONE TABORN, Chairman and CEO of Career Communications Group, Inc
“The wisdom and knowledge they have gained serving our U.S. Navy is unsurpassed. Both men have ‘led by example’ and have enhanced the lives of others along the way. I recommend this book and their ‘Seven Cs’ principles of leadership to anyone seeking a life of challenge, leadership, and commitment.” —BRYON MARCHANT, President and CEO, Naval Academy Foundation