Admiral Mike “Wizzard” McCabe

TOPGUN Leadership Speaker

A Historic Leader With a Passion for Innovation and Change

Mike is a highly decorated, experienced leader, former admiral and corporate CEO, who teaches others to lead and teams to reach their potential.

As head of all Naval Aviation, Admiral Mike McCabe oversaw some of the deepest technological shifts and changes at the U.S. Navy. He ensured thousands of military personnel would be ready for these transformations and managed the budgets that supported these key innovations and changes. His career was driven by one motivation: sustaining a culture of excellence while caring for his people. He is eager to share these leadership values of care, action and innovation with today’s decision makers..

He draws inspiration from his father, a World War II Navy pilot and early jet pilot, who was killed deploying to the Korean War. Eighteen months after graduating college. Mike was flying combat missions under the mentorship of one of the original TopGun Instructors, shooting down MIGs together. He became the Executive Officer of TopGun himself, and the two combined again to contribute to the movie “Top Gun”.

Mike commanded at every operational level of the Navy. His five commands at sea ranged from 14 Fighters and 300 personnel to a U.S. Fleet of 43,000 personnel, with 1400 aircraft and 88 ships. In these commands, he was able to achieve excellence, while suffering no operational loss of life while in command. His combat decorations include the Silver Star and Distinguished Flying Cross. Mike also served as the Director of Air Warfare for the Navy, in which capacity he was in the Pentagon when the terrorist attack struck the building directly below his office. During that tour, he was largely responsible for the next generation of naval aviation technology, aircraft and aircraft carriers.

As a speaker and a leadership consultant, Mike is dedicated to translating his experience for use in varied and unique organizations.

  • High Performance and Culture of Excellence
  • Teamwork
  • Elevated Beliefs and Raising Performance Expectations
  • Leadership

Wizzard totally exceeded my expectations. He’s the epitome of what I consider to be an ideal leader. Putting a leading giant like him in front of people makes a huge impact and it’s extremely motivating.
Mike Silva / GE Capitol

Wizzard is such a great guy, so unassuming, but a real national hero. The more you’re around him, the more you discover just how incredible he is. Having him talk to our team was invaluable.
Mark Helfrich / Head Coach, University of Oregon

Wizzard did an amazing job breaking down the Blue Angel and Top Gun mentality and relating how to create a sustainable business model through excellence. I loved it. Darren Linnemann / VAREP

Travels From:  Idaho
$20,001 to $30,000


As a Leader, Mike McCabe oversaw some of the deepest technology shifts and changes at the US Navy. He ensured thousands of military personnel would be ready for these transformations and managed the budgets that supported these key innovations and changes.

His whole military career was driven by one motivation: sustaining a culture of excellence while caring for his people. He is eager to share these leadership values of care, action and innovation with today’s decision makers.

Mike’s passion for leadership took root during his term as an instructor at the renowned Navy Fighter Weapons School, aka TOPGUN. Blending his extensive command experience and TOPGUN best-practice, Mike McCabe has created an approach to leadership that is compelling, current and truly one of a kind.

Mike’s career is the stuff of dreams. As a child, he could be often found moving down the hallway with his five model aircraft carriers. When he became Director of Air Warfare at the Pentagon, Mike McCabe oversaw mega budgets of $31 billion per year in resources to support over 4000 aircraft, 12,000 naval aviators 60,000 personnel, and of course, 12 full-size aircraft carriers.

However, Mike’s story does not end with the military. In 2005 he retired from the Navy, and his unique leadership found new home as the President and COO of a commercial airline. In that arena, he successfully employed the same tactics and approaches he honed in his naval career.


High Performance is a mindset, a process, and a commitment to a culture of excellence that accelerates every day performance and achievement. High Performance is a journey toward excellence and elevated execution that has the power to carry individuals and teams beyond their expectations.

Elevated choices create elevated results. Making better choices isn’t about knowing the future, it’s about setting yourself up for success, every single day. Learning from the past is the key to plotting the future. There’s no better way to examine the past than through a debrief.

Research has shown the effects of a positive mindset. When our mind is grateful, it changes the way we see the world. It re-centers our priorities, it activates emotions that lead to happiness and it leaves us in a more open state, willing to embrace otherwise unforeseen opportunities. With a grateful mindset, we can see our options and their outcomes more clearly.

Teamwork is the collective potential of individuals harnessed to create an exponential outcome of a unit. Effective teamwork requires many variables including trust, communication, a belief in purpose greater than self, and a common goal.

A CenterPoint is a single reference point or a shared goal that holds the collective focus of a team. The concept of CenterPoint can be used to create unified, powerful action in any organization. A well and clearly communicated CenterPoint helps individuals maintain vision of goals and objectives. For teams, an effective CenterPoint keeps actions focused on priorities, while inspiring collaboration, which leads to faster outcomes, innovation and elevated trust.

Identifying and aligning your teams on a CenterPoint keeps action directed toward desired outcomes while still allowing teams to be adaptable.

People and teams operate at the level of their beliefs. When we raise the level of those beliefs, performance will follow.

A simple self-reflection on limiting and liberating beliefs can create new alignment and precision in individuals and teams.
Perception is reality. What leaders, teams, and individuals believe drives behavior and a level of performance that mirrors those beliefs. This is true for both the high end performers and the lower end performers. So what is the difference? What separates the best from the rest and what separates the best from the best?

Performance is directly linked to short term beliefs and long term mindset. A leader’s mindset and emotional intelligence is a proven critical element of high performing teams. When you evaluate performance in any industry, leadership often is the differentiator above skill and experience.

Teams become elite because of leadership, a commitment to excellence and a proven process. As companies transform their DNA and pivot their business to compete in the new digital paradigm, the ability to develop transformational leadership and enable workforce evolution is a critical competitive advantage.

The potential of elite performance lives within every individual, every team and every organization. It takes intentional leadership to enable that potential and turn it into focused action.

Areas of expertise

  • Military Motivation
  • Military
  • Defense Industry
  • Corporate Culture
  • Business Leader, CEO
  • Change Management
  • Business Growth
  • Innovation
  • Motivational Business
© 2021 Ro Morrison & Assoc.