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What causes a leader to fail? What can we learn from those who have fallen? How do we avoid failure of our own?
These are just a few of the questions answered in Derailed: 5 Lessons Learned from Catastrophic Failures of Leadership, a book for leaders and aspiring leaders of all levels by Tim Irwin, Ph.D. Derailed chronicles the collapse of six high-profile CEOs, the factors that drove their downfalls, and the lessons that we can learn to stay ...
What causes a leader to fail? What can we learn from those who have fallen? How do we avoid failure of our own?
These are just a few of the questions answered in Derailed: 5 Lessons Learned from Catastrophic Failures of Leadership, a book for leaders and aspiring leaders of all levels by Tim Irwin, Ph.D. Derailed chronicles the collapse of six high-profile CEOs, the factors that drove their downfalls, and the lessons that we can learn to stay on track and avoid derailing our own lives and careers.
The story of the fallen CEO has become a cultural fixture: veering off course with the force of a train careening off its tracks, leaving fiery wreckage and devastating injury throughout the organization. These executives are often the smartest and most respected individuals in their industries, with glittering resumes and histories of successful leadership. Yet they astonish us by driving the train dramatically off course, blinded by unchecked power and arrogance.
Dr. Tim Irwin believes that these leaders suffer from failures of character that are common to each of us--even the most capable individuals. Deficits in authenticity, humility, self-management, and courage become more dangerous as we take on more leadership, and can cause us to ignore glaring signals that might otherwise save us from catastrophic demise. Derailed files the collapse of six high-profile CEOs (Robert Nardelli – Home Depot, Carly Fiorina - HP, Durk Jager – Proctor and Gamble, Steven Heyer – Starwood Hotels, Frank Raines – Fannie Mae, Dick Fuld – Lehman Brothers) and the factors that drove their downfalls, finding that derailment actually happens long before the crash and can be avoided. Derailed explains the character qualities that are essential for successful leadership and how to cultivate them so that we can avoid being derailed.
“…ultimately this book is not really about six famous leaders who derailed. It is about you. And me. And anyone who ever decided to accept a position of leadership.”
-Patrick Lencioni, writer of foreword for Derailed, author The Five Dysfunctions of a team
"This is not just a book for CEOs. It is for anyone who serves in a leadership capacity—pastors, teachers, government officials, and even mid-level managers in corporations. Not only is this a book you should read; in my opinion, it’s a book you can’t afford not to read. There is simply too much at stake."
- Michael Hyatt, CEO, Thomas Nelson
Posted November 30, 2011
This book was recommended by a trainer during management development class and it was well worth reading at a time I needed it the most. I quit a 23 year career with a drug retail company who used a narcissistic personality to push me out the door. I was offered a buy out by the company while in a higher position, but took the hard way out. Now working for a company that has already used deceit and a high stress manager during my training, which was causing me to question my ability to stay above water.
This book has given me insight to move forward and re-evaluate who I am. I am just as good as the rest.
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Posted March 30, 2011
When "Fortune 100" executives lose their jobs over spectacular errors of judgment or behavior, it's always their innate nature that leads them astray. Dynamic, forceful, ambitious executives have no monopoly on blindness about their darker urges, but if you want to achieve success under stress and manifest your goals, you must look inside yourself and be honest about what you see. Leadership guru Tim Irwin dissects six larger-than-life executives who derailed and explains what you can learn from each of them and from all of them. His easy, readable, compassionate tone conceals the profundity of his insights, but he delivers his message. getAbstract highly recommends this unique combination of business history, social critique and worthy self-help. Honestly answering the questions the author raises can help anyone avoid derailing.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 1, 2010
As a pastor, I appreciate reading good books on developing and maintaining healthy leadership. In Tim Irwin's book, he starts out with six profiles of leaders who were derailed in their leadership of well known companies. He then points out ways that we can avoid derailment in our personal and leadership lives.
Self examination is an intricule part of leadership that can be left by the wayside as leaders forget what made them leaders in the first place. The point is, that a failure in character trumps any effectiveness or competence you have in skills and organization. I enjoyed this book and if you're in any leadership position, you'll probably get some real insight from it.
Posted February 17, 2010
If you are a leader, you will fail. But, that failure does not have to be catastrophic. Tim Irwin has written a wonderful documented book on lessons we can learn from the catastrophic failure of others, including the high profile Carly Fiorina (Hewlett Packard) and the more recently in the news again Frank Raines (Fannie Mae).
These examples, plus others, give a good basis for an interesting study in how failure gets on its own track and eventually derails. The most interesting observation to me is that it is so easy to notice from the outside but difficult to see for one's self. This is probably because the first two stages of the process involve a slow failure of self-/other-awareness and pride. Derailment is a process not usually a single event.
As someone who as found his own train off the tracks, I wish I would have had this information years ago. It is not just a book to keep you on the tracks but one that attempts to make you a better leader. From helping leaders deal with stress to making better decisions, De-railed expounds on the lessons learns and then works to help you develop the habits to stay on the track.
Leaders have to be more open to feedback, develop a great system for self-/other-awareness, listen to early warnings (this book tells you what they are) and foster accountability in themselves and others. (As an added bonus: the publisher offers two additional "freebies" for download.)
Posted February 12, 2010
I was genuinely excited when I saw "Derailed" on the list of books I could get from BookSneeze to read, review and blog about. Unfortunately it's a book that produces high expectations but ultimately fails to deliver.
The concept of this book is sound. Look at the derailment of some very high profile people and draw conclusions on how derailment happens to highly competent people based on any common denominators he could find. The chapters and stories told about the derailment of Robert Nardelli, Carly Fiorina, Durk Jager, Steve Heyer, Frank Raines, and Dick Fuld were well told and very entertaining.
The problem is entertainment doesn't make for an in-depth critique of what really went wrong. It also tends to mean that the examples are looked at with lease then objective eyes. In this case it really did appear that the writer knew what he was looking for and highlighted pretty much only those things that fitted the outcome he wanted.
The second half of the book is basically about general platitudes on leadership. No one could argue with what he is saying but he takes far too many words to say it.
Michael Hyatt of Thomas Nelson, the publishers of this book has stated in a blog post that one shouldn't be scared to stop reading a book partway through if it isn't interesting enough. This would have happened was this book had it not been for the fact that as I promised to read it fully to write the review (ironically for Thomas Nelson's BookSneeze).
On the positive side it did remind me, as do many books, to look at the flaws in my character that could derail me. So it certainly wasn't a complete waste of time!
Unfortunately I can only give this one a rating of two stars.
Posted January 25, 2010
Derailed: Five Lessons Learned From Catastrophic Failures of Leadership is by Tim Irwin, PhD. Irwin is also the best-selling author of The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines derailment as "to cause to run off the rails." According to Irwin, derailment in the workplace occurs when individuals cannot continue in their current jobs because they are not on the path that they need to be on to be successful. He uses the analogy of a train running off the rails, a derailment, and how it can lead to disaster. He details the derailment of six well-known CEOs and the well publicized news of their downfalls.
In his book, Irwin explains how derailment occurs over time. There are four stages that lead up to derailment. Irwin characterizes the final stage, a fifth stage, as derailment. He details the failures of Robert Narelli, Carly Fiorina, Durk Jager, Steven Heyer, Frank Raines, and Dick Fuld as CEOs and the leaders of well known companies such as HP and Home Depot. These individuals were among the best and brightest in the corporate world and yet they failed in their jobs.
How does one "derail"? A lack of compassion, pride, ignoring the warning signs, and rationalizing why things are not going the way you want all can lead to derailment, according to Irwin. How do you keep from derailing? Being open, listening to others, being self aware, listening to the warning signs, being accountable, and being resilient or able to grow from your experiences can all keep you on track. Based on his observations, Irwin proposes five lessons that we can all learn from these individuals' derailments.
I found this book valuable in dealing with everyday situations. The lessons learned can be applied to everyday situations whether you are a SAHM or a CEO like the individuals profiled in this book. Our true character often comes out when we are faced with stressful situations. It is important to always be considerate of others and to be aware of how you react in these situations. Also, strengths can become weaknesses if they run unchecked. Arrogance is never pretty. We need to look at our selves and to be honest with the person we see. If we don't, we can become derailed in our personal lives and in the workplace. There is always time to change. The question is: Are we humble enough to change what needs to be changed before we derail?
Posted January 22, 2010
Just finished this great book & have to say, that I've
learned five important lessons from Derailed about
Catastrophic Failures in Leadership.
This was an eye opener for me as I am a co-partner
with my dh in our construction business. Since reading
this we have come to our senses and have changed
many things about how we run our company.
This is definitely a good read/self help for people
in leadership positions who need a good reminder
of why they're there at the top.I think it's a great
learning lesson about CEOs who were at the top
of their game but somewhere took a wrong turn
and got ousted. [my take on it]
Posted December 31, 2009
As part of my membership at the Thomas Nelson Book Review Blogger program http://brb.thomasnelson.com/, I recently got the opportunity to read and review Tim Irwin's Derailed. It takes 6 high profile czars of the business world and then, shows us what led to their downfall. Names such as Robert Nardelli, Carly Fiorina and others have been profiled and so have their downfalls. However, as the author, makes it quite clear in the Preface, Derailed is not about the six CEOs, it is essentially about us. It is about learning the basic characteristics that set apart a real leader from someone who is shooting towards eventual failure.
The fact that the book focuses on real stories makes it not just interesting but also inspiring and informative. These aren't just random case studies but are actual people, famous people, CEOs who are bright, intelligent, hard-working and yet for some reason, fell short. Moreover, the book goes on to teach us how to avoid getting off track and continuing on the path of success simply by being in touch with qualities such as humility, consideration, self-awareness and other often-overlooked character strengths. The book is filled with useful tips, advice and strategies for becoming leaders that are successful yet compassionate and considerate. It is a must-read for anyone presently in a leadership role or planning on getting there.
Posted December 20, 2009
Based on some practical examples the neglectance of soft skills showes the derailment of some popular business leaders. Lessons learned help to prevent derailment and everybody who has to work with people should think about his or her behavior related to these points during reading this book.
Nice to have is a free electronic download of an ebook and an audio version of this book.
Posted December 17, 2009
This book is broken down into a few sections. Starting with an explanation of derailed, then giving examples of careers that have come off the track. The rest of the book covers the reasons why these people derailed their career or life and helps the reader to avoid making the same mistakes.
This was a book that I really enjoyed reading. It was thought provoking to me and asked some very good questions that I need to answer in my life. To me the book gives me something that I could use as a reference guide on this that I could work on to improve me career and also things that I should be very careful to avoid doing.
As I read this book, I found myself thinking about how I could apply the position lessons in my life. One of the things that I realized is that while the examples were of people's careers that were derailed, this book can be used to help with your personal life as well.
This is a book that I will read again and also suggest to other people in leadership roles.
Posted December 14, 2009
Derailed by Tim Irwin is the vaccination every leader needs but rarely gets, and the reason it is so rare is because it stings a bit. Irwin takes traces of common factors of decline for leaders of large and recognizable corporations and forms a powerful vaccination sure to immunize you from your own downfall as a leader.
The overall intention of this book is clear. It reveals certain vulnerabilities if left unattended can and will lead to 'derail'. Character is the impetus for everything we do, and Irwin is clear in stating that the greatest impact of our leadership can always be traced back to our character.
The first ingredient in this vaccination is 5 parts profile. The reader is given a glimpse of 6 high level leaders who have derailed due to a character flaw left unattended. These profiles are written to not only commiserate with each fallen leader, but to identify with one or more of them. You quickly discover where this book may be leading you once you read these profiles.
A quick explanation of derailment follows. There are 5 stages to the process of an eventual derailment: Failure of Self-/Other-Awareness, Pride Before the Fall, Missed Early Warning Signals, Rationalizing, and Derailment. It is revealed how if left ignored, these stages happen almost effortlessly.
Irwin develops 4 dimensions of character each leader, no matter the capacity, should develop and maintain: Authenticity, Self-Management, Humility, and Courage. The explanations of these dimensions are the alcohol swab before the injection.
Injection: the derailment factors to be aware of if your leadership lacks any of the aforementioned character dimensions. The healing vaccination Irwin provides in this book necessarily is applied with a sting.
The book is closed with a soothing band-aid in a description of the ways to stay on the track without derailing. You can still be a dynamic leader if you do not ignore the danger, face the sting, and move forward. Irwin closes this book with a great look at how this is accomplished.
I received this book for free in exchange for a review to be written for Thomas Nelson publishing, but knowing what I know now, I would have paid a good amount to gain the tools provided in the reading of it. No matter the capacity in which you lead, this book will serve you very well in forming a long-lasting leadership wherever you are. It is the vaccination every leader needs.
Posted December 10, 2009
"Derailed: Five Lessons Learned from Catastrophic Failures of Leadership," by Tim Irwin, Ph.D. is an excellent opportunity for aspiring business people to learn from the mistakes that derailed the success train of several prominent business leaders.
Among the six former CEOs profiled in "Derailed: Five Lessons Learned from Catastrophic Failures of Leadership," are former Home Depot leader, Bob Nardelli and Previous Lehman Brothers Holdings, Inc, CEO Dick Fuld.
The two men, who were considered cultural fixtures, both fell from grace after their companies' profit-ratio sank.
"Derailed: Five Lessons Learned from Catastrophic Failures of Leadership" puts a new twist on the "How-To" by showing readers "how not to" become the next fallen CEO story.
Irwin believes these leaders suffer from character failures that are common to each of us - even the most capable individuals. Deficits in authenticity, humility self-management, and courage become dangerous as we take on more leadership, and can cause us to ignore glaring signals that might otherwise save us from catastrophic demise.
"Derailed: Five Lessons Learned from Catastrophic Failures of Leadership" chronicles the fall of six high-profile CEOs and the factors that drove their downfalls, finding that derailment actually happens long before the crash and can be avoided.
Irwin explains how essential character qualities are imperative to successful leadership and how to cultivate them.
This is a truly worthwhile book and every business-minded person should take heed and learn from the masters.
I wonder if the second edition should include Tiger Woods.
Posted November 19, 2009
Derailed chronicles the careers of six CEO's in the business world. Each of these CEO's had a career that many would envy; well paid and in control. They also each had one thing in common. They all failed at their careers due to a lack of leadership skills and character.
Derailed gives the reader a look into each person's career and allows them to see how they failed and what lessons can be learned from their failures. A few of the CEO's he describes include Dick Fuld, former CEO of Lehman Brothers, and Durk Jager, former CEO of Proctor & Gamble.
Tim Irwin explains what the five stages of derailment are and how we can avoid them in our personal lives by recognizing the attitudes and behaviors that lead us there. This book is ideal for anyone who holds a leadership position in their lives. You don't have to be a leader in a business capacity, these ideas can easily be used by teachers, pastors or youth group leaders.
Posted November 17, 2009
If you are managing a business you must read Derailed by Tim Irwin. Tim explains the mistakes that happen in other businesses such as the Home Depot, and tells you how to avoid that happening, and he also tells of some of his experiences, and what went wrong there. He explains the qualities of character, which are authenticity, self-management, humility, and courage. This book will be helpful for anyone who is in a position of power.
This book should be read by anyone who is in management. The information is straight forward, and easy to understand and use! I have picked up a lot of information that I have been applying to my life, and I have been seeing great results!
Posted November 8, 2009
Derailed: Five Lessons Learned from Catastrophic Failures of Leadership, by Tim Irwin, PhD discusses the principles of leadership and where some of the high level CEOs have failed and why. Six CEOs are profiled, and the author identifies the lessons learned, thendescribes how to avoid the failures.
Derailed fell flat for me because it didn't give anything that I didn't know already, and there were areas I thought it should have addressed. One of the things that never gets mentioned--and it is obvious to me--is that in each case when the CEO failed, he came in to fix a company that needed change. When I was in the army, we had a bad leader who caused morale to sink to a new low. We needed changed, and when the old leader left, the new one rushed in to fix the problem. She alienated everyone. Yet, she'd been in this position twice before, quite successfully, but the difference was the change. Would these leaders have been successful if they had come into a company that was doing well and didn't need change? They certainly would have made different decisions.
The book felt a little like it was treating the symptoms and not getting at the underlying causes.
Disclaimer: I received this book for free from Thomas-Nelson, the publisher, in exchange for doing this review.
Posted November 1, 2009
I'd highly recommend this book. It's filled with practical insight that will greatly benefit anyone who is in a position of influence and leadership (which is just about any of us to some degree or another, regardless of our job or title). I think Dr. Irwin has done a masterful job of not only teaching by exampling several leaders who failed and the characteristics they all exhibited but also in offering up equipping lessons that will help us avoid their same fate. For me, the true test of a good book is how much I underline, highlight or make notes in the margins within the pages. As I looked back through my copy of Derailed, I realized that I underlined and highlighted something on almost every page! This will definitely be one of those books I keep close by to refer back to often.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 1, 2012
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Posted November 6, 2009
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