Run With the Bulls Without Getting Trampled: The Qualities You Need to Stay Out of Harm's Way and Thrive at Work [NOOK Book]


"[Run With the Bulls Without Getting Trampled shows] us how success in the workplace can be something more-but is never less-than the sum of our experiences, emotions, and intelligence. I really liked this book."
-Marcus Buckingham, International speaker and best-selling author, Now Discover Your Strengths and First, Break All the Rules

"Run With the Bulls Without Getting Trampled is one of those books that really makes you want to be a better ...

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Run With the Bulls Without Getting Trampled: The Qualities You Need to Stay Out of Harm's Way and Thrive at Work

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"[Run With the Bulls Without Getting Trampled shows] us how success in the workplace can be something more-but is never less-than the sum of our experiences, emotions, and intelligence. I really liked this book."
-Marcus Buckingham, International speaker and best-selling author, Now Discover Your Strengths and First, Break All the Rules

"Run With the Bulls Without Getting Trampled is one of those books that really makes you want to be a better manager, a better leader, a better person. The stories are powerful, the anecdotes are right on the money, and the wisdom is so evident and clear."
-Pat Lencioni, Author, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, and President, The Table Group

"Run With the Bulls Without Getting Trampled grabbed me from page one and never let go. It's one of those rare business books full of fresh, original stories that inspire us to take a look at our three Cs: commitment, character, and competence."
-Ken Blanchard, Coauthor, The One Minute Manager® and Leading at a Higher Level

"As a member of the senior White House staff and a veteran in banking and the executive search fields, I have interviewed thousands of highly successful people. In Run With the Bulls Without Getting Trampled, Dr. Tim Irwin nails the essential differences between those who do well and those who don't. If you want to know what it takes to make it in any endeavor, read this book!"
-J. Veronica Biggins, Senior Partner, Heidrick & Struggles

"In this inspiring and adventure-filled book, Tim Irwin creatively weaves in stories from his own experiences with hard-hitting corporate examples. It's a great read for those willing to do the work required to experience their own spectacular results and enjoy success."
-Roger Staubach, Chairman/CEO, The Staubach Company and Super Bowl MVP
Run With the Bulls Without Getting Trampled features Tim Irwin's seven critical success factors as well as six common career derailers. With compelling real-life stories to launch each chapter, Irwin distills not only his experiences as a successful corporate psychologist but also what he has learned from others in thousands of interviews with senior executives. Inside you will also find how you can access free online self-assessment exercises and developmental resources.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
For the 85% of Americans who feel unhappy and unfulfilled by their work, Irwin provides a thoughtful examination of the likely causes and strategies for reversing course. His insight into the seven traits that underlie success and personal fulfillment are based on thousands of executive interviews he has conducted during his career as a corporate psychologist. He sharpens his message with stories of courage, perseverance and periodic disappointment from his own life-such as running with the bulls in Spain, crossing a glacier and helping a son through a Little League crisis. Though he sometimes overwrites, his points are still valid (e.g., he compares personal integrity to a submarine hull: even the slightest fissure can sink the whole ship). The exercises to help readers function with greater authenticity are neither gimmicky nor time-consuming. For example, he suggests examining a decision's validity by considering how the rationale would sound if explained to an investigative reporter on 60 Minutes. Irwin offers more personal insight than most management book authors and may save readers from hours on a therapist's couch. (Jan.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781418577674
  • Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/2/2007
  • Sold by: THOMAS NELSON
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 256
  • File size: 2 MB

Read an Excerpt

RUN WITH THE BULLS without Getting Trampled

The Qualities You Need to Stay Out of Harm's Way and Thrive at Work
By Tim Irwin

Nelson Business

Copyright © 2007 Tim Irwin, Ph.D.
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-7852-1951-4

Chapter One

The Run

In bullfighting they speak of the terrain of the bull and the terrain of the bullfighter. As long as a bullfighter stays in his own terrain he is comparatively safe. Each time he enters into the terrain of the bull he is in great danger. -Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises

The smell of livestock and damp hay hung in the Spanish air like humidity after a summer thunderstorm. The scent wafted over the freshly washed streets. Despite that morning's hosing down, the worn cobblestones still felt slippery from the stale beer and wine spilled by revelers the night before, mingled with who knows what else. But as the crowd of men standing in the street grew, the acrid smell of body odor sharply displaced the other aromas.

Along the winding cobblestone street, centuries-old three-story buildings with wrought-iron balconies were covered with flowering vines almost as vivid as the runners. Up and down the street, large throngs of noisy spectators leaned over the balconies and stood on nearby walls to watch the unfolding spectacle. The muted voices of other runners standing around in small groups grew in intensity as the start time approached. Suddenly, quiet prevailed as the men in the street spontaneously burst into a beautiful song, a prayer to the city's patron saint. "We ask San Fermin to guide us in the bull run, giving us his blessing."

We were all dressed alike-runners in the official uniform of San Fermin-white shirts and pants, with long red sashes tied around our waists and red bandanas around our necks. Many of the men looked worse for wear after a long and sleepless night of drinking and carousing. Some, in their dirty, wine-stained suits, looked like they had slept curled up in an alleyway. We were the corredores running in the encierro, trying to safely reach the Plaza de toros-the runners in the fenced-off street sprinting to the circular arena or bullring. For the corredores standing in the street that morning, running in the encierro was a badge of honor and a rite of passage. Some runners learned to be corredores as young boys, trained by their fathers with the kinder, gentler bulls on the opening day of San Fermin. All experienced a kinship with the brave corredores who had run before them in summers past.

* * *

The city of Pamplona was named after Pompey the Great, a Roman general who occupied the colorful Basque city around AD 75. Ernest Hemingway memorialized Pamplona and the festival of San Fermin in his novel The Sun Also Rises. The festival, which is held each year in the second week of July, honors the first bishop of Pamplona, who was martyred for his faith in Christ. While San Fermin has become a rowdy, drunken, eight-day carnival, at its heart it is still a religious celebration honoring this third-century saint. The red scarves we wore, called pañuelos, symbolized the shedding of the saint's blood.

During the day, the city vibrates with color and sound. Beautiful horses, resplendent with silver-clad saddles and bridles, carry riders in shimmering costumes reminiscent of sixteenth-century festivals. With bells clanging, the horses that are used to drag the carcasses of bulls killed by matadors parade through the cheering spectators. Loud bands march around the city with large, gaudy religious figures suspended on tall poles. Throngs of partyers in their red-and-white outfits roam the narrow streets, drinking wine morning and night from leather wineskins called botas. The excited children and oversized puppets dancing in the streets are like Disney World the week after schools recess for summer. The sidewalks bulge with the tents of vendors hawking their wares-red sashes, bandanas, and every other form of memorabilia. Bright table umbrellas crowd the sidewalk cafes at every plaza, and each night after the bullfight, a brilliant fireworks display showers the city. Every afternoon, matadors fight and kill the bulls that ran in that day's encierro. The costumed matadors' artful flair, the magnificent horses, the stern officials overseeing the event, and the 60,000 cheering, booing, and singing fans rival any NFL playoff game for bravado and pageantry.

Most foreigners know San Fermin simply as "the running of the bulls." On each of the eight days of the festival, six bulls and six steers are released from a pen at 8:00 a.m. The steers run alongside to calm the bulls in the roaring crowds. They also guide them through the winding 800-meter course through the center of the old city to the bullring. In preparation for this event, I learned that a bull weighing 1,400 pounds could run 100 yards in six seconds, besting even the fastest Olympic sprinters. Bulls are big, fast, aggressive, territorial, in-your-face, and have a permanent bad attitude. Anything moving gets their attention. Their spirited nature causes them to lower their horns and charge anything or anyone in their way. The bulls run the winding and narrow street from the bullpen to the arena much faster than any of us on two legs. Grave peril awaits anyone in the bulls' paths. All corredores feel a sense of angst-will the bulls' horns find them today?

For my son and me, running with the bulls was one of those ideas that started on a lazy Saturday afternoon grilling steaks on the deck. My younger son, William, idly mused, "It might be fun to run with the bulls." We discussed this possibility in the safety of our backyard, purely from a theoretical perspective. But over time, our decisionmaking took small incremental steps until suddenly the accumulated momentum swept us along into doing something we would never have considered in a single rational moment. William, who was going to Spain for his second summer of language study, made the notion much more intentional. "Dad, why don't we run with the bulls this summer?" When I sensed William's seriousness, my concern for his safety compelled me to join him. So that's how we ended up standing in a narrow European street with 1,800 other white-suited, red-sashed runners waiting for the sound of a bottle rocket to announce that we had better run for our lives.

Have you ever read about one of those soccer games where the crowd panics and people get crushed in the stampede? I had never appreciated how the force of people running away from something could be so powerful. When this fairly mellow gathering of friendly people saw the bulls charging up the first hill, they instantly turned into a mob of completely self-absorbed individuals intent on personal survival. This mixture of adrenalin, testosterone, and fear was the most overwhelming force I have ever experienced.

That morning our destination was clear-the arena. The plan was simple, logical, and straightforward: run up the hill to the plaza 100 yards ahead, move over by the fence, climb over the fence if necessary, let the bulls pass by, and then follow them into the bullring. We would focus on staying out of the bulls' way and not getting tangled up with any of the other half-crazed runners.

Military planners often say that no battle plan works out as intended after the first shot is fired. Remember that fence we were going to climb? By the time we arrived, it was seven-deep in people with the same great idea, and there was no sign of an opening. The only thing I remember is the strong arm of my middle linebacker son, wrapped around my chest to drive me into the crowd along the fence. I barely had time to turn my head to see twelve huge animals with wide, pointed horns zipping by us within spitting distance.

A runner 50 yards ahead of us was not as fortunate. One of the bulls in the lead knocked him over without breaking stride. We were all told that if you fell down, the cardinal rule was to stay on the ground until all the bulls passed by. I knew that if I went down, I was going to cover my head and get into a fetal position. This young man decided to get up and move to the side. As he stood, another charging bull knocked him down. Incredibly, the same runner tried to stand up one more time! As we watched the slow-motion video replay later that day, the runner looked like a quarterback blindsided by a blitzing linebacker penetrating the line untouched-knocked into the air, his back arched and his head snapping backwards. TV commentators during the live broadcast actually gave him high marks for raw courage and style but low marks for judgment.

Despite all the fanfare, the running of the bulls is over in less than five minutes, as the bulls and runners reach the inside of the arena. Among the several thousand runners, a number are injured each day, some seriously. During the week that we ran, there were sixteen runners gored by the bulls, the highest number recorded in twenty-five years. Fifty-six runners were taken to the hospital. Eight of the gorings happened on the same day with a particularly aggressive group of bulls. The injured included a doctor from Atlanta who was gored in the groin. Some runners trip or fall over other runners and are trampled, receiving bruises, concussions, and even permanent brain damage.

Being gored by a bull plays into our worst primordial fears-the thought of a huge, mindless beast driving his horn into your back generates a good shudder when you ponder it for a few seconds. Hemingway observed and wrote about the first recorded death in the encierro in 1924. In his scene, the main character learns of the runner's fate; a waiter comes to his table and says of the young father named Vicente Girones, "You hear? Dead. He's dead. With a horn through him." The bull that gored him was named Bocanegra. In the story, a matador fought and killed Bocanegra that afternoon during a bullfight in the Plaza de toros, the same arena we ran to during our encierro. Since 1924, twelve runners have died. In 1995, Matthew Tassio from Glen Ellyn, Illinois, died after a bull's horn pierced his back, stomach, and liver, severing an artery. After being knocked down, Tassio violated the cardinal rule of "once down, stay down." He stood up and was subsequently gored to death. This young American was a recent college graduate on a summer trip to Europe with his friends.

My sons and I have been on many hair-raising adventures, such as scuba diving through ocean caves and rappelling off thousand-foot cliffs near Yosemite National Park, but redundant safety systems and experts on hand always mitigated the dangers and assured that we were safe. Pamplona was different. We signed no releases of liability freeing the city fathers from responsibility. This was not a roller coaster with a predictable ending. We simply stepped into the street and waited for the bulls to be released, hanging onto our rough semblance of a plan.

Why would anyone in his or her right mind participate in such an event? I will attempt to answer that question later in more detail, but for now I want to point out that running with the bulls is a very clear metaphor for our lives at work-a race filled to the brim with challenges, opportunities, and even dangers.

The bulls in Pamplona were not out to get us. They're territorial and aggressive but not mean. They were indifferent to our presence ... unless we got in their way. They didn't run out of the pen looking for someone to gore, but it is in their DNA to use their horns on anyone encroaching on their space. It would have been naïve to assume otherwise. They were indifferent to our hopes and dreams, and they couldn't have cared less whether or not we reached the stadium. The bulls' aggressiveness was simply their nature, and that predisposition only became apparent when they were kept from accomplishing their personal goal-to get out of the bedlam and munch on some nice grain in a quiet place.

The bulls serve as useful symbols for everything that creates the context of our work lives-the events, the circumstances, and the obstacles. "Bulls" constantly rage around us in the workplace. Inept managers, downsizings, misguided compensation systems, constant churn, outdated IT systems, ill-designed processes or structures that make our jobs difficult or even obsolete-they're all part of normal organizational life. To view these organizational realities as unfair or out to get us is impractical and maybe even naïve. These "organizational bulls" are indifferent to us (unless we get in their way), ultimately not caring whether or not we reach our goals, but rather whether or not they reach theirs. An organization's goals are extraordinarily simple and straightforward-survival and success-and to not meaningfully contribute to these goals (or even to be irrelevant to the accomplishment of them) automatically puts us in harm's way. As Hemingway points out, "Each time he [the bullfighter] enters into the terrain of the bull, he is in great danger." An organization's survival and success are the terrain of the bull.

One of the savviest CEOs I've ever worked with often said that he was never surprised when people or organizations acted in their own self-interest. Even companies that strive to be the "employer of choice" in their market or to have a supportive, uplifting culture do so out of self-interest. We should not be surprised that organizations make decisions to assure their own success and survival. Even most bad decisions are fundamentally motivated to help a company succeed-the decisions were just misguided.

All organizations constantly seek to achieve their owners' expectations. Even if drastic measures are required, achieving the next quarterly earnings estimates or being able to assure stockholders that the company will remain in business another year is a nonnegotiable in today's business environment. Even nonprofit organizations, whose mission is usually altruistic, still seek first and foremost to remain in existence. While an effective individual manager may care about our hopes, dreams, and aspirations, the events swirling in and around an organization do not. The organization's only focus is achieving its goals, and an organization seeking success and survival will trample us if we do not run skillfully.

These organizational bulls won't be tamed or go away and are not going to get less dangerous. We might even make a case that the bulls have become more dangerous in recent years. Some of our fears-such as terrorism, job loss, porous borders, and economic uncertainty-are felt more intensely than ever before.

Our work life-the focus of this book-is a run with the bulls, replete with both opportunity and danger. Some of us work skillfully, navigating through and around the danger, while others are repeatedly knocked down. The expression "getting ahead" is a race metaphor that describes how many of us strive to get a bigger job, with more power, more money, and a more significant title. Many senior executives even have "coaches." An executive coach's role is to help a manager perform his/her job more effectively and to realize his/her potential for more responsibility in leading the organization-to get ahead.

We all know people who are getting ahead, others who are falling behind, and some who never got started. A few run with their organization's bulls skillfully-they have good insight into the omnipresent politics in organizational life and just seem to know what to do. They're able to get things done; to work well on a team; to get along with their boss, their peers, their subordinates, and their customers; and to get what they want from the organization. Others bounce from company to company or from job to job, unsettled, searching, and constantly in turmoil.

Many people live soap-opera lives, careening from one intense moment to the next, never having really satisfying work relationships. We know people who live from paycheck to paycheck with credit cards maxed out, skirting one financial disaster after another and never getting on solid footing. These trends can often be spotted early in life. Others finish school, get responsible jobs, and live productive lives. A few never seem to get it together. These hapless casualties may not even know they're in a race and never even get to the starting line. They have problems from the start, fall behind, and become dejected spectators rather than participating in one of life's great races. Perhaps they were the victims of a teacher or a bully and then later a boss, disgruntled customer, or some other obstacle ostensibly not of their own making. More likely, they lacked purpose and direction, compromised their character, or failed to develop the critical competencies so essential to compete in the twenty-first century.


Excerpted from RUN WITH THE BULLS without Getting Trampled by Tim Irwin Copyright © 2007 by Tim Irwin, Ph.D.. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents


Foreword Steve Reinemund, Chairman of the Board and CEO, PepsiCo....................xiii
Chapter One: The Run....................1
SECTION 1 Thoughtful Commitment Chapter Two: Run to Win....................15
Chapter Three: The Arena....................33
Chapter Four: Getting to the Arena....................49
SECTION 2 Authentic Character Chapter Five: Run by the Rules....................67
Chapter Six: Keep on Running....................85
Chapter Seven: Don't Get Disqualified from the Race....................101
SECTION 3 Exceptional Competence Chapter Eight: Make Sure You're Fit to Run....................115
Chapter Nine: Run Well with Others....................131
Chapter Ten: Run with Skill....................143
Chapter Eleven: Run Your Best Race....................163
Introduction to Online Assessment and Developmental Resources....................189
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