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 question answered in Derailed: 5 Lessons Learned from Catastrophic Failures of Leadership, a new book for leaders and aspiring leaders of all levels by Dr. Tim Irwin. Derailed chronicles the collapse of six high-profile CEOs, the factors that drove their downfalls, and the lessons that we can learn to 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 chronicles the collapse of six high-profile CEOs (Robert Nardelli, Carly Fiorina, Durk Jager, Steven Heyer, Frank Raines, Dick Fuld) and the factors that drove their downfalls, finding that derailment actually happens long before the crash and can be avoided. Tim Irwin explains the character qualities that are essential for successful leadership and tells us how to cultivate them so that we can avoid derailing our own careers.
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About Dr. Tim Irwin:
Tim Irwin, Ph.D., is an author, speaker, and leading authority on leadership development, organizational effectiveness, and executive selection. For more than twenty years, he has consulted with many of America's most well-respected organizations and top Fortune 100 companies.
Tim’s past work has been featured on Fox News, Fox Business, Investors Business Daily, Wall Street Journal, and others. He has served in a senior management post for a US-based company with more than three hundred offices worldwide. Presently, he is managing partner of IrwinInc., based in Atlanta, Georgia.
Learn more at www.DrTimIrwin.com
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Praise for Derailed:
“…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
“The character principles outlined in Tim’s new book Derailed are foundational to developing and sustaining great leadership in life and business. A must read for leaders or aspiring leaders at all levels. Tim presents these lessons in a way that allows the reader to relate with real life examples and the consequences that ensue when key principles are ignored.”
-Michael L. Ducker, President, FedEx Express International
“CEOs are being scrutinized at this time in history like never before. This increased level of scrutiny is the direct result of a number of very public and expensive miscarriages of leadership. Irwin does a favor for CEOs and all leaders interested in navigating a more successful career by reminding us that extremely competent and capable people can “derail” when they ignore a disabling weakness, a blind spot or even a strength taken to an excess. We ALL have this innate potential to derail!”
-Carlos Sepulveda, President & CEO, Interstate Batteries
"Most books on character are yawners, yet Tim Irwin's Derailed is a page-turner! In the hyper-competitive and intoxicating world of being a winner, where our strengths and success often drown out our ability to hear truth, we need to hear Irwin's voice. Packed with real stories of derailed giants, Irwin gives us the tools to ensure we can lead the pack while staying on track. Derailed is must-read for anyone who is or aspires to be a leader who stays on track."
-David W. Miller, Ph.D., Director, Princeton University Faith & Work Initiative, and President, The Avodah Institute
"As someone who has worked with high performers my entire career Tim Irwin's book is a powerful tool. I have seen many successes and also many failures and Tim's four reasons for either success or failure are right on target. Tim emphasizes character, and humility is a close second. Whether in sports or business character and humility are usually the determining factors. I strongly recommend this powerful book not only to my friends, but anyone who wants a primer on how to succeed in life or business."
-Dick Schultz, Executive Director, National Collegiate Athletic Association (ret), Executive Director, United States Olympic Committee (ret)
“Derailed is a compelling, practical and readable book that will make you a better leader, a better person, and someone who can rise above.”
-Marshall Goldsmith, New York Times bestselling author of Succession: Are You Ready? and What Got You Here Won’t Get You There
“Derailed – Five Lessons Learned from Catastrophic Failures of Leadership is thought-provoking, and insightful. In it Tim Irwin skillfully examines several real-life case studies of leadership gone wrong. The author also artfully illustrates key principles to help those already in leadership, or those aspiring to it, avoid the pitfalls that can easily ensnare executives along the way to the top. Compelling and incisive, this is a great handbook on how to avoid those perils.”
-Mac McQuiston, President/CEO, The CEO Forum, Inc.
"Tim Irwin has done it again. First he gave us valuable insights on keys to meeting challenges in Run with the Bulls without Getting Trampled. Now in Derailed, he shares equally important thoughts on the other side of the coin-how to avoid critical mistakes in leadership. I have had the great experience of seeing Tim Irwin's advice make a profound impact on an organization. Derailed shares his insights on avoiding critical mistakes in leadership from the hard lessons of those who did make mistakes. These are images the reader will not forget. Any reader will have much to take to heart."
-David Ripsom, President & CEO, Nuclear Electric Insurance Limited
“In my years as a corporate executive and now in the non-profit world, I have observed many leaders fall by the wayside. Tim Irwin is right. It’s usually not about competence…it’s about character. Derailed is an outstanding resource for anyone in a position of influence. Tim’s message is compelling, and his lively stories and real-world examples make this a wonderfully readable book.”
-Johanna C. Zeilstra, Co-Founder and Chief Operations Officer, Give Back Ventures, LLC
“This book is not only great, but it is also timely. Tim Irwin takes ancient wisdom about character and brings it to bear on the most up-to-date challenges facing leaders today. We all ignore these lessons at our peril. I highly recommend this book.”
-Dr. Tim Keller, Senior Pastor, Redeemer Presbyterian Church, New York City
“Any effective leader needs their perspective challenged, Derailed serves as this kind of challenge …. a ‘gut-check’ reminding us of our vulnerabilities and forcing us to validate our strength of character. Derailed leverages the experiences of some very talented leaders who may have lost their way to draw the reader to an assessment of their own character.”
-Mark Nelson, President, Chevron Canada Limited
“Rarely does a book impact me both personally and professionally in such a profound way. Derailed by Dr. Tim Irwin did. This is a crucially important message that’s really needed now. Irwin hits home with clarity about why so many leaders are failing. I want a lot of people to read this book because we need to stay on track.”
-H. Wayne Huizenga, Jr. President, Huizenga Holdings
“Dr Tim Irwin has nailed it in” Derailed!” It seems like almost every day we hear of yet another high profile corporate or government official or sports personality succumbing to a massive failure in judgment. Why is it that so many of these smart, competent and experienced individuals feel that the rules don’t apply to them? Tim’s discussion of the characteristics necessary to keep from “Derailing” will dramatically impact how you lead. The real life stories and examples in this book will provide you insights that are a must for staying on track.”
-Jim Lientz, Chief Operating Officer, State of Georgia
“A must read for those in and for all who aspire to leadership. Shelves are full of how-to books listing various formulas of what-to-do for success. Missing is a closer look at what-not-to-do to avoid derailment! Irwin fills this vacuum with his analysis of corporate leadership failures. He’s hit a home run identifying those primary pitfalls experienced by well known business leaders that resulted in their dismissal. We all can learn from this insightful study and copies should be required reading for all corporate officers.”
-Ron F. Wagley; Chairman, CEO, & President, Transamerica Insurance (ret)
“Tim Irwin has provided in this book an early warning system for all individuals and companies seeking to avoid the very public types of disasters which have recently become so very prevalent. "Derailment" from this point forward can be predicted and most importantly avoided by leaders at all levels given this resource.”
-Lee B. Torrence, IBM Managing Director and Senior State Executive (Ret)
“Over the course of my career, I’ve observed many hundreds of leaders under the most stressful circumstances imaginable. Rarely does a book so effectively capture the truth about what makes some leaders great and others fail. Derailed is a compelling, practical and readable book that will make you a better leader and a better person,. Whether in business, the military, or in any other endeavor, if you aspire to leadership, this book is a must read!”
-Patrick P. Caruana, Lieutenant General (Ret) United States Air Force
"We've seen what the world looks like with Leaders who believe their own press...Imagine a world where Leaders put their ego aside, and genuinely collaborate, empower, apologize and foster the human spirit in others. I'd like to live in that world, and Tim Irwin just may have the roadmap."
-Nancy Ortberg, Author of Unleashing the Power of Rubber Bands: Lessons in Non-Linear Leadership