Sunday, January 24, 2010

Derailed Book Review

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?

Thanks to Thomas Nelson for sending me a free copy of Derailed in the hopes that I would review it.


Sara E said...

interesting questions about life

I can easily be derailed at times

*hi from SITS :)

Joanna said...

Wow that has some good pointers. Never thought about it like that.

Stopping by from SITS.

JDaniel4's Mom said...

This books sounds wonderful. I could use some good pointers on just this topic.

J. L. W. said...

It was a really good book even though I am not in business. It really makes you evaluate how you respond to situations.

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