IN THIS SUMMARY
Tim Irwin’s Derailed focuses on how a lack of key character qualities can cause a leader to go off track. To make his case, Irwin profiles six very public leadership demises: Bob Nardelli of Home Depot, Carly Fiorina of Hewlett Packard, Durk Jager of Proctor & Gamble, Steven Heyer of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Frank Raines of Fannie Mae, and Dick Fuld of Lehman Brothers. Each of the derailed CEOs profiled were bright, successful leaders with resumes that predisposed ongoing success: Life is full of opportunities to make good and bad choices. The character of a leader provides him with a strong internal compass to guide him to the right choices, and it also offers a source of restraint. Irwin proposes that a lack or failure of key character qualities causes many leadership failures. Leaders lacking in 1) authenticity, 2) self-management, 3) humility, and 4) courage face eventual derailment, no matter how successful their career track records have been. Rather than being the result of a one-time event, leadership derailment follows a predictable progression of stages which can be avoided. To stay on track, leaders must learn these lessons: * Character trumps competence. * Arrogance is the mother of all derailers. * Lack of self- or other-awareness is a common denominator of all derailments. * We are always who we are...especially under stress. * Derailment is not inevitable, but without attention to development, it is probable. By developing the habits of being open to feedback, being aware of self and others, listening to early warning systems, being accountable, and becoming resilient, a leader can grow the qualities needed to stay on track in the long term.