Summary of Derailed

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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.

About the Author

Tim Irwin, PhD, is an author and speaker on leadership development.



Spectacular “Derailments”

When new top managers arrive, everyone expects wonderful things ¬– an easy succession, a brilliant turnaround, careful nurturing of the status quo, and so on. But even the best intentions can go horribly wrong. Studying the failure of talented, successful businesspeople reveals a lot about corporate morality – and about ordinary people. None of the executives discussed here as examples of derailment engaged in criminal behavior. They simply allowed their darker aspects to dominate their decision making. They fell off the tracks due to the same cause that can derail anyone, including successful leaders: “a failure of character.” Derailment means a leader has “gone off the rails,” diverting so far from the company’s goals that he or she has to leave the organization. Derailment extracts a heavy financial or cultural price. A firm can underperform and suffer serious losses. Or the leader can steer the firm away from its “values and culture.” In the worst cases, companies lose both their profits and their culture.

Owning the Dark Side

Your personality has many aspects. To view it with clarity, you “must sometimes look into the darkness...

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