Character. I decided to read Tim Irwin’s Derailed: Five Lessons Learned from Catastrophic Failures of Leadership to obtain a dose of schadenfreude. While there was some of that available on these pages, Derailed offers a study in character, and allows readers a great opportunity to reflect on one’s own character to examine where one’s strength and weaknesses can lead to successes and failures. Irwin focuses on character flaws in six highly competent executives: Robert Nardelli, Carly Fiorina, Durk Jager, Stephen Heyer, Frank Raines, and Dick Fuld, and makes a case that it was a flaw in character that led each person to behave in ways that led to derailment. As executives take on broader roles, there can be a decline in self-awareness and candid feedback that can allow unchecked character traits to diminish effectiveness and possibly lead to personal or organization failure. Leaders at any level in an organization will find some insight on these pages and those readers who enjoy putting oneself in another’s shoes will find pleasure on these pages. You’re likely to finish the book ready to take a look at your own character in a fresh way.
Rating: Three-star (Recommended)
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