Impact | Book Review

“Followers size us up as people to see if they want to follow our leadership or simply comply with our directives.”

On page 4 of Dr. Tim Irwin’s new book follows a succinct summary of Colonel Joshua Chamberlain’s heroism at the battle of Little Round Top. His quote sets the tone for the book Impact, which could easily be retitled Why Have a Personal Leadership Philosophy? We all need a book like this for re-energizing, for core values reflection, and for continued commitments to others and ourselves as leaders. Many of our leadership elements are easily noticed in the book, and this review will highlight several of them. Chapters 11 and 14, Our Beliefs About Ourselves and Those we Lead & Who’s Watching Your Back? respectively, are very good and may be considered the core of Irwin’s book.

Johari Window & Energize2Lead™

After setting up the importance of our leadership core, Irwin extols Know Thyself (Chapter 4) through growing self–awareness and identification of blind spots, much like the Johari Window and our low or missing E2L colors. He goes deeper (page 44) calling on us to have a group of trusted advisors who will give unvarnished and regular feedback, with a continuing focus on the consequences of ignoring our blind spots.

Personal Leadership Philosophy

Chapter 8, What Do You Really Believe? sets up the need for a Personal Leadership Philosophy. The best part of the chapter is a diagram on page 90 showing our core beliefs at our physical center acting as a prism for (incoming) reasons to act, followed by actions and emotions leaving our core. Or put more simply, our values are our prism and we must continuously strengthen our core. Chapter 10 has a wonderful section (pages 113-114), Ten Lies Leaders Love, capturing the root causes of many leadership failures. Chapter 11 pulls the beliefs (leadership philosophy) together ultimately concluding in a brief section Leaders Point to Meaning on page 129.


Dr. Irwin quotes Steve Reinemund (US Naval Academy graduate, retired CEO of PepsiCo)

“The biggest challenges to our integrity are the ones that happen spontaneously and we must react quickly. A bad decision is one that can be fatal. Those are the actions that I have seen that bring most leaders down.”

on page 159 in Chapter 14, Who’s Watching Your Back? This is a fantastic chapter distilling the lessons learned from many failed leaders with advice, especially for younger leaders, how to maintain personal and professional accountability in our new age of social media.

Going Deeper | Application | Additional Resources

Most of the chapters end with a series of Going Deeper exercises, which may inspirehelpful self-evaluation long after reading Impact. Dr. Irwin’s website has supplementary leadership development resources and a nice sidebar from Bob McDonald, retired Chairman, President and CEO of the Procter & Gamble Company.

This is a very good book for us and for developing leaders at any point in their leadership arc.

JE | February 2014