Dr. Tim Irwin




A Late Afternoon Invitation

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Not long ago, I met with a senior executive of a large U.S. corporation to discuss the topic of accountability and how to hold his team accountable for the results they committed to achieve in 2015. We also talked about the difference between task accountability (for example, achieving financial metrics) and personal accountability (how I act). Both are critically important in today’s workplace.

My client became quiet and sat thoughtfully for a moment. He then looked at me and said that several months earlier he seriously considered having an affair with one of his direct reports. In a brief conversation late one afternoon at the office, she made her interest unmistakably clear.

Things were a bit rocky at home at that time, and he struggled with whether or not to accept the invitation. He told me that he finally came to his senses and steered clear of a certain disaster. "I understand that both types of accountability are important, but personal accountability is not something we talk about here. It would have been great to have someone tell me I was crazy for even considering the invitation and to get my head on straight."

Watch the video below to hear how one of the best CEOs in the last 20 years handled the subject of accountability. 


Dr. Tim Irwin

Copyright 2015. Dr. Tim Irwin and Irwin Inc, LLC. All rights reserved.

The Secret to Loving Your Work

Friday, January 08, 2016

When I turned 16 years old, I had my first real paycheck job—selling shoes in a family shoe store in a nearby mall. By the way, you can learn a lot about people when you’re dealing with their feet, but I’ll spare you the more colorful details.

The manager and the two other workers in the store were “older,” and very quickly I learned that the three of them had something in common. All three loved their lives outside the store, but hated their jobs during the week. It was like their jobs were a penalty box between weekends.

A stunning statistic I heard on a major news network was that 85% of workers dislike their jobs. How tragic that so many people spend up to 100,000 hours of their lives doing something they find miserable.

Please watch the video below where I describe a person who found what we all seek—meaning  and purpose in our work.

Dr. Tim Irwin

© Copyright 2015. Dr. Tim Irwin and Irwin Inc, LLC. All rights reserved.

Inspiring Family

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Tuesday, December 29th was a first. Three brothers graduated from the same New York City police academy class at the same time. Stephen, Alec, and John Favale followed in their father’s footsteps to become New York City police officers.

It was a proud moment for the Favale family, and for the city, as three fine young men committed themselves to public service and to keeping New York safe.

We can only imagine how the three sons’ parents, Anthony and Stephanie Favale, felt—the pride, the joy, and the apprehension. All three sons will be on duty Thursday night guarding the New Year’s celebration where they expect over a million attendees to watch the big ball drop.

Stephanie Favale affirmed her sons in one particular way that struck me. She said we raised these boys to make moral decisions. "Every day they will face important decisions, and I’m confident they will make the right ones."

Parents play the biggest role in building a strong core in their children. Even though her three sons are grown and responsible adults, she continues to convey her expectations. What an incredibly powerful legacy!

Happy New Year to you and here’s to encouraging the development of a strong core in our children and in others for whom we have influence!

Dr. Tim Irwin

© Copyright 2015. Dr. Tim Irwin and Irwin Inc, LLC. All rights reserved.

Leading Through Turbulence

Tuesday, December 08, 2015
Dear Friends,

Because I fly a lot in my work, it’s not uncommon to encounter turbulence. I’m very compliant when the flight attendant tells us to keep our seat belts on even when the seat belt light is off! Candidly, I don’t like turbulence of any type…bumpy rides in an airplane, organizational turbulence or emotional upheaval.

We look to our leaders to get us through those inevitable turbulent times in any organization’s life. Please watch this week’s short video, and I’ll explain what leaders must do in times of chaos. 



Dr. Tim Irwin

Copyright 2015. Dr. Tim Irwin and Irwin Inc, LLC. All rights reserved.

The Blue Suitcase of Mediocrity

Wednesday, November 18, 2015
Dear Friends, 

During my second year in college, I had a wake-up call. I was a bit adrift and not accomplishing much academically or in any other way. Underneath the noise of my life was a yearning to make an impact…to do something more than just graduate, find a job and start fighting grid-locked traffic. Stephen Jobs said we all want to put our own “dent” in the universe.

Years later, I fell into a metaphor that captured my yearning—I had been living out of the blue suitcase of mediocrity. When you watch the video below, you’ll see what I mean. At the time it was painful, but even then, my wife, Anne, told me that someday it would make a good story! She was right. 


Questions to consider:

  • Are there any areas of your life where you eating out of the “blue suitcase?” 
  • As a leader, are you inspiring others to eat in the “dining room of excellent performance?” 
  • What might you do differently to enlist others in the pursuit of excellence?

  • Sincerely, 
    Tim Irwin

    © Copyright 2015. Dr. Tim Irwin and Irwin Inc, LLC. All rights reserved.

    3 Faces

    Tuesday, October 27, 2015

    It is my mission to help you grow as a leader and equip you to create a more meaningful impact! The videos you will receive in the coming weeks were created with you in mind.

    I recently sat down with the team at Leadercast to share some of the lessons I’ve learned in my years of consulting. In this first video, I identify the 3 faces of a leader – Style, Conduct, and Core. It is my belief that our Core, more than any other dimension, determines our ability to make an impact!

    For the next 30 days, this video will only be available to subscribers of my blog! Please use the password CORE when prompted, and if you would like to share this with someone, please forward this email to them so they will have the password as well.

    Here are a few action items for you to consider…

    1. Spend time contemplating the health of your Core. What thoughts are you believing about yourself that may not be accurate?
    2. Ask a family member, friend, or trusted colleague if they see any areas of your life or leadership that have been characterized by arrogance.
    3. Want a more detailed analysis of your Core’s strength? Take one of my free assessments!

    Dr. Tim Irwin

    © Copyright 2015. Dr. Tim Irwin and Irwin Inc, LLC. All rights reserved.

    Your Inquiries about Speaking

    Tuesday, October 20, 2015
    Dear Friends,

    Thank you for the outpouring of interest in my recent blogs and for your continued interest in the critically important message of guarding our core. A number of you have written to inquire about whether I am available to speak at corporate events, private events, trade shows, etc., and the answer is absolutely! Over the last six months, I assembled an outstanding team to help me organize and deliver keynote speeches and all-day training engagements.

    Please take a few minutes to view my speaking trailer and read what other leaders are saying. I also have a series of short video clips on a variety of topics which I will be emailing to you in the coming weeks.

    I would be excited to speak at your next event, whether public or private. If you are interested, please contact Bradley Hutson (bradley@drtimirwin.com / 770.596.2403).

    As always, we welcome your feedback on any topic. Thanks again for your interest, and be on the lookout for a new blog post soon.

    Cordially,Dr. Tim Irwin

    © Copyright 2015. Dr. Tim Irwin and Irwin Inc, LLC. All rights reserved.

    What about Donald Trump?

    Friday, October 02, 2015

    After my recent blog post when I asked your thoughts on whether Hillary Clinton is derailing, many of you suggested we should ask the same question about Donald Trump, Republican candidate for U.S. President. Here are my thoughts.

    Trump amassed a personal fortune through being smart, tough-minded and resilient in his business dealings. He demands high performance and loyalty from all who work for him.

    His stance on illegal immigration and many other issues have resonated with a lot of unhappy voters, thus his very high poll numbers. But it’s more than that. People like his uninhibited, direct, non PC communication style. I think many like Trump for the same reason we liked the Mel Gibson character in the Lethal Weapon movies. He throws caution to the wind, and he’s dangerous. He scares us a bit, and we like the fact that he scares the establishment crowd—the holders of the very safe, existing political paradigm.

    Two words are also frequently assigned to him—arrogance and narcissism. As I mentioned in the last blog, arrogance is the “mother of all derailers.” Does this mean he is at risk for derailment? In short, absolutely, but to really understand Trump, I think we must go Freudian.

    Remember from Psychology 101:

    ID — our primitive drives—the free, uninhibited child in us.

    Ego — the rational side of us that tries to be more realistic and adult like.

    Superego — the side of us which wants us to conform to societal values and expectations—our “parent.”

    Trump’s freely expressed id entertains us, and like Mel Gibson, we wonder what he will say or do next. Our uneasiness rests in our uncertainty whether his ego and superego can rein in his huge id. He shows some signs that he can, but then the raw, adolescent name caller shows up again.

    The three Lethal Weapon movies lost our interest about halfway through number two. Do you think American voter will grow tired of Trump in a similar way? What are your thoughts?

    © Copyright 2015. Dr. Tim Irwin and Irwin Inc, LLC. All rights reserved.

    Is Hillary Clinton at Risk for Derailment?

    Tuesday, September 01, 2015

    While I am not a political pundit, I am a student of leadership. Political leaders offer us insight into the forces that affect leaders in any organization.

    In my research (detailed in DeRailed, Five Lessons Learned from Catastrophic Failures of Leadership), I observed five distinct phases of when a leader derails:

    1. Lack of Self-awareness.
    2. Arrogance…and a dismissive attitude.
    3. Missed warning signals.
    4. Rationalization. Rationalize is best viewed as “rational lies.
    5. Derailment.

    Polls over the last few weeks indicate a growing distrust of Hillary Clinton as voters question whether she has been forthcoming about her private email server and thousands of emails she deleted. Are we watching a real time derailment of Hillary Clinton in her bid for the US presidency?  What do you think? Are there other presidential candidates in either major party you think are at risk for derailment? Any candidate who reaches stage 4 should be concerned, as my research indicates that it is often a point of no return.

    Regardless of our political persuasion, we should learn from any leader’s challenges. How can we avoid derailment in our own careers?

    1. Cultivate self-awareness…be intentional in leveraging your strengths and mitigating your vulnerabilities. Leaders are sometimes truth-starved. Be sure you have others in your life who will give you direct feedback.
    2. Arrogance is the mother of all derailers…Humility is the mother of all safeguards. Be sure to value the contribution of others and be careful to not inflate your own contributions.
    3. Most leaders who derail have ample warning signs…they just ignore them…stay alert.
    4. Listen to your self-talk and pay particular attention to working too hard to justify your behavior. Put your beliefs to the test…arrest the false ones.
    5. Stay on track—make an impact with your life.

    © Copyright 2015. Dr. Tim Irwin and Irwin Inc, LLC. All rights reserved.

    How to Have a Personal Resurgence

    Tuesday, August 11, 2015
    This morning I watched an interview with Carly Fiorina, who many pundits feel won the debates last Thursday night on Fox News. Her poll numbers surged over the weekend after her outstanding debate performance. The interviewer asked her about being fired as the CEO of HP some years ago. Ms. Fiorina handled the question very adroitly by pointing out that leaders who challenge the status quo often meet resistance from those entrenched in the status quo. She also reminded viewers that Steve Jobs, Oprah, and other notable leaders of change were fired. “I’m in some pretty good company.”

    Frequently, I’m asked if a derailed executive can stage a comeback. The answer is yes, but it is difficult. Robert Nardelli derailed as Home Depot’s CEO and then again a few years later at Chrysler. He didn’t make it back, but Ms. Fiorina displays many indications that she became a stronger person through the challenges she faced.

    A knowledgeable friend told me that Ms. Fiorina has undergone a profound personal transformation rooted in her faith, which has smoothed off the rough edges of her leadership style. Her extensive leadership experience in running a huge global corporation, and her command of both domestic and international issues make her a formidable candidate. And, it seems like her personal likability has grown as well.

    Most of us have had significant setbacks in our lives and careers. Adversity has the potential to deplete our ambition, but it also gives us the opportunity to develop a stronger core. Regardless of how we might feel about her political views or how far in the presidential race Fiorina goes, she is a great example of someone who has worked on her core and experienced a personal resurgence. We should do the same.

    © Copyright 2015. Dr. Tim Irwin and Irwin Inc, LLC. All rights reserved.