Impact by Dr. Tim Irwin is for anyone in a leadership position wishing to make an impact. Dr. Irwin identifies the qualities essential to great leadership, explains how to be the kind of leader that motivates others, and offers a warning to avoid personal destruction.
I’ve read plenty of leadership books before, but this one came from a different angle than others I’ve read. Dr. Irwin writes specifically for leaders who truly want to make a difference in their work. It’s obviously geared more for corporate positions, but the advice works just as well for filmmakers.
Dr. Irwin begins by explaining what it means to make an impact and what it takes to be a leader. These are pretty basic, but a good reminder. Next, he covers the importance of knowing yourself. This is where he takes a different approach. He stresses the importance of seeing yourself the way others see you. While he takes it a bit more than I would (I have no desire to have people giving me a detailed analysis of all that I’m doing right and wrong on a regular basis), he has some interesting considerations.
For me, the most useful section of the book was the middle where he warns about the dangers that can come with power. Filmmakers, like anyone else in a position of authority, can easily become consumed with their own power and forget that with power comes responsibility. He discusses the dangerous game of credit and how important it is to give people due credit. Now, of course, we naturally think of IMDb or opening/closing credits, but it’s so much more. A perfect example is extras. Personally, I despise the term “extra” because to me, it sounds degrading. Background actor is better, or even just actor. I’ve heard so many stories of extras not getting to eat with the rest of the cast, being ignored or treated as lesser beings, basically being treated as if they are of no consequence. And yet, the wise filmmaker will realize that good background actors can make or break a movie. We can’t make movies without them, and so it is wise to treat all actors, however big or small, with respect and dignity.
I think that this book could benefit anyone, not just leaders. It provides solid advice for anyone working together with others towards a common goal.
My complaint about this book is that it’s written from a completely secular viewpoint and so even though the advice is complimentary to a Christian worldview, at times it struck me as odd.There was a heavy emphasis on self discipline and talking to yourself. It was almost like he was calling on people to pray, only to themselves rather than to God. Also, if you’re approaching morality from a purely leadership position, I’m just not sure how effective that is. Had this been written from a Christian viewpoint, it could have been much stronger. But the advice was good and in line with Christian values.
Dr. Irwin’s website includes a number of free resources including a personal assessment.
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