Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Interview with Juan Carlos Marcos, author of Warriors at the Helm

Warriors at the Helm Title: Warriors at the Helm
Author: Juan Carlos Marcos
Publisher: Elie Press
Pages: 174
Genre: Business
Format: Hardcopy/Ebook

 In Warriors At The Helm: A Leader’s Guide To Success in Business, Juan Carlos Marcos shares his almost four decades of experience regarding people dynamics in the corporate World. Whether you’re just getting started in business, or you are a thirty-year warrior, nothing is as valuable to your growth, and in preparing you for success, as learning through trial and error. However, modern-day corporate America can be very unforgiving or impatient through your learning process. This book represents the next best thing to being there, which is learning from others’ experience. Juan provides the reader with a practical tool that offers valuable insights into the distinctive and real differences between effective leaders (those that people eagerly follow) and those who lack the self-awareness to understand that they may be barriers to progress versus a catalyst. To further add texture to his insights, Juan elicits and shares thoughts from veteran executives who share personal experiences and perspectives derived from years of trench warfare. In Warriors At The Helm you will learn about the traits that make Leaders and Individual Contributors successful in business and how to manage the Dumb Asses and Egomaniacs (AKA Barbarians) that roam the corporate landscape. The book will provide you with the awareness and knowledge of the life “on the inside” that will help you emulate and demonstrate the behaviors that will keep your career on a positive and productive track.

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Could you please tell us a little about your book? “Warriors at the Helm” is about the good, bad and ugly of people in corporations. Specifically it:
  • Defines the traits and behaviors that make individuals and leaders successful (The Warriors)
  • Defines the traits and behaviors that make Dumb Asses and Egomaniacs (The Barbarians) so challenging to their colleagues
  • Provides career guidance for people interested in successfully navigating through complex organizations infested with Barbarians
  • Provides straightforward recommendations about how to seek mentors and have productive relationships with them
  • Provides recommendations about two dynamics of corporations (Communications or “Corporate Speak” and the potential “People” related perils of companies that grow too fast) that can be very challenging
  • Concludes with lessons I (Author: Juan Carlos Marcos) learned during almost four decades in business, about the things that work or don’t work for individuals in corporations
The book is complimented by stories and perspectives from 19 executives about their experiences in the trenches of Corporate America. Among these executives are Mike Andres, recently named President of McDonald’s USA, Brian Unger, Former Chief Operating Officer of Einstein Noah Restaurant Group, Inc. and Dave Daniels, Principal, Double D Consulting and Former VP of Operations for Sport Clips Inc.

Did something specific happen to prompt you to write this book?

Over my 37 years in Corporate America, mostly in Human Resources, I personally experienced a significant number of painful experiences and also observed the painful experiences of hundreds of other colleagues. I was also very fortunate to, witness first hand, the traits that successful people demonstrate every day in the work place. Over the years I literally had thousands of discussions with colleagues and mentors about the lazy, duplicitous, mal-content, blame-oriented people that exist in most complex organizations. Often, these discussions would end with a suggestion that I should write a book about these “People” dynamics. Accordingly, when I retired I decide to write “Warriors at the Helm.”

Who or what is the inspiration behind this book?

The inspiration was to, in some way, help individual contributors and leaders to be better at how they conduct themselves in the work place. Specifically, I wanted to provide my insight and those of other colleagues as a way to help others to stay on the Warrior path. I was also inspired by trying to help others manage the challenging relationships with the Barbarians.

Who is your biggest supporter?

Without a doubt my wife of 37 years, Randi is my biggest supporter. Not only was she very supportive in my writing and getting the book published, but more important, she was supportive of me every single day of my 37 years in the corporate world. I have also been fortunate throughout my career to work with many Warriors who made my journey through Corporate America tolerable and successful.

What is the most important thing in your life right now?

My family is the most important thing in my life, especially my 6 month old granddaughter. Most people work very hard throughout their careers with little to show for it and many, wind up with broken families. I have been fortunate to reap the benefits of working that allowed me to retire at age 59 and blessed with a supportive family. It is also a lot of fun to get to be silly and have fun with a beautiful 6 month old.

Do you have any advice for writers or readers?

 “Warriors at the Helm” being my first book, I would call it my perspective rather than advice. First, to the writers, is to have thick skin. After being edited by family, colleagues and then professional editors and proof readers it can be easy to get discouraged. Second, don’t compromise what you believe is important to include in your book. You can’t be all things to all people. Listen to and evaluate the perspectives of people you respect, but be true to yourself. You are the author. The buck stops with you for better or worse. To the readers, I encourage you to be reflective as you read the book and open minded about the traits of both the Warriors and the Barbarians. As important is to be brutally honest with yourself about what path you are on. Is it the Warrior or the Barbarian path? If it is the latter, what do you need to find your way to the Warrior’s path?

What do you feel sets this book apart from others in the same genre?

 First, I wanted the content to be real and if at times that meant raw, so be it. There are too many business books or self-help books that are plain boring. Second, I thought it was important to include stories and perspectives from proven and successful leaders about their experiences. Some of these are also raw and to the point. In short, they are real. Finally, I tried to reinforce some points throughout the book and make them come to life by using well known historical events.

 Juan Carlos Marcos was born in Cuba and immigrated to the United States in 1962. He spent almost four decades in leadership roles in human resources in the corporate world, including experience in multiple industries. Among the companies he worked at included Saint Mary's Hospital Medical Center, in Madison Wisconsin, Graber Industries Inc., Boston Market and McDonald's Corporation. Now retired and working as a consultant, he took the time to fulfill his dream of writing his first book. Juan holds a bachelor's degree in business from Northern Illinois University and a master's degree in business from the University of Wisconsin. Juan lives in Evergreen, Colorado, with his wife Randi.

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