Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Interview with business author Marlene Caroselli

Today I get to welcome business author Marlene Caroselli, Ed.D. and talk to her about her newest book, Jesus, Jonas, and Janus: The Leadership Triumvirate.

Marlene, please tell us about your current release.
Jesus, Jonas, and Janus: The Leadership Triumvirate explores leadership through the prism of historical figures. I note the current thinking--John Maxwell: "Others will not care about how much you know until they know how much you care"--and correlate it to practices and principles from the time of Jesus.

The difference between those who genuinely care and those who may use the less fortunate as a career opportunity is perhaps best illustrated by an encounter between Mother Teresa and a reporter. She was tending to the lepers in the Shanti Nagar ("Town of Peace") colony. A reporter was shadowing her, looking for photo ops. At one point, as she reached down to comfort a man infected with the disease, his skin disfigured by sores, she overheard the reporter's distaste for the scene. "Ugh," he said under his breath. "I wouldn't touch that man with a ten-foot pole!"

"Neither would I," was Mother Teresa's rejoinder, as she leaned over the man to comfort him and laid her hands on his head.

I also talk about what leaders can learn from nature by citing Jonas Salk's answer to the question of how he discovered the polio vaccine: "I learned to think the way Mother Nature thinks." The second section of the book draws lessons from the teachings of nature.

In the third section, I show how leaders can use creativity--specifically the creativity of opposites, embodied in the figure of the Roman god Janus.

Whether one hopes to develop leadership skills for everyday-confidence or for professional growth, the book contains hundreds of ideas for doing so.

What inspired you to write this book?
The book actually began as a speech. The more I thought about the three basic concepts, the more ideas I had. I just expanded the main points from the speech until I had the book done.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I have about 100 book ideas competing for my attention. The one that seems to be grabbing my attention most, though, is a book to be titled What To Do When A Chippendale Dance Flirts with You. (Did it grab yours?)

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I was a mere child, my mother saw the light on in my bedroom in the wee hours. She thought I had fallen asleep and came in to shut it off. Instead, she found me wide awake, reading the dictionary. I've always loved words and the most logical thing to do with such a love is to put it to work. Hence, my books.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
Before selling my consulting business, I was averaging three books a year. Nowadays, I'm a lady of leisure and am doing some other things I love--e.g., art and entertaining. But I still write every single day. Typically, I'm at the Y by 7:30 for an hour in the pool. Then I rush home to turn on my computer, which remains on until about 5 pm, when I quit for the day. In-between, I'm doing a lot of writing--but only for 15 minutes at a time. I'm easily bored so I'm always meandering--to feed the cats, to write out bills, to do the laundry, to make a get the idea.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I give birth diurnally it seems to a new book idea. Things I see, hear, read all lead me to concepts that work as article or even longer pieces. To illustrate, my sister and I recently met an 82-year-old man. We looked at each other and she was shaking her hand as if to say, "Isn't he hot?" Meanwhile, my hand was over my heart in the universal gesture that signifies visual pleasure evoked by a fine specimen of the opposite sex. Today, I read that he had appeared on the cover of a bodybuilding magazine and it suddenly became clear what the attraction was. Self-confidence (in this case, because of one's body) is undeniably attractive. Then I began thinking about all the other sources of self-confidence and said to myself, "This would make a good book." But, as you know, I will die before I can write all the books I've started.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was in 4th grade, Mrs. Hogeboom called me to the blackboard and asked me to write the week's spelling words. When I finished, she stood back and announced, "You, my dear, have schoolteacher's handwriting." BOOM! My fate was sealed. Not only did I become a teacher, my next two sisters in birth order did as well. It wasn't long before I moved from the high school English classroom, to the university/corporate classroom. There, I found distributing books was more professional a gesture than distributing handouts. And so, my book-writing career was born.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
As soon as the idea hits you, jot it down. You think you'll remember, but you won't. Your logs will be good fodder for any number of things you wish to write.

Thank you for stopping by today, Marlene.

After earning her doctorate in education at the University of Rochester, Marlene Caroselli left the public classroom and her native New York State in 1980 and headed to the West Coast. She soon began working as a manager for Trizec Properties, Inc. and as an adjunct professor for UCLA and National University. Her university work led to training contracts with the Department of Defense and with such Fortune 100 firms as Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, TRW, Hughes Aircraft, and Allied-Signal.

In 1984, she founded the Center for Professional Development and began adding books to her list of professional achievements. Her first book, The Language of Leadership, was chosen a main selection by Newbridge's Executive Development book club. Since that publication, she has written sixty additional books and several ebooks. A recent book, Principled Persuasion: Influence with Integrity, Sell with Standards, was named a Director's Choice by Doubleday Book Club. One-to-One for Managers, has been selected by Barnes and Noble for an on-line course; Business Ethics Activity Book has been co-released by HRD Press and the American Management Association (AMACOM); 500 Creative Classroom Techniques for Teachers and Trainers, 8 Leadership Secrets from Real Leaders and The Critical Thinking Toolkit are among her latest releases

In addition to books, Dr. Caroselli writes frequently for Stephen Covey's Executive Excellence, for the Employment Times, as well as for numerous other print and electronic publications. She also writes podcasts for Workplace English Training E-Magazine.

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