054: Marlon Walters – The Invisible Executive

Crushed by Career, Forgotten by Family, Restored by Faith

Marlon Walters, Ph.D. is an executive, speaker, educator, consultant, and author. Today, he talks about his book, The Invisible Executive: Crushed by Career, Forgotten by Family, Restored by Faith.

From an innocent book-writing journey, Marlon shares how this became a transformative experience for him. He seeks to inspire people through the idea of being visible and showing your SWAG. The core theme of Marlon’s message is to maximize the potential within those who are hidden, overlooked, and undervalued.

He is the founder and CEO of Inside Edge, a national consulting company focused on Leadership Development, Culture Transformation, and Talent Development & Recognition. His experience and research have given him insight that balances theory and science relevant to today’s corporate climate.

What We Discuss with Marlon Walters:

  • How his book came about and the story behind its title
  • The impact of racism and bias in corporate America
  • His challenges while writing his book
  • How the worst day of his life turned out to be an opportunity for him to be visible
  • Sticking to your genuine self
  • Practicing SWAG in different areas of your life
  • Marlon’s book writing process and getting things organized
  • What keeps people from publishing their book
  • Talent retention and creating a culture in your organization

[00:50] The Idea of Writing a Book

With several years of corporate experience as an executive under his belt, he initially wanted to write about leadership.

What started out as a book writing journey turned into a powerful, transformative experience for him.

[04:55] The Invisible Executive

Marlon talks about being invisible as an African-American executive in corporate America. People have unspoken biases with race and if you allow it to impact you negatively, it can make you become invisible. At that point, Marlon lost his zeal to climb the corporate ladder.

Marlon felt that being consistently invisible was his norm and that’s how it was supposed to be.

As a result, Marlon felt so empty inside. And coming to the office each day just became harder for him. He recalls being far removed from himself and felt he was suffocating daily.

[18:05] The Book Writing Journey

Marlon’s biggest challenge was getting beyond himself – realizing who he really was and his true story. But he was surprised how the book writing process actually became a very transformative experience for him.

At this point, writing became easy for him. Imagine having a silhouette of yourself and the more you write, the more the silhouette comes into life.

[23:10] The Downward Spiral

Marlon’s rock-bottom moment was when his mom passed away. She was his sounding board and his outlet.

It was the worst day of his life but the first day of new opportunity as this became instrumental for him to speak in public. It was the catalyst to becoming visible.

[27:10] Exercising SWAG

SWAG stands for being Sincere, Wisdom, Assimilated, and Galvanized. It’s about taking those experiences – whether good or bad – and packaging those and organizing it in a way that makes you a person of influence and impact.

[30:55] The Power of Organizing

Marlon found organizing stuff while writing was something very challenging. But he eventually learned about the importance of setting daily goals.

Sticky notes are also great organizational tools. The biggest barrier for people that keep them from publishing out is because they think they no longer feel the same way as when they wrote, say, the early chapters of the book.

Know that you will change as a person as you work on the chapters of your book. Marlon is already excited about writing his second book! Writing a book requires a big commitment. It’s harder than you think but easier than you think as well.

Another challenge is trusting that you can do it.

[37:30] What’s Next for Marlon

Marlon has the goal of becoming a thought leader and being able to influence leaders in the realm of talent retention and organizational culture.

Marlon wishes to help corporations change those cultures and let them know that these packets of invisibility amongst their culture.

Talent retention is one of the major obstacles in corporate America. If the culture is right, then talent will flourish.

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