Pop Quiz, Monday with Carlos Castelan, Managing Director at The Navio Group

Photo credit: Carlos Castelan
The Pop Quiz, Monday is a fun little exam that we love to give to savvy business owners. The examination is not a surprise after all since the interviewee already knew about the questions in advance. However, we can always pretend and have fun with the scenario of a young entrepreneur sitting in class nervously biting on their pencil. They are ready to take a pop quiz on a chapter that they were supposed to read the night before. Instead, they played Metroid all night on their SNES (Oops, this was me in high school). The real purpose of the pop quiz is that this is a fun way to introduce business tips from real-world experiences that you can not learn in a classroom. We want to thank our entrepreneur for being a good sport and volunteering their time to answer a few questions to help our community grow from their knowledge.

I want to introduce you to our guest today who will be taking our Pop Quiz Monday.

Can you please tell everyone your name?

Carlos Castelan

What is your job role?

Managing Director, The Navio Group

Tell us about your company?

We are a consulting firm that helps brands accelerate the transformation of their customer experience.

What do you love most about your job?

I love that every day is different because every client’s customer is unique so we’re continually working on different challenges. While there are big themes across the industry, each client develops a unique solution tailored to their customer and their brand’s strengths.

What motivates you to get up every day and go to work?

The excitement of working on new projects every day, and with people I enjoy, is what keeps me motivated. The ability to create new solutions on a daily basis with a talented client team is invigorating.

How do your co-workers inspire you?

What I appreciate most about my co-workers are the unique perspectives they bring. As an example, I work with someone who spent several years at boutique retailers as a store employee, and he brings a single point of view that I do not have. The different points of view inspired me to gather a diversity of opinions while adding more value to our clients.

How do you have fun at work (team building, pranks, etc..)?

We’re often on the road with our clients so when we’re back a lot of what we do is about enjoying downtime often by having a good, long lunch and enjoying each other’s company. There’s a tremendous local Greek spot near our office run by two guys that only open during lunch hours on weekdays. The food is incredible, and the environment is down-to-earth which makes for great conversations.

What are some of the challenges of your job?

Staying connected as a team when we’re often in different spots is a challenge. Client work keeps us on the road a lot, so I have tried to do better about ensuring connection among all of us.

What are some lessons learned from a past project that you can share with us?

To generate transformational change or innovation requires both strong leadership as well as the proper organizational structure to support the day-to-day business as well as creating long-term change. Thinking very clearly about the organizational structure to enable transformation and innovation, while maintaining the performance of the core business, comes down to painting a compelling vision as well as sharing how each team/person has a unique role to play. This where strong leadership and communication come into play.

What advice would you give to someone who is starting in your industry?

First, make yourself useful to other clients or other teams. A great line that I learned from a mentor and friend was “give people something to react to.” This simple phrase has helped me become a better leader and consultant.

Secondly, learn as much as you can about the industry. I spend a lot of time talking to people to hear the cool things they’re working on or visiting new concepts to stay fresh. (For example, I am going to LA for a day to attend an innovative, new mall concept)).The ability to stitch together common themes and apply to the work will help in any role.

Thank you for taking our pop quiz today. You get an A+ for effort. You can learn more about our interviewee and their business by visiting them on the web:

@thenaviogroup.com (Twitter)