1% Better S3,

Mel Parker – Leadership Force Multipliers, the Trifecta of Hope, & Chasing the Fire! EP150

January 30, 2020


Mel Parker is CEO of Take the Limits off. He’s also an ex-Airborne Ranger in the US military and has been facing his fears all his life

I had the pleasure of meeting Mel in person last year as he delivered a day’s training on Emotional Intelligence. I knew straight away that he would be a great guest to have on the podcast to talk about his leadership journey.

His book, The Parker Principles, 10 Leadership Force Multipliers, is full of useful interesting insights from his experiences over the years. We talk about many of these in this episode.

Here is a summary of the topics covered in our conversation

  • Mel’s background in leadership
  • Growing up on a pig and tobacco farming
  • Raised by a single mother and a very close connection with his grandmother
  • Being ‘resource challenged’ and considered below the poverty link
  • Having a grandmother with a tremendous amount of Faith!
  • With enough hard work and education, opportunities could exist for anyone!
  • Always believing there will be a better tomorrow – if you put in the time and efforts
  • The role leadership has played in Me’s life
  • Where did his grandmothers positivity come from – no clear but seemed to be inbuilt in her!
  • She was wordily, full of common sense and could read people
  • She was a veracious reader and taking this from her
  • Dealing with fear from a young age and the relationship with this
  • Always having danger growing up – he could get into trouble growing up and had situations where people didn’t know which way things would go
  • Dealing with anxiety
  • Reading books and getting motivated and inspired from this work
  • Trifecta of hope
    • 1) Science Fiction as one – always a hero – leadership mentality
    • 2) Comic books – giving Mel a level of resilience – had to overcome great tragedy – teaching him that the pain and difficulty are just part of his ‘becoming’
    • 3) Faith of his grandmother
  • Taking action from an early age – getting a public library card to read for free!
  • Catching the fire and loving to learn
  • Juxtaposition of Education & Leadership = Opportunity – this gave Mel focus all the way through
  • Bicycle – Education = back wheel & leadership = front wheel
  • Starting to conceptualize the leader idea or role from a young age – this become something he wanted to follow
  • Getting into sports which allowed Mel his first taste or real leadership
  • This led to it becoming a rhythm
  • How taking on this role felt? Pressure but excitement and responsibility instead of fear!
  • Developing a mentality to solve problems….this is what he’s at!
  • Being in a crisis situation and thriving v being in a comfortzone and not being happy!
  • Looking back and thinking about what I could have done differently?
  • Always chasing the fire….this was part of his way!
  • Leadership is universal and these fires can be put out in any industry?
  • Moving his family 15 times in his career – this was due to promotions and bigger fires…
  • Looking forward or back more? At the age of 50 this changed!
  • Questioning is there more than the next big job?
  • Mel’s mission changed after his 50th birthday…
  • Becoming aware you have less life in front of you than you have behind you?
  • Have Mel’s values changed overtime and what ones did?
  • Oct 2016 as a big turning point when Mel’s grandmother passed
  • His grandmother challenged Mel to stop living in fear on her death bed!
  • Being challenged to write his book and start his own company!
  • Facing fear and stepping away from his corporate pay cheque
  • Starting to trust himself and moving forward!
  • This pushed Mel to move and he started his company and started the book!
  • Working harder and being happier now than anytime in his career
  • Having control now and being able to say NO!
  • Having a focus on family and being connected
  • A change in identity moving away from the corporate world!
  • Finding it difficult to give that up as he had built a life that he never had when growing up!
  • Growing up with nothing, then not worried about bills every month, never wanted to lose this!
  • Writing the book and how this was approached
  • Believing that it was always important for Mel to share his leadership principles with his team – this is who he is!!!
  • Anytime not living to these, you have permission to throw the flag
  • The importance of calling out who you are and establish this!!
  • Dealing with the “Who am I?” question
  • This is what you can hold me accountable to
  • The book was a way of telling the world who Mel Parker is and this how you can work with me
  • He empowers his team to throw the flag on him if he’s not living these!
  • What is a ‘Force Multiplier’ – added to a core force to make it more powerful – an army term
  • Force multiplier can help amplify the leader that you are!
  • Touching on some of the principles from the book including
    • Servant leadership
    • Trust
    • Authenticity
  • How leadership has changed and how the world has evolved
  • People are the competitive advantage – what is the best way to maximize their output
  • Coaching and Leadership
  • Getting leaders to be more vulnerable?
  • Working with leaders to let their team in more
  • Micromanagement and trust
  • Having relationships with North and South and East and West! This is key!!
  • Listening and how to coach leaders to listen better
  • The ability to receive is just as important as the ability to transmit – come out from behind your desk!
  • Taking actions to create connection
  • High Trust Organizations at the core
  • Trying to build trust with better listening skills
  • Gallop poles measuring institutions based on trust – 2 levels of high trust – the military have been at the top for the last 30 years..
  • The hyper focus on character in the military
  • A key takeaway on lessons learned through mistakes and failures that have been big successes?
  • Learning a methodology to allow team members make honest mistakes – everyone gets a second chance – learning this from his very first corporate job!


Check out Mel’s site & book on:

  • The site – takethelimitsoff.com
  • Book – the Parker Principles – 10 leadership force multipliers
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