A conversation with Melanie Parish. Executive Director & Experimental Leader Academy.

“Yeah, he’s been doing some amazing things in his organization. One is that he’s been talking about personality as a place to welcome diversity, that everyone doesn’t have to be nice all the time, that people who are fractious or have personalities that are annoying, that you can be actually radically inclusive of those personalities. I’m not talking about people who are racist or sexist or those kinds of things. I’m actually just talking about people who always are a little sour or who aren’t particularly friendly or whatever it is. And he hasn’t made any mandates or edicts. He’s just introduced the idea that what if this is a way that one could be radically inclusive, that one could just be curious about not making that person conform to some norm or social standard. And I think it’s a fascinating thought as we grapple with ED&I, and equity, diversity and inclusion, and broaden our scope of inclusion to include people who are different in a variety of ways.” – Melanie Parish

In this episode of Control the Room, I had the pleasure of speaking with Melanie Parish about her long career as a Leadership Coach.  She starts with reflections on her approach to coaching which prioritizes experimentation.  Later, Melanie talks about radical inclusion and the reframe she uses to help others broaden the range of topics they can discuss.  We also discuss the importance of feedback cultures and personal wellness.  Listen in for insights into leadership essentials.

Show Highlights

[1:50] How Malanie Got Her Start.

[11:20] Malanie’s Approach To Radical Inclusion.

[21:21] Calling People In, Instead Of Out.

[30:15] Three Leadership Essentials.

[35:55] Experiment More

Melanie on LinkedIn

Melanie on Twitter

Melanie on Facebook

Melanie on Instagram

Melanie on Youtube

About the Guest

Melanie Parish is an author, public speaker, host of The Experimental Leader Podcast, founder of Experimental Leader Academy, and Master Certified Coach. An expert in problem-solving, constraints management, operations, strategic hiring, and brand development, Melanie has consulted and coached organizations ranging from a Fortune 50 company to IT start-ups. Her individual clients include those in FAANG and other top global IT companies. As an author, educator, and creator of The Experimental Leader book, Melanie shows people new ways of thinking about their leadership, informed by her understanding of the fast-paced ride of technology innovation. She is based in Dundas, Ontario and Las Cruces, New Mexico.

About Voltage Control

Voltage Control is a change agency that helps enterprises sustain innovation and teams work better together with custom-designed meetings and workshops, both in-person and virtual. Our master facilitators offer trusted guidance and custom coaching to companies who want to transform ineffective meetings, reignite stalled projects, and cut through assumptions. Based in Austin, Voltage Control designs and leads public and private workshops that range from small meetings to large conference-style gatherings.

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Full Transcript

Douglas: Welcome to the Control the Room Podcast, a series devoted to the exploration of meeting culture and uncovering cures to the common meeting. Some meetings have tight control and others are loose. To control the room means achieving outcomes while striking a balance between imposing and removing structure, asserting and distributing power, leaning in and leaning out, all in the service of having a truly magical meeting. Thanks for listening. If you’d like to join us live for a session sometime, you can join our weekly Control the Room Facilitation Lab.

It’s a free event to meet fellow facilitators and explore new techniques, so you can apply the things you learn in the podcast in real time with other facilitators. Sign up today at voltagecontrol.com/facilitation-lab. If you’d like to learn more about my book Magical Meetings, you can download the Magical Meetings Quick Start Guide, a free PDF reference with some of the most important pieces of advice from the book. Download a copy today at magicalmeetings.com. Today I’m with Melanie Parrish; author, public speaker, and host of the Experimental Leader Podcast. She’s also the founder of Experimental Leader Academy and master certified coach. Welcome to the show, Melanie.

Melanie: Douglas, it’s amazing to be here with you.

Douglas: So happy to have you and excited to lean into experimental leadership and all the great things that we already started talking about in the pre-show. So as usual, let’s get started hearing a little bit about how you got your start, how did you get curious about leadership and coaching and supporting others through their journey into experimental leadership?

Melanie: Yeah, so I’ve been coaching for 23 years and having thousands of conversations with leaders over the years, and about 10 years ago, I started to realize sort of the juxtaposition between experimenting and leadership and how there’s actually sort of a set of practices that go with that. I was working in tech consulting and I realized that… I kept telling one of my clients to write this book and he kept going, “Yeah, I could, I guess.” And finally, I realized it was my book, not his book, and so I wrote the book. And so, I love my book, I love The Experimental Leader. Somehow, by magic, I wrote a better book than I meant to write with great editor and lots of people pushing on the ideas and making them better, and I sort of look at it sometimes and I’m like, “Wow, that worked out pretty well.”

I like the ideas in it and I like that it continues to push my thinking, even… It came out two years ago, I worked on it for seven years. I continue to grow my thinking as I bounce off of it. Often, people tell me after they read it, they’re like, “Oh, now I have to start again.” I didn’t want to write a book that people would read the first chapter and go, “Oh, all the ideas are in the first chapter,” And so it’s a pretty rich book. And actually, in my podcast right now we’re doing book clubs, so we’re going through it chapter by chapter, one chapter a month, so if anybody wants to join in this year, it’s kind of fun to do a little book club.

Douglas: Yeah, that’s really cool to step through the pieces with folks. And I imagine that creates a dialogue with the community.

Melanie: Yeah, I hope so. I hope so. I’ve recorded one episode. We started just now, and each of my guests will read a chapter and we’ll hear their ideas on the concept. So I want to hear their leadership ideas too. I’m pretty excited about this new experiment. A little scared. That’s one of the things that experimentation always brings, I think, is that little gasp, intake of breath when you do an experiment that puts you, sort of knocks you off your feet a little. What if it doesn’t work? What if it’s a little out of control, little bit of chaos? But it’s fun too.

Douglas: Yeah, I was just chatting with the team the other day about the difference between walking into uncomfortable situations and reacting to that by recoiling, versus responding with curiosity.

Melanie: Yeah, absolutely. And I think, I mean, I think anyone who does facilitation for a living or anyone who runs meetings or helps people dialogue with each other, there’s both that sort of edge and then the thrill, and the joy when it goes well. And there’s always the possibility of it not going so well. I don’t know. I love that edge. It’s a fun edge. But it also opens the door to possibility, which is the heart of experimenting as a leader. If you don’t experiment as a leader, you’re stuck with the status quo.

Douglas: Yeah. It’s funny, because I think it came natural for me as someone who studied biology and chemistry and just I was always in lab. And even writing software, there were always moments where we made… I had to make a little, tiny little thing to understand if my algorithm was going to work. I needed to make a little simple thing and go, “Oh, is this…” like prototype. Or make something that might be representative of the bigger thing. And I don’t know if you run into this, but the thing I notice so often is the missing piece is the ability to see how they can make it smaller. Because if your experiment’s so big, it can be really, really scary and the consequences might be really big too.

Melanie: Absolutely. I had a conversation this weekend with a guy who is experimenting around, he’s using the human brain as a model to make cellphone batteries last longer, because human brains are really efficient as power sources. He’s a researcher at Waterloo. And he is using them as a model, and then he’s using them to program in analog. I don’t know, I was so fascinated. My mind was so blown by the time he left that I’ve been thinking about it all week, this idea that you can just change everything by changing a fundamental concept in your experimentation. Now your mind’s blown a little too, I can see it in your face.

Douglas: The thing that made me think about was actually I’m kind of an audio geek, and there’s this really interesting company that makes analog hardware. And the analog hardware they create, they’re using analog circuits that are basically discrete mathematics, like op-amps and things can do mathematics. And they’re basically recreating the digital algorithms of the digital clones of really cool esoteric ’60s equipment. So you’ve got this hard to find, very expensive to make two transformers and things, and people have recreated digital clones of them and then they made analog versions of the digital algorithm. I don’t know, it’s really fascinating when people respond… It’s just the inventiveness that just comes out of people building on top of what other people have built. So fascinating.

Melanie: Well, and it’s like when you’re dealing with preference, there’s not a best practice. I had this pile of CDs and cassette tapes and, coincidentally, I don’t know, a decade ago I bought this antique box looking thing that plays records and CDs and cassette tapes and Bluetooth. And I kept thinking I had to get rid of my… The best practice was to get rid of my CDs and my cassette tapes because I had Spotify. But I never could quite do it because I had this attachment to like, “I bought this cassette at this concert and I bought this one at this concert.”

And I had an attachment to the physical thing. So finally, I just put them all away, kind of in order in a drawer. And I’ve had so much fun playing them, and the joy is all there. It’s a different joy than I get from playing a Spotify list, which is also joy. But there’s something about the way Robert Earl Keen sounds on a cassette tape from 20 years ago that’s really different than how Robert Earl Keen sounds on Spotify. And so, we have to be careful not to best practice our way out of our joy.

Douglas: I love that. And it’s sort of like efficiency can often, I would say, often might not even be the right word. It’s like efficiency will be diametrically opposed to joy, a lot of times. It’s like if we make everything just working as perfectly as it could and just right at our fingertips, we may miss out on that nostalgia, for instance.

Melanie: Absolutely. Absolutely. As you get busy when you’re a professional and you start to hire people to do things, we have a gardener, we have somebody to clean the house. And my husband joked like, “Oh, do we need to hire someone to swim in our pool and sit by our pond to enjoy things because we’re too busy to enjoy our lives?” That’s obviously ridiculous, he was being sarcastic as he sometimes is.

Douglas: I love it. That’s a fun thought experiment. At what point do you draw the line? I think that’s probably different for everyone, which brings in a point we were talking about in the pre-show chat around, you mentioned radical inclusivity, and specifically some things that come up for me as we were just chatting was this idea of people from different generations are going to have affinity to different products. You mentioned CDs and there’s vinyl, there’s 8-tracks. We all have different memories and fondness of different things, different associations that folks have. There’s so many TikTok videos of people interviewing their children and go, “What are the Yellow Pages?” And they have no idea, “What’s dial up?”

And so, if we’re going to be truly inclusive, we need to be mindful of the lived experiences that people are bringing to the space. What’s the neurodiversity coming in? It’s interesting segue into that topic, so I’d love to hear a little bit more. I know you were saying, you mentioned your husband’s funny thoughts around do we pay someone to be at our pond? But I think you were saying that he was practicing some really cool radical inclusivity as well.

Melanie: Yeah, he’s been doing some amazing things in his organization. One is that he’s been talking about personality as a place to welcome diversity, that everyone doesn’t have to be nice all the time, that people who are fractious or have personalities that are annoying, that you can be actually radically inclusive of those personalities. I’m not talking about people who are racist or sexist or those kinds of things. I’m actually just talking about people who always are a little sour or who aren’t particularly friendly or whatever it is. And he hasn’t made any mandates or edicts. He’s just introduced the idea that what if this is a way that one could be radically inclusive, that one could just be curious about not making that person conform to some norm or social standard. And I think it’s a fascinating thought as we grapple with ED&I, and equity, diversity and inclusion, and broaden our scope of inclusion to include people who are different in a variety of ways.

I love this thought of just general kindness as we welcome those who are less skilled into the dialogue. I think that we have come to a time where we like talking to people who are like us, and I think that these kinds of thoughts… I don’t think that talking to people that are the same as us all the time are good for leading innovation. I think that conversations that are with people that are different than us, who have ideas that make us think or even make us angry or make us question our own values are good for us. I think that we’re becoming less and less patient with those conversations.

Douglas: Yeah. It’s interesting you mention patience, because we talk a lot about leaning into the conflict or slowing things down so those moments can happen.

Melanie: Yeah. And I do some marriage coaching and I think about… There’s a right level of heat. I want people not to be so comfortable that they won’t say what’s on their mind. I want them to speak their truth, and I don’t want them to be so heated that they harm each other. So there’s a sweet spot… And I work with teams as well, and it’s about the same. There’s a right level of heat on a team to help them speak truth and even push the limit of what they might be… of their comfort zone, to get into a growth zone, but you also don’t want to damage relationship.

Douglas: Yeah, absolutely. What does that range look like or that zone look like? And it can vary, based on teams and groups.

Melanie: Yeah, I think you’re right. Well, I think there’s also a personality profile, like software teams tend to be pretty conflict diverse as a rule. A sales team might have more range for duking it out about feelings or expressing feelings more broadly. People have different levels of skill as well. And as somebody who teaches leadership skills, and I believe that people can learn those skills so that they can increase that range, so that they can speak more freely. They can learn the skill of both speaking freely, but also receiving feedback and receiving ideas more freely.

Douglas: Yeah. The other thing that came to mind too was, sometimes, people talk a lot about psychological safety. And I’ve found that, quite often, people misunderstand it. And I like to go back to Amy C. Edmondson’s definition, personally, and when you really think about it, a really safe organization could seem really messy from the outside. If they’re speaking the truth, it might seem like, “Oh, man, they’re…” Because if you look at the team that’s not safe and everyone’s quiet and hiding everything, it might seem like a really efficient well-oiled machine. But you go look over here and these people are like, “This looks kind of messy and whoa, what did they… What’s happening here?” And it’s because everyone feels safe to speak the truth and it’s out in the open and they’re moving through it. I’m wondering if that resonates with things you’ve seen on teams or any stories you’ve seen there.

Melanie: Yes. And I think that just basic interpersonal relationship data says that the broader the number of topics, the fewer off limit topics there are, the more healthy the relationships are. That goes for couples as well as teams. And I think I learned that data when I was in university a million years ago, that as relationships are ending, the number of topics you can talk about diminishes. And we see organizations that are super siloed. They have a lot of things that we just don’t talk about anymore, “Oh, we don’t talk about that. That happened so many years ago, we don’t talk about that.” If you can say anything and people go, “Oh. Yeah, that’s interesting,” and it may not always feel good… I think that the idea that psychological safety means that work feels good all the time is probably, it’s probably not a healthy thought.

It’s not a healthy organization. You’re not bouncing off of things and you’re probably not innovating. If you can’t say… If you can’t put an idea forth that’s stupid, then you’re probably in trouble as an organization. And if you can’t say, “That’s a stupid idea,” at some point after you’ve looked for proof of concept, you’ve looked for what might work or what didn’t, you don’t want to say that too early, but if you can’t say that later, then it’s also not a healthy organization because then you’re going to spend millions trying to go forth with an idea that really didn’t look like it was going to work at the outset.

Douglas: I think it’s super important to take that holistic lens, versus thinking about any of these concepts in work and meetings and collaborations and relationships and thinking, “Oh, this is the silver bullet.” Things still might be a little messy, but how do we go in with grace and curiosity and support and love and all those things?

Melanie: I mean, part of the whole experimental leader concept is that you want safe to fail experiment. So you don’t want to have to come up with an idea that’s a million dollar idea. You want to come up with a hundred dollar idea and test it a million times. So it doesn’t have to be perfect at the get go. That’s not an experimental culture, that’s an expensive culture.

Douglas: Right. It’s also confirmation bias too, a lot of times.

Melanie: Absolutely. And so, when people live and die by their ideas, and this is part of the heart of the book, when people have to live and die by their ideas, they have to convince somebody, “My idea is worth investing in.” That’s not an experimental culture, that’s a culture that people are not safe to fail. And it’s a culture that doesn’t stand behind the ideas of all the people on their team and try them. That’s a culture that, “We’re looking for our… It’s a competitive culture where we’re looking for our teammates to fail so we can win.”

Douglas: It also strikes me, that’s a culture that’s all about buy-in versus ownership.

Melanie: Yeah. I always have loved the idea that you’re brainstorming ideas, and as soon as the idea goes into the center of the room, everybody has equal stake in it. What are we going to do with that idea? And then we may decide we don’t want to do anything with that idea, and that wasn’t Bill’s idea that we decided to trash. It was everybody’s idea that we decided to trash or go forward with. It was just an idea that we came up with as a team.

Douglas: I love that. Yeah, that’s kind of coalescing the collective intelligence. I love it. Yeah. So you were also mentioning, and this is kind of coming back to some of the radical inclusivity stuff, this idea of calling people in versus calling them out.

Melanie: Yeah. I’ve been thinking a lot about as… The deeper I get into leadership, the more compassion just sits with me, the more I feel like that’s probably the most important leadership skill. It doesn’t mean that we know how to do it. I can say compassion’s really important, but I don’t know that that means somebody knows how to do that. But I’ve been thinking a lot about Loretta Ross and the idea of calling people in versus calling people out this year. I believe she coined the phrase women of color, also the idea of reproductive rights, way back in the ’60s. And she’s sort of introduce this concept of instead of calling people out, you get a pronoun wrong for a trans person and somebody calls you out publicly, there’s a different idea behind this of calling people in, of saying, “Hey, I know you didn’t mean to, and hey, we use… this person’s using this.”

But you do it privately. You do it kindly. You do it out of love. And I think that cancel culture is really harmful to people. We sting. I know the times. I remember the times I’ve been called out, I have a Queer identity and I’ve been called out for things somebody thought I didn’t say right publicly. And I can tell you that all the times, I could name them right now, and it’s so harmful. It hurts because my heart was in the right place when I was speaking. And I think everyone has that sort of experience and people become afraid to speak. I believe so strongly in dialogue that I want us to have ways that we can help people grow without harming them and without prohibiting dialogue, because that dialogue is so powerful. I want people to practice saying people’s pronouns for the first time.

We have a new person in our lives who’s using they/them pronouns, and I spent the weekend with them and I got them wrong so many times, so many times. And they were so kind to me every single time. But by the end of the weekend, I kind of had it right, and I was so happy that I had had the chance to practice all weekend. And I think I actually started to establish a better neural pathway because I hadn’t done well before, even though I have a lot of people in my life who have changed pronouns, who use they/them pronouns. It just is a difficult neural pathway for me.

Douglas: Yeah, I think there’s quite a few things there. The one thing I’ll underscore the most is this rehearsing or the practicing. And I think that’s key to almost anything. It’s also the reason why so many training programs fail, just bombarded with all the stuff and then you never practice it. Imagine if someone just told you how to ride a bike for two weeks straight. It’s never going to work. And also, the other thing that struck me is if you’re in the meeting and you want to encourage dialogue and something happens, it can be healthy to call something out to notice it, to label it. But we need to do it in a graceful, loving way and then maybe invite dialogue about it. Maybe we’ll just say, “That happened. What does everyone think about that?” And then guide that conversation.

Melanie: I’m going to say that if you do that, I think you’re actually calling them in. And here’s the way that I think that you’re calling them in. You say, “Hey, I don’t think you meant to do this. I don’t think you meant to cause harm.” So you affirm them as a human as you do that. I still am going to… I’m going to stand by calling them in, instead of calling them out. So calling them out, to me, means that you’ve made them wrong in some way. And calling them in, you’re affirming who they are as a person, you’re affirming their intent that they didn’t mean to cause harm or they didn’t mean to do it or they didn’t mean…

And so, I still think, even if you do it publicly, because sometimes you have to like, “Hey, we’re going to use this pronoun,” or just say the pronoun quickly and move on. I mean, that’s the other thing is to do it with as little fanfare as possible. Not to make them wrong, but just if somebody says he instead of she, you go, “She,” and then that’s it. You’re done. There’s no chastising like they didn’t get it, “Oh, you said the pronoun wrong.” You don’t have to say that part. You can just say the pronoun correctly. So as little fanfare as possible, I think that’s part of the calling in instead of calling out.

Douglas: Yeah, I think that makes a ton of sense. And I want to also anchor back to another thing you were saying earlier in the pre-show, which was this idea of so much of this leadership work is about mindset. And I think this idea of calling in, calling out and how we approach conversations and what’s important, what we’re going to prioritize and how we show up is very much mindset.

Melanie: Yeah. I think one of the most important things for any leader in any forum is to facilitate a culture that provides feedback loops, because it’s really difficult to lead without information. So in meetings and written communication and you… As a leader, you want to open your people, you want them to come to you, you want them to share information freely with each other. And almost everything leadership related, whether it’s the way that you interact with people or the way that you develop them, you’re wanting them to take work forward on their own, but you’re also wanting them to communicate with you as they need help or as they are developing the people below them. It’s all about the opening of communication channels and the opening of feedback loops throughout the organization.

Douglas: The communication channels are so, so important. And it reminds me of Conway’s Law and the idea that our org structures and how they enable or disabled communication flow has such a big impact on the work we do.

Melanie: Yeah, absolutely.

Douglas: You also mention this idea of, or we were talking about this internal state of the leader, and you mentioned this idea of having an empty well, and I thought it was really quite interesting. I think our listeners would really enjoy hearing a little bit about that.

Melanie: I think I was talking about, and I think about it a lot, the idea of making sure, as a leader, to foster joy in my own life, to help people that I coach to foster joy and rejuvenation in their own lives. Because I think that, often, a leader’s biggest resource is their own internal state. And it’s the one resource you can’t beg, borrow, or steal, you have to create on your own. And it can be elusive, but once you learn how to rejuvenate it, you can rejuvenate it most of the time. I think there are times that you can’t rejuvenate that well, or it’s difficult. I have found it difficult when I’ve had a death in the family to rejuvenate that well, and have felt the loss of that because it just… through loss, you can’t keep filling because you’ve lost something dear, and still you’re having to wake up and lead every day.

But I think those things happen in life, and so you need that well to be full when those things happen so that you can, you’re not on empty when those things happen. I think that sometimes when we’re stressed as leaders, we might tend to go for the martini and the staying up late at night, instead of the run or the yoga or the deep sleep or the hike in the woods. And I never know what it is for my clients. I know I’ve tried to learn what it is for myself. Everybody has to find their own path to that rejuvenation. I have clients who… I have one client, it’s group video games, the ones, the big ones where they play all night long. And that’s not it for me, I can tell you, but it is for them. For me it’s massage, chiropractic, swimming, being in water is it for me. Do you know what it is for you?

Douglas: Yeah. I mean, there’s a few things. I exercise, so Pilates and boxing and the sauna. Those are really amazing moments. Also, time with friends and good food is always really… Just the time evaporates. Whether we’re playing board games or going for a walk, it doesn’t matter. It’s the dialogue with good old friends that just melts the time.

Melanie: Yeah. We have a table by our pool and the laughter by the pool with things cooking on the grill. Yeah, it’s timeless. It’s like it’s always too fast, yeah. Those timeless moments, I think that’s a good key that you’re into that space.

Douglas: Yeah. It’s like a form of flow, right?

Melanie: It’s a form of flow, but it is like you can almost feel the well filling as you’re in it. You’re almost like, “Oh.” And I know when, afterward, my husband and I are like, “Oh, that was good. It was really good.”

Douglas: Yeah. Super cool. Amazing. So just thinking about the work you’re doing around The Experimental Leader Academy and what the future might hold, I know you had mentioned some current work you’re doing around bridging the gap for new leaders, because the current book’s pretty in depth and experimenting is a more advanced topic for leaders. So I’d love to hear what you’re working on and what’s coming next.

Melanie: Yeah. We have a program called Leadership Essentials and it’s for people leading a team. And we’re super excited about it. It’s having amazing results for people that are doing it. But I realize that not everybody who wants to do leadership is leading a team, and so this fall, we’re going to have a brand new program. So we’ll be piloting a brand new program, a leadership program for individual contributors. And I don’t even have a great working title or anything markety to talk about, but my brain is super excited about it, because I think that people… Leadership is a state of mind and there’s things like proactivity and how the impact that you want to have on the world and what’s your unique place in the world, what do you bring to the world that are just super exciting things that also lead to that workplace fulfillment, that I think is really important for people.

And so, all that’ll be in this program. That’s what I’m working on right now. I’m still in the phase where I’m working on it when I am driving in my car and hanging out outside. And it’s in my brain so far, but I’m starting to think about mapping it out and will record it. I think it’ll be sort of a 30-day program. That’s my current thought is it’ll be a 30-day program that probably nobody will really finish in 30 days, but that’s how I’m imagining it is that you could do it, a little daily piece, to grow as a leader.

Douglas: Yeah, I think continued commitment and practice makes a huge difference in just the consistency in building things up.

Melanie: Yeah. I mean, having been a coach, I’ve been a coach for 23 years, and it’s all about those steps forward for me. I’ve watched people transform their lives. My clients stay with me a really long time. I have a client I’ve had for 22 years, I think. Watching what can happen in that span, nothing really happens every week, but over a little bit every week changes everything over a five year period or a seven year period. People transform their lives and their income and their work and their home lives. Everything can change in that period of time. So it’s fun to be on those journeys. I really want to be able to do that for people in a variety of ways too.

Douglas: Yeah, it reminds me too, in those moments is where the realizations happen. To your point, you can’t just introduce the concept of the well filling up and go, “How does that work for you?” and have someone immediately know. They might have to sit with it, work through it, explore it, talk about it, monitor it. Definitely is true for deeper kinds of things around what personality traits are holding them back and things like that. And so, it just takes time to have those things reveal themselves.

Melanie: The hardest work I ever do with any client is to get the negative voices in their head to stop. It’s the longest and the hardest work. But once they stop, then we can start filling the well. It’s almost impossible to fill the well when they’ve got some sort of internal saboteur beating them up between sessions. They can’t get any traction.

Douglas: Yeah, that’s a serious threat, I think, everyone suffers. But I would say everyone suffers from it, but it’s disproportionate.

Melanie: It is, yeah.

Douglas: Some have it worse than others. And I would say a lot of times it’s based on biases that are ingrained from a young age.

Melanie: Leza Danly did some really interesting work around those voices and aging those voices. Sometimes you can guess what age they are, so were you an infant, were you three, were you five, were you nine? And if you ask people, they often know how old they were when those voices started. And it’s interesting to play with dialogue with those voices and things as a way to change them. Her work’s really interesting around those voices.

Douglas: Incredible. Yeah, I’m not super familiar with her. I’ll to check her out and get her in the show notes so others can dig in too.

Melanie: Yeah, L-E-Z-A. Leza Danly.

Douglas: Awesome. Well, Melanie, it’s been a pleasure chatting. I want to make sure we have some time here, before we run out of time, for you to leave us with a final thought.

Melanie: Well, it’s just been a pleasure to be here. And I think that my biggest challenge to people is to start experimenting, start looking for places that you can experiment, and look for experiments that are small and are safe to fail, and that you time them to be short, like a day or a week prototype. Put them into place and then measure them. If anybody wants to get a [inaudible 00:36:17] card for me, that would tell them a really good process to go through to question and experiment, they’re welcome to reach out to me at melanie@experimentalleader.com.

Douglas: Excellent. Well, it’s been a pleasure chatting. Hopefully, we will keep the conversation going. I hope you have a great day.

Melanie: Yeah, thank you so much. It’s been so fun. Great conversation.

Douglas: Thanks for joining me for another episode of Control the Room. Don’t forget to subscribe to receive updates when new episodes are released. If you want to know more, head over to our blog where I post weekly articles and resources about radical inclusion, team health, and working better, voltagecontrol.com.