Say It Skillfully® – Tough Talks from the Top: Mark Parsells

August 16, 2022
Hosted by Molly Tschang

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Episode Description

Say It Skillfully® is a show that helps you to benefit from Molly Tschang’s expert guidance on the best possible ways to speak your mind at work in a positive and productive manner. In Episode 144, Molly is joined by Mark Parsells, who joins the show to share stories of success, failure, and going against the grain as a world-class business operator who played vital roles in the success of many companies, including CitiBank Online and American Express. Mark goes in depth on the dangers of corporate groupthink, and how it can cloud vision and can make a common sense answer seem impossible or like a terrible idea. Don’t miss stories of him working through massive pushback and groupthink at AmEx—where he redesigned the application for their first credit card—and at CitiBank, where he advocated for a “single sign-on” system. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Mark talks about “Emperor’s New Clothing Syndrome”, where people blindly agree with whatever decision the higher-up is making, without considering other options. He shares the importance of leaders being authentic and respectfully calling out when an idea is a bad one. Mark helps us with strategies for presenting ideas—showing how to use finesse and curiosity to let others naturally come to the solution using their expertise—rather than initially telling them what you think is right. Mark and Molly also talk about the importance of getting to know yourself and what’s right for you. He shares how he eventually came to understand that he didn’t do his best work as an employee. Mark shares a heartbreaking story of how a great employee and a personal favorite of his ended up leaving the company because they mistakenly thought Mark didn’t like them. He discusses how, moving forward, he avoided situations like this and created better relationships by building a culture of ultra transparency and support between peers. Mark lets us in on all of his current endeavors, including his company Montpelier Ventures, his work with small companies dealing with mergers and acquisitions, and working on many boards. He shares how he is passionate about coaching CEOs because he felt he was missing guidance in his years as one. Also, don’t miss the story of how Mark concluded that he will never retire! Mark inspires all to know no boundaries and to commit to taking action so that all can be safe, seen and heard, and our true and best selves. Molly’s thought for the week from Mark’s grandmother, “Be real, be kind, and genuinely care about people.” Please be part of the solution—give upfront and encouraging feedback! Sign-up for Molly’s free mini-course and all my #sayitskillfully resources for you here:

Say It Skillfully®

Tuesday at 8 AM Pacific Time/11 AM Eastern Time on VoiceAmerica Business Channel

Molly Tschang's Say It Skillfully® is a show that helps you benefit from Molly's guidance on the best possible ways to speak your mind at work in a positive and productive manner. She helps everyone from CEOs to interns to recognize that we are all both part of the problem as well as the solution, and that the path to solving any problem is to say what needs to be said.

Molly is a rare breed: tough enough to advise CEOs and company boards, but empathetic enough to understand the human costs of not allowing talent to shine. She has helped dozens of management teams navigate the human after-effects of mergers and acquisitions, and her show brings her expert guidance to a wider audience.

Say It Skillfully® every Tuesday at 8 AM Pacific Time/11 AM Eastern Time on the VoiceAmerica Business Channel.

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Molly Tschang

Molly Tschang helps her clients' organizations gain the skills to Win As One, which most other companies never even try to do. She starts at the top, guiding management to commit to each other’s success and lead as one cohesive unit.

Molly is Founder and CEO of Abella Consulting, a New York-based leadership development and business advisory consultancy that helps senior leaders cultivate the collaborative capacity to elevate individual, team and organizational performance resulting in accelerated sustained, profitable growth. She created and hosts the “Say It Skillfully®” video series on LinkedIn, making it easier for all members of an organization to say what needs to be said in a constructive and productive manner.

Prior to launching Abella, Molly held executive leadership positions at Cisco Systems and U.S. Filter, where she led the integration of over 80 acquisitions. She holds a BS in chemical engineering from Cornell University and an MBA from UCLA. In 2017, Molly was selected from among 12,000 applicants to be a protégé of Marshall Goldsmith through his 100 Coaches initiative. In her downtime, she enjoys tennis, yoga and cooking with family and friends.

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