Why PowerPlant is Going All-in On Leadership, and What it Means for Everything We’re Doing

Dan Gluck — November 9, 2022


When Pow­er­Plant Part­ners start­ed to grow beyond the found­ing Part­ners, Mark and I knew that we want­ed to build a firm ground­ed in open lines of com­mu­ni­ca­tion and pro­duc­tive team­work across the board. We were inspired by @Ray Dalio’s man­age­ment strat­e­gy, as high­light­ed in his book “Prin­ci­ples” which is built on rad­i­cal trans­paren­cy. As investors, we focus so much atten­tion under­writ­ing teams and cul­ture among our port­fo­lio com­pa­nies; it is a crit­i­cal part of any suc­cess­ful grow­ing busi­ness and we preach it con­stant­ly.

So, as we build our own busi­ness, we need to make sure that we are invest­ing in our peo­ple, our team and our cul­ture as well.

Par­tic­u­lar­ly now. We are grow­ing rapid­ly as a firm, hav­ing just raised our third fund, dou­bling our AUM, adding head­count on a reg­u­lar basis, and fac­ing an uncer­tain eco­nom­ic out­look. We need to get this right the first time and build the kind of cul­ture we want before it’s too late to mean­ing­ful­ly change. After all, we know the pay­off will be huge – a team that is work­ing with integri­ty, curios­i­ty, and tak­ing their 100% respon­si­bil­i­ty, can accom­plish great things as long as they are all pulling in the same direc­tion.

The result? We have engaged the Con­scious Lead­er­ship Group to work with every mem­ber of the Pow­er­Plant team over the next year, train­ing us all on the method­ol­o­gy first intro­duced by Jim Deth­mer, Diana Chap­man and Kaley Warn­er Klemp in their 2014 book “The 15 Com­mit­ments of Con­scious Lead­er­ship.” The Train­ing pro­gram involves month­ly one-on-one ses­sions with a coach, month­ly all-team train­ing ses­sions, ongo­ing account­abil­i­ty work and a not insignif­i­cant invest­ment and time and effort.

We see long-term ROI in this effort.

It all start­ed over a year ago, when Mark and I set out to work with an exec­u­tive coach, @Katharine Agosti­no, to help the two of us work well togeth­er. At the time, we didn’t know what con­scious lead­er­ship was about or how the modal­i­ty was dif­fer­ent from oth­er exec­u­tive lead­er­ship pro­grams. But we found it to be incred­i­bly ben­e­fi­cial, both pro­fes­sion­al­ly and per­son­al­ly, because con­scious lead­er­ship, at its core, is about account­abil­i­ty and com­mu­ni­ca­tion. It calls for a deep sense of self-aware­ness and the abil­i­ty for lead­ers to tell them­selves the truth. Man­agers need to lead by exam­ple, demon­strat­ing the account­abil­i­ty they’re ask­ing for from their teams and pro­vid­ing sup­port when it’s need­ed. As the authors write: “Con­scious lead­ers expe­ri­ence what is here and now and respond in the moment. They are not trapped in old pat­terns. They are free to lead and serve oth­ers, the orga­ni­za­tions, the world, and them­selves.” It is a bina­ry deci­sion between being open, curi­ous and com­mit­ted to learn­ing (above the line) ver­sus remain­ing closed off, defen­sive and com­mit­ted to being right (below the line), with prac­tices designed to help lead­ers live their best lives through con­scious ener­gy man­age­ment. 

Our hope is that the ben­e­fits that Mark and I enjoyed from going through this coach­ing will be enjoyed by every­one at Pow­er­Plant.

This effort is help­ing at all lev­els already.

Yes, we are com­mit­ted to build­ing a unique cul­ture here and part of that is being very selec­tive in the indi­vid­u­als we hire. But, ulti­mate­ly, I see all of this as an ongo­ing process – build­ing a great team, cre­at­ing an envi­ron­ment where we can all do our best work and spread­ing that to the investors and com­pa­nies we work with.

In this busi­ness, the proof is in the pud­ding. You either walk the walk or you don’t, and our hope is that this one one step in the right direc­tion that demon­strates our com­mit­ment to build­ing Pow­er­Plant the right way.

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