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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