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Develop Your Leaders,

Improve Your Results

I help business leaders build skills in

collaborative problem-solving

and develop organizational cultures in which team members

play to win with honor

I work with growing startups and other relatively small businesses.


These startups are promoting and/or hiring managers who have brilliant technical skills, but often struggle when solving problems with people. Often it's because they have never received training in leadership or collaborative problem-solving.


I give these organizations a competitive edge by helping their managers become more adept and effective when working with others (i.e., solving problems in human systems).

The founders, executive teams, and investors who work with me often report feeling relief, because I'm helping their people develop relational leadership skills that are essential for the long-term health and success of their organizations.

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It's not uncommon for my clients to report back with statements like these:

  • After working with you, our managers are far more efficient—they have a common language and shared frameworks for solving problems.

  • Because they’re now looking for non-obvious root causes, our teams are saving time and money. They're far less likely to run off solving the wrong problems.

  • Our managers are ramping up into their new roles faster. They seem wiser and able to "punch above their weight."

Put simply, I help growing startups develop a positive culture of problem-solvers, who promote goodwill, and save time and money—often to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Register for my next foundational workshop, Leadership and the Middle Path.
– Starts 25 July 2024 –

Save time and money; promote goodwill; reduce waste and anxiety.


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Develop Managers Your People Will Follow

It’s doubtful that "people manager" has ever shown up on any child’s list of career goals. And yet everywhere we look: managers. So many, in so many different circumstances, that people can be forgiven for thinking there must not be much to it.

Find someone smart and ambitious, give them some experience, and then sit 'em in a manager’s chair.

Except you know better, which is one reason you’ve come to this site.

You know there’s a difference between naming a manager and developing a leader—a leader whom people will trust and follow. And if there’s one thing that all astute business owners learn through the trials of experience, it’s that no business can achieve their goals without a strong leadership team.


A team built on grounded and clear-minded leaders with a strong sense of purpose. A team that balances confidence and humility, flexibility and discipline, inquiry and advocacy. A team that integrates a focus on profit with a focus on mission—they play to win with honor.

Leaders with these characteristics are the most prepared and most likely to inspire, interpret, instruct, organize, and galvanize your employees to meet or exceed even your loftiest goals.

How do you develop these kinds of leaders?

Russ Powell Consulting’s entire reason for existence is to help your leaders master the skill set essential to their work: delegating, collaborating, relating, creating and keeping agreements, managing conflict, running meetings, holding performance conversations, coaching team members, understanding team dynamics.

All of those are vital to your success—and astonishingly difficult to accomplish.

I'm here to help.

Contact me today to learn more about how your managers—whether experienced or emerging—can become leaders your people will follow.

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Success Stories

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Peter Bui

Senior Software Engineer


"My team now has a shared language for solving problems, and tools for having more ‘data-rich’ conversations. I use Russ' Middle Path frameworks daily and recommend them highly."

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Ajara Safko

Senior Scientist

Ubiquitous Energy

"Leadership and the Middle Path helped me prepare for and hold more productive discussions. I not only having greater confidence to initiate these conversations, but I'm also better equipped to navigate them once started."


Zaki Shafi

Analytical Chemist

Merck Animal Health

“I found the workshop Leadership and the Middle Path valuable—both personally and professionally. It offers useful tools for solving problems and navigating common challenges. I highly recommend it."

Solutions to Fit Your Needs and Budget

I offer three services: one-to-one-coaching, leadership and team development workshops, and consulting on organizational development (OD) issues.

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Why Work with Me?

There are four characteristics of my work that set me apart from other leadership development consultants:

Problem-Solving Orientation

I put problem-solving first. Conventional wisdom in leadership development—reflected in popular book titles such as "Crucial Conversations" and "We Need to Talk"—puts communication at the forefront. While effective communication is important, leadership is not just about communicating better. It's ultimate goal is enabling the problem solving abilities of others. Of course, I help leaders learn to communicate better, but it's always, always, always in the service of solving problems.

Biological Systems Perspective

One of the most important lessons I've learned in my decades of real-world experience in team building and leadership development is that people are not machines. And our traditional management models that treat them as such (e.g., "We're gonna turn that team into a well-oiled machine") are not working. Books like "Brave New Work" (Dignan) and "Leadership and the New Science" (Wheatley) support the value of this perspective—thinking of teams as biological systems. I help leaders learn how to navigate and perform better when working with and in human systems—systems that are inherently messy, chaotic, and non-linear.

Simple but Not Easy

I teach simple, relevant, and practical frameworks for everyday problem-solving—frameworks that are easy to understand, but not always easy to put into practice. This is why my workshops and coaching emphasize hands-on practice and skill-building. When your people participate in my workshops, or work with me as a coach, they don't just gain intellectual understanding, they leave with skills—simple, useful, powerful, relevant skills. And because the models and frameworks I teach are relatively simple and yet widely applicable, participants leave ready put these new skills into action.

The Middle Path

Binary thinking—for example, "I must be a tough manager (and get things done) or a nice manager (and have people like me)” or “as a company, we must be either mission-centric (and serve our customers) or profit-centric (and serve our shareholders)”—can get us into trouble. It often leads to poor decisions, unproductive conflicts, and sometimes paralysis. My Middle Path leadership curriculum (designed by world-class leadership expert Chris Holmberg) helps participants recognize unproductive extremes, transcend binary thinking, and learn to integrate. Instead of leaning toward arrogance or deference, we integrate confidence and humility. Instead of being cutthroat or dogmatic, we integrate flexibility and discipline. Instead of making demands or offering hints, we learn to form agreements. This “middle way” or the practice of integral thinking is not new. Aristotle proposed, “virtue is the golden mean between two vices, one of excess and the other of deficiency.” Lao Tzu cautioned, “fill your bowl to the brim and it will spill; keep sharpening your knife and it will blunt.” My Middle Path curriculum helps leaders recognize and avoid extremes, and develop awareness and skills in integral thinking. My clients find that mastery of these skills—these ancient skills—consistently yields better, more productive, long-term results.


About Russ

After earning two degrees in the behavioral sciences, I spent over two decades building and honing skills and expertise in organizational development (OD), with a specific focus on instructional systems design (ISD).

I have developed, led, and advised award-winning teams in the fields of telecommunications, hospitality, high-tech, government/military, and start-ups.


Many of the organizations I've worked with you'll likely recognize: Google, Sun Microsystems (now part of Oracle), the United States Coast Guard, Medtronic, SAP, and Delta Airlines. Others, especially some of the smaller startups I've worked with, you may not know.

Today, I'm recognized internationally as a leader in human performance technology (HPT), and known for my passion for and expertise in developing leaders and building high-performing teams.

I hold several professional designations, including certifications from Hogan Assessment Systems, Middle Path Consulting, and Development Dimensions International (DDI). I'm also a certified facilitator of DiSC programs.

If you hire me to help with your leadership- and team-development inititives, you're in good hands.


Two Bonus Gifts

In New Orleans they call it lagniappe (lan-yap)—a little something extra. Just for visiting today, here are two bonus items. Please fill out the form below to receive these two gifts. 

Daily Reflections Exercise

One of the most common questions I get from new managers and other leaders is, "How do I get better at making changes in my life?"

My simple answer is practice—conscious practice.


And the next question is "Okay, well, how?"


And I invite them to start with this exercise. It’s a reflections tool that helps you consciously and deliberately review your day and plan for tomorrow. I suggest that regular use of it will help you make those changes you seek.​

Systems Thinking and the Juggling Girls of Berlin

This is a PDF of my most popular blog post.


In my leadership programs, one of the most important things I teach is how to think systemically.


This post helps break down the It-We-I model for helping you consider non-obvious root causes in almost any problem-solving situation.

And it's a fun read.

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Receive Your TWO FREE Gifts!


I Guarantee My Services

I am committed to providing high-quality and effective training programs and coaching services that help new and emerging managers reach their full potential. I am confident in the value of my programs, which is why I offer a satisfaction guarantee. If for any reason you're not satisfied with any of my programs or services, please let me know right away. I will work with you to address any concerns and find a solution that meets your needs. I just ask that you let me know within 90-days of the completion of the program or service.


Want more information?

Schedule a meeting with Russ to discuss your needs and RPC's services. 

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