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Leadership and the Middle Path

A Professional Development Workshop for Leaders

About the Workshop

Over 120 tech start-ups and other businesses (including Fortune 100 companies) in 15 countries around the world have trained their leaders in Leadership and the Middle Path. The workshop has proven so impactful that investors have required startup teams to complete it as a condition for funding.

Whether you’re a senior manager or just getting started in management, your fundamental challenges are the same: resolving problems and conflicts, managing your time and resources, forming and keeping agreements, and enabling your team to reach its full potential. And while mastering these critical skills may seem simple, it's not easy.

Leadership and the Middle Path is an intensive, interactive two-day workshop (four half-days when held virtually) designed to give you the knowledge and practical tools to become a better problem solver, as well as a better thinker, communicator, and decision maker. Through experiential, hands-on activities, you will learn and practice real-world skills that you can immediately apply in your workplace. While especially useful for those who are new to management, experienced managers will also discover new and more effective ways to lead.

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

–Peter Bui, Senior Software Engineer


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

–Ajara Safko, Senior Scientist

Ubiquitous Energy

'Simple but not easy' is a terrific summation of the principles of Middle Path leadership. Fortunately, what distinguishes Leadership and the Middle Path from other leadership programs are the opportunities to practice. If your team isn't functioning as a whole greater than the sum of its parts, go through this workshop. I highly recommend it."

–John Wickson, Chief Strategy and Planning Officer

Current Aviation

The Middle Path – Where Real-World Solutions Reside

Effective management isn’t about abstract theories—it’s about the big and small choices we make, and the actions we take every day to handle real-world challenges such as underperforming team members and conflicts within our teams.


Asking the right questions and making the best decisions in these difficult situations requires a flexible, clear-headed mindset that frees you from the seductive and often false limitations of binary thinking. For example, “I must choose: Am I going to be a tough manager and get things done, or a nice manager and have people like me?” or “As a company, are we going to focus on being profitable or on taking care of our customers? We can’t do both.” We set up traps for ourselves with questions like these. And the way out is integral thinking—the Middle Path.

One of the things that sets this training apart from most leadership programs is its focus on a small set of core principles:

Managers are more effective when they…

  • Are disciplined

  • Think systemically

  • Work with integrity

  • Are self-aware

  • Can solve problems collaboratively

  • Take a biological-systems perspective when dealing with teams

Powerful Skills You Can Put into Action Immediately

Here are some of the critical skills you will learn in Leadership and the Middle Path:

  • Recognize unproductive mindsets that hinder effective problem-solving, and develop new, more productive mindsets to replace them

  • Develop more trusting relationships

  • Identify problems in teams and organizations faster and more accurately (i.e., avoid wasting time and resources on solving the wrong problems)

  • Build habits that help you uncover and interpret data, find non-obvious root causes, and determine ideal outcomes

  • Define and articulate outcomes that focus not just on tangible business goals, but on the higher purpose that motivates you and your team or organization

  • Systematically generate multiple potential solutions

  • Secure commitments required to implement solutions, and hold people accountable

  • Use a four-step model for holding difficult conversations productively

  • Hold conversations for understanding and conversations for acting

  • Make complaints and offer apologies more productively

With these skills, you’ll be able to handle almost anything—solve people- and team-problems more effectively, run meetings more productively, reach stronger agreements, and handle conflicts more gracefully.


And over time—as you master these principles and frameworks—you'll find that when you choose to lead more people will follow you.

Program Details

This is a virtual workshop held via Zoom. It takes place over the course of four half-days.


[Note that with a minimum of nine participants, this workshop can also be held onsite, face-to-face, exclusively for your team or organization. When held onsite, this is a two-day program. Contact Russ for details.]

Our meeting dates/times will be as follows (all dates 2023):

Day 1 – Thursday, 19 October, 8:30am–1:00pm PT

Day 2 – Friday, 20 October, 8:30am–1:00pm PT

Day 3 – Thursday, 26 October, 8:30am–1:00pm PT

Day 4 – Friday, 27 October, 8:30am–1:00pm PT

Note: To help you gain greater mastery over the skills taught in the program, we strongly recommend a follow-up practice session with Russ and a few of your fellow workshop attendees. This practice session is included in the price of the program and typically takes place four to six weeks after the workshop. We’ll give you more details during the workshop.

Plan For an Immersive Learning Experience

If you’ve been disappointed by “content-dump” training programs that just feed you information without showing you what to do with it, Leadership and the Middle Path will be a game-changer. While we cover some theoretical ground, the focus is on learning by doing, with the goal of giving you enough practice opportunities during the workshop for you to start putting your new skills to work the moment you leave.

But as serious athletes and musicians can tell you, mastering any important skill requires a commitment of time and attention. Each of the four sessions in Leadership and the Middle Path builds on material covered in the preceding sessions, so we ask that you commit to attending and participating actively in all four half-day sessions to get the full value of the program. Successful graduates carefully guard their calendars during the workshop and take the time to review and practice their new skills between sessions.

Program Investment

The fee for the workshop is $1,250. A deposit of $500 is required to reserve a seat.

If cost is a concern for you, contact Russ. Discounts are available, but only for a limited time.

Planning Ahead?

If you can't make this one, come join us for one of our future workshops (all dates 2024):

Winter – January 18,19 and 25, 26

Spring - April 18, 19 and 25, 26

All times are 8:30a to 1:00p (Pacific)

Facilitated by Russ Powell

Russ Powell is a veteran Human Performance Technology (HPT) consultant who specializes in the development of leaders and teams. He has helped thousands of workers and hundreds of leaders in dozens of start-ups and multinational organizations build collaborative problem solving skills. He's worked in high-tech, bio-tech, food-tech, healthcare, solar, hospitality, telecommunications, and government/military. He's an avid musician, juggler, and flier of stunt kites. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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"I found Russ' Middle Path workshop valuable—both personally and professionally. His approach offers useful frameworks for not only getting unstuck, but also solving problems and navigating common pitfalls and challenges leaders face. If you're ready to take your leadership skills to the next level, I highly recommend it."

–Zaki Shafi, Analytical Chemist

Merck Animal Health

"Today’s position-based approach to conversations—'I’m right; you’re wrong'—greatly needs the skills taught and practiced in Leadership and the Middle Path. I love that the program calls out familiar but sometimes inscrutable traps we fall into in important conversations and problem solving. It unravels the complex mental processes needed for effective conversations, and includes enough practice and support to enable the leader to own the skills by the end of the program."

Mary Anne Rasmussen, President

Rasmussen Consulting

I want to attend!

How do I sign up?

For more information on our leadership curriculum, visit this page

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