Experience Explorer™

About Experience Explorer

experience-explorer-guide-setExperience Explorer™ equips a facilitator with a simple, energizing tool to help managers explore their most memorable workplace experiences and what they learned about leadership from those experiences.   This tool is based on proven research and offers the opportunity to accelerate leadership development – enhancing leaders’ ability to learn from experience at all levels. Experience Explorer™ is much more than a personal inventory of experiences and lessons. It emphasizes the specific types of experiences and dimensions of lessons identified by CCL research as common to leading in organizations. A coach or consultant facilitating Experience Explorer with multiple leaders or a classroom instructor facilitating an educational session will need to provide each leader or student with a personal card deck.

Purchase Experience Explorer.

Experience Explorer Guide 2016: Learning From Experience Webinar


Learning From Experience Webinar

Learning from Experience: Making Leadership Development Intentional

EE webinar

By: Meena S. Wilson, Ph.D. & Anand Chandrasekar

In this 60-minute thought-provoking, interactive and experiential session, we will use a popular and internationally-acclaimed tool – the Experience Explorer™ (EE) card deck — to demonstrate how experiences can be used – by you and your teams – to become more effective and successful as leaders.


Experience Explorer Introduction (VIDEO)

Our second most important asset at CCL Ethiopia

Leadership Explorer tools at our office in Ethiopia.

A heartwarming note below from Aaron White, one of the founders of our office in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Aaron calls the Leadership Explorer tools “our second most important asset at CCL Ethiopia.” (See the photo at the bottom for the first!) Thanks Aaron!

I spent the day at CCL Ethiopia’s new office here in Addis Ababa. As I explored our new digs I found three new storage cabinets packed with Explorer tools. Some had square corners, some rounded, but all had been in the hands of dozens, if not hundreds of people.

These Explorer tools get used in every single program here. If we didn’t have these – and our Leadership Essentials – we really couldn’t have been successful here.

Thanks to all of you that brought these in your suitcases, stole them from supply closets, and helped create them!

Aaron White
24 November 2017

Our most important assets are our participants and our faculty! More on the Leadership and Debate Club Program here.

Leadership and Debate Club participants and some CCL Addis Faculty. Photo by Rahel Asefa.

Leading From Within

Thanks to my CCL colleague Bert DeCoutere (IP and Innovation Lead at Center for Creative Leadership) for this description of his new experiential design for Leading From Within.

We worked with the central question: How can I continuously evolve into the leader the future needs me to be?

Leading From Within

The flow of the experience is to use what we have inside us to transform into what the future needs us to be.

We used Visual Explorer to discuss “me as a leader now” and “me as a leader in the future.” We explored four roots of our leadership: personality (Work Place Big 5), experience (Experience Explorer), values (Values Explorer) and identity (social identity mapping). Then we concluded the poster with our transformation journey ‘”from here to there” – using cards from the Transformations deck.

The From Here to There (FHT) Model of Human Development

The From Here to There (FHT) Model frames development as a long-term journey:

FHT model

From Here to There Model applied to a life journey

Starting with:

“Where are you from?”
Origins, identities, communities


“Where are you now (here)?”
Present state, presencing, observation, reflection, assessment


“Where are you going (to there)?”
Toward a desired future state, aspirations, visions, strategies, goals, dreams, and possibilities.


From Here to There: The Young African Leader Initiative (YALI)

Sam Ray has just returned from Kenya where he, Kathy Vaughan and Sam Kasera facilitated a final round of  Leadership and Self-Awareness workshops for USAID’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI).

From Here to There with YALI Leaders

From Here to There with YALI Leaders

Approximately 400 leaders from East and Central Africa have now been through this Center for Creative Leadership workshop (Addis Ababa office) in Nairobi.

The two-day workshop was built around the CCL F-H-T Framework. Every module mapped to a part of their life journey:
a) Where I have come from (FROM)
b) Where I find myself now (HERE)
c) Where my team and I are going (THERE)
d) How I got here (FROM to HERE)
e) How my team and I will get there (HERE to THERE).

Participants mapped their learning on the walls in real time, resulting in 400 unique ‘selfies’ of these young peoples’ leadership journeys. The YALI program has offered rigorous, large-scale testing of the From-Here-To There framework and never fails to generate perspective and insight for users.

Experience Explorer in Singapore with Emerging Leaders

Here is a report from the field about using Experience Explorer in a program for youth leaders.

quoteHi Meena,

I’d like to share my first ever experience in using the Experience Explorer cards last Friday in a ‘live’ class. On the whole, it went well and was well-received by the participants.

LE distribution Co. R 13 July 2013

Program: 3-day leadership program

Participants: Young or emerging leaders, mainly team leaders and newly promoted leaders who were individual contributors before. Total of 18 participants, mainly from Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia

I used the EE cards on the last day of the program with the intention of providing the participants to reflect on their earlier experiences and apply these with the key learning that was gained from the 3-day program.

Some comments by the participants:

“I saw my life and career pass before my eyes.”

“The cards allowed me to reflect on my past experiences and I realized that I had many good ones.”

“I realized that there are some other experiences I have yet to encounter.”

I drew a framework for the experiences on a flip chart paper and invited the participants to place a sticky dot on their experience segment. This provided a good summary of the distribution of experiences of the class. See attachment.

Most of the participants were able to have a conversation lasting about 10 to 15 minutes each in the paired sharing of experience session.

My ending was to suggest to the participants to look at their memorable experience and replicate it, and to also look at the experiences they have yet to have and make plans to experience one or two of these new ones.


Peng Soon






Learning from Workplace Experiences as the Portal to Successful Leadership

These cards are great. It is like a mini career planner for understanding which experiences I’ve had–and which ones I haven’t.”

Anand Chandrasekar from the Center for Creative Leadership delivered an interactive workshop to 90 managers across four countries: Singapore, Malaysia, Australia and India. This presentation was to CGG Veritas, a geophysical services company, with the theme of Learning from Workplace Experiences as the Portal to Successful Leadership.

Each manager received an Experience Explorer™ card deck for inventorying past experiences and leadership lessons learned. The cards supported in-the-moment data collection and feedback to participants about the distribution of experiences and lessons in their organization.

Several levels of managers gained insights about how to build a personal portfolio of diverse experiences, and learn important lessons for becoming effective senior leaders. The session was well-received with participants commenting: “I thought I was the only person who had taken up an expanded role without promotion. Now I see that almost everyone in the room had.” … “These cards are great. It is like a mini career planner for understanding which experiences I’ve had–and which ones I haven’t.” 

Contact Meena Wilson Ph.D. about Learning from Experience resources at the Center for Creative Leadership, wilsonm@ccl.org.

A video taste of Experience Explorer™ in action

Here is a taste of Experience Explorer in action. Feel the excitement and warmth as participants explore the leadership lessons learned from one very memorable experience which they identify and share with each other.  …

A scene from the video …

Experience Explorer™ at ASTD 2011: An Introduction

David Magellan Horth conducted the first Experience Explorer™ session outside of India during the ASTD 2011 Conference. The crowd loved it! Thanks to all our fine CCL colleagues who made this happen! (Experience Explorer was formerly named LiFE Explorer.)

Here’s the summary: