Leadership Essentials™ for Change

About Leadership Essentials for Change

Leadership Essentials for Change

Leadership Essentials for Change

Imagine a situation which demands leadership to resolve a challenge. Leadership Essentials for Change™ can help immediately. And it fits in your bag or pocket!

Leadership Essentials for Change is a compact starting place for developing leadership.

A Leadership Essential™ is a key idea about leadership, learning, and life that is distilled to its essence. Leadership Essentials for Change is designed for individual, groups, organizations and communities seeking learning, development, change, growth, and transformation.

LE for Change (beta) is an expanding library, constantly in revision and customized to any audience and situation.

Purchase LE for Change (beta version) here.

Quick Guide to the Leadership Essentials for Change Toolkit™ here.

The Bibliography and Suggested Readings for Leadership Essentials for Change are here.


Leadership Essentials Introduction (VIDEO)

Webex session links and slides are below:
Streaming recording link
Download recording link

From Here To There (FHT): A Leadership Essential

More on the FHT Model here

Social Identity: A Leadership Essential

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.

Vertical Development: CCL Shanghai 2017 Leadership Forum (VIDEO)

This is my keynote on Vertical Leadership Development, at the
2017 Leadership Forum presented by
The Center for Creative Leadership, Greater China

Video, slides, and a bibliography follow.


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.

Transformations at CARE Ethiopia

This story comes to us by way of Kuku Mesfin, CCL Deputy Regional Director, East Africa. Notice the use of the Transformations cards in Life Journey collage format (which we call “From Here to There.” Thanks Kuku, Rahel, and Rakeb!

Change Preferences: A Leadership Essential

SBI Feedback: A Leadership Essential

Transformations in Singapore


Kaushik Gopal and Anand Chandreseker

Our Coaching Community of Practice in Singapore was celebrating their one year
anniversary one evening recently and wanted something both fun and serious to engage 20+ of their members and their families. They used the Transformation tool to reflect on their individual life journeys. We discussed the basis of this tool in Bill Torbert’s work on The Seven Transformations of Leadership (this review was engaging but not critical to the experiences that followed).

The cards were all laid out on a table. The instructions were to:   (more…)

Vertical leadership development for a complex world

Horizontal development is about adding more knowledge, skills, and competencies. It’s about what you think.transformations

Vertical development is about the ability to think and act in more complex ways. It’s about how you think. It’s about maturity, and  growing “up” and increasing one’s “depth.” (more…)

The SOGI Model for levels of leadership impact

The SOGI model for levels of leadership impact

The SOGI model for multi-level leadership


Mediated Dialogue in Action Research

Here is an extended excerpt from our chapter: Mediated dialogue in action research, in The SAGE Handbook of Action Research, 3rd Edition, edited by Hilary Bradbury. To see the full chapter and lots of other wonderful chapters, get the Handbook!

The SAGE Handbook of Action Research, 3rd Ed., Hilary Bradbury, Editor

The SAGE Handbook of Action Research, 3rd Ed.,
Hilary Bradbury, Editor

Palus, C. J., & McGuire, J.B. (2015). Mediated dialogue in action research. In H. Bradbury (Ed.) The SAGE handbook of action research, 3rd Edition. Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE Publications. 691-699. Click here for the complete Handbook.

Here is our “how-to” white paper connecting this chapter to change leadership.

Mediated dialogue is an approach to reflective, insightful conversation that is useful for action research and related endeavors, including inquiry as a part of leadership development. With mediated dialogue, various media (typically visual images, such as those in Visual Explorer™) are used as sources of metaphor and as places to project thoughts and emotions related to one or more focal questions. (more…)

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.


Leadership Culture: A Leadership Essential

Boundary Spanning: A Leadership Essential




Boundary Spanning: A Leadership Essential

Ernst, C., & Chrobot-Mason, D. (2010). Boundary spanning leadership: Six practices for solving problems, driving innovation, and transforming organizations. McGraw Hill Professional. Read the first chapter here.

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.

The DAC Framework: Creating shared direction, alignment, and commitment

quoteHow would you know if leadership is happening in a team, in a workgroup, on a task force, or across the organization? Look for three important outcomes: direction, alignment and commitment (DAC).

Making Leadership Happen, Cindy McCauley



Dialogue by putting something in the middle

Dialogue is a reflective conversation engaging the multiple perspectives of a number of people to explore assumptions and create new meaning. Create dialogue by putting objects in the middle of amediated conversation. Meaning becomes projected onto the object. Images work very well. You can use photos, art, stories, Visual Explorer and other Explorer tools, mementos, videos, graphics, and so on.

When people get good at this, they don’t need a physical object—they can put a topic (a challenge, a problem, an idea) in the middle.

As the Star Model graphic illustrates, multiple layers of the topic are explored from many angles (multiple perspectives).

Try This (more…)

Adult development (vertical) theory

The post below is adapted from McCauley, C. D., Drath, W. H., Palus, C. J., O’Connor, P. M. G., & Baker, B. A. (2006). The use of constructive-developmental theory to advance the understanding of leadership. Leadership Quarterly, 17, 634–653.


Constructive-developmental [also referred to as vertical development] theory is a stage theory of adult development that focuses on the growth and elaboration of a person’s ways of understanding the self and the world. (more…)

About Emotions Explorer

emotionsEmotions Explorer™ is a tool designed to surface and explore emotions and feelings. Emotions are a factor in leadership effectiveness — in individual motivation, team performance, conflict and collaboration. Becoming more emotionally intelligent is to be more aware of emotions and better manage our responses. Emotions Explorer is in beta testing and we would like your feedback. Contact us at info@ccl.org. Theory and research aspects are posted here.

Purchase Emotions Explorer here.

How to Use Emotions Explorer™

The cards help us identify and express emotions. You can use the cards in a number of ways:

  • Surface what people are feeling at various points in a process.
  • In coaching to identify emotions that are present when someone is at their best (or worst).
  • A reflective tool to become more mindful of our emotional states.
  • In conflict situations to uncover other’s needs (and express our own).
  • As a resource to find the right nuance to express our feelings while proving feedback.


Photo record: Building Ethiopian / German relations in the work place

Thanks to Erik Burtchen at GIZ who helped our CCL Ethiopia staff produce a photo record of their recent program–excerpts below. These are wonderful illustrations of how we use Visual Explorer at help talk about leadership as DAC, and Leadership Metaphor Explorer to talk about leadership culture (more on these concepts here.) (more…)

About Boundary Explorer

Boundary Explorer™ is a tool for understanding and exploring interdependent leadership by leading across boundaries. It promotes understanding of five boundary types, plus three strategies, six practices, and dozens of tactics for enabling leadership across boundaries.

What is Boundary Spanning Leadership? Click here.

Boundary Explorer is a companion tool to the book Boundary Spanning Leadership (2010) by Chris Ernst and Donna Chrobot-Mason. This is a CCL Labs beta version. More info on Boundary Spanning Leadership from Chris Ernst at www.chrisernst.org.

Purchase Boundary Explorer

When to use Boundary Explorer : BE is used in three ways: as a teaching aid, as a personal take-home tool for reviewing and applying the model, and as a reflection and planning tool for groups actively applying boundary spanning practices. Teachers and facilitators should first become familiar with the basic model, using the book, in order to use the tool most effectively.