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.

Everyone is from somewhere.

Everyone is here, now.

Everyone is going to somewhere (there).

All development follows a literal and metaphorical Life Journey. The “you” can be singular as well as plural. “You” can be read as first, second, or third person (and all levels of SOGI).  For example, “Where am I from”? What is our culture like now? What kind of culture do we want or need?

From Here to There with YALI Leaders

From Here to There with YALI Leaders

FHT is central  in the theories and practices of psychodynamics, character development,  life-span development, history, and biography. Thus Erik Erikson is a classic example of FHT. Case studies are examples of FHT. Coaching is often based in FHT. Cultural evolution is FHT though we often underplay cultural origins and social identity.

The specific language used for From, Here, To varies with context. For example, in coaching an individual, the future can be framed as “What are you becoming?”

The life journey is implied in most leadership development, yet is rarely made explicit in entirety.

Leadership is a process of deliberately going from here to there by creating DAC. DAC itself implies a timeline. A desired future is based on a past and a present.

The FHT Model is a model for change and transformation for individuals, groups, organizations, communities, and societies.

The FHT Model supports our recent emphasis on practical rubrics for the assessment of leadership culture.

Our goal with this model is to name what is implicit, and encourage the use of a long-term perspective which includes origins and identities. We intend this above all as a practical tool in the sprit of Leadership Essentials.

Leadership Explorer cards can be used to make amazing FHT collages which illustrate and inspire one’s life journey.





Let’s start with from.


Human development is a lifelong process that starts at the beginning of the life of the individual or the culture. CCL tends to treat these beginnings as helpful context, but not as essential. Where we are from is always essential to development. This is especially true in a global context in which we are all from different places. To ignore where we are from is an American bias.

At the individual level, From is about social identity. We use the CCL Social Identity Model of Given, Chosen, and Core identity. We use group relations theory to understand group membership and social boundaries (Boundary Spanning Leadership.)

fht2In Leadership Beyond Boundaries (LBB) programs, we often start by asking people, Where are you from? And, “Where are you really from?” In other words, the first response may be shallow. “I’m from Greensboro” does not say very much. Where you are really from is about your social identity.

We don’t know much about people unless we know where they are really from.

We can’t support leadership development unless we know where people are really from.

At the level of organizational (leadership) culture, From is about sources, origins, and founders.

CCL often asks about current culture and future desired culture needed to realize strategies. This is part of Discovery. But we don’t pay so much formal attention to the origins of the culture.

In our rubrics for the assessment of leadership culture, we would do well to emphasize these origins. Origins matter. Often these origins are permanent in their influence. Origins can be transcended but they can’t be ignored. For example the Gore Company will always be influenced by the legacy of Bill Gore.

You can’t move intentionally to a desired future unless you know where you are from.


CCL historically focuses mainly on Here. Psychometrics are about Here. Self-awareness is about now. Organizational surveys are usually about Here. Experiential exercises are about Here.

Be here now. Clients love this. Here is closely related to “inside out.”

And—we learn a lot about Here by also asking about From, and To.

Here has a kind of magnetism that draws us back to where we are when we try to change. For many the Here we know is better than a There we don’t know.

To There

To (or, To There) is about a desired future.

To is about “Where are you going?” “What is your vision?”

Leadership strategy is about how to create the direction, alignment, and commitment (DAC) that takes us From Here to There.


Find more Leadership Essentials for Change™ here.

About Charles J. Palus & David Magellan Horth

Charles J. Palus & David Magellan Horth are Senior Fellows at the Center for Creative Leadership. Many thanks to Steadman Harrison III, CEO of GO, and Senior Associate for the Center for Creative Leadership.
This entry was posted in Boundary Explorer™, Early Leadership Toolkit™, Emotions Explorer™, Experience Explorer™, Leadership Essentials™ for Change, Leadership Metaphor Explorer™, Transformations™, Values Explorer™, Visual Explorer™, Wisdom Explorer™. Bookmark the permalink.

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

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