This Page

has been moved to new address

Leadership Metaphor Explorer™

Sorry for inconvenience...

Redirection provided by Blogger to WordPress Migration Service
Leadership Metaphor Explorer™

Saturday, January 29, 2011

LME in the military

Leadership Metaphor Explorer in a military environment
A team from the Center for Creative Leadership recently used Leadership Metaphor Explorer as part of a design in working with senior military leaders. We hope to be able to share the full design and story in the future. In the meantime we just wanted to let you know it worked well in helping the group to clarify their current and future required states of leadership (below). It's not that the cards somehow measure or predict those states. Rather, the power of the tool is to help people have an open and honest conversation, with interesting images and metaphors "in the middle" to focus attention, and channel agreement and disagreement. Digital images of the cards then serve as reminders of the conversation and it's conclusions. Notice the shift in intent toward more interdependent, and independent leadership (blue and green titles respectively) and away from dependent leadership (red titles.)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The global reach of Leadership Metaphor Explorer™

monk chat in Thailand, see post 
thanks to Sarah Miller
From: Wright, Joel
Sent: 19 May 2010 11:45
Subject: Metaphor Explorer Question

Clemson and I were talking about the Metaphor Explorer and he asked if I had ever used it cross culturally and outside of the US. Upon reflection, the only time I had was when I was in Prague. Clemson was curious about how some of the cards are being received in less democratic locations. He mentioned some of the cards are very western/democratic and was curious: does anyone have some insight into this? Thanks!


From: Harrison III, Steadman
Sent: Wednesday, May 19, 2010 11:48 AM
To: Wright, Joel
Subject: RE: Metaphor Explorer Question


In the last month I've used the Leadership Metaphor Explorer deck in Sudan, Kenya, Uganda, and Ethiopia--quite a range of governance and culture and language. The UN-IFAD team here in Khartoum will be taking LME with them as we head to the field tomorrow... heading down South to Rufaa and over to Wad Arakay on the edge of the desert... the entire training will be in Arabic and the locals won't be able to read the English subtitles on the cards... should be a great test to see how they are received!

My sense is that the newest deck is more global... we've replaced a few of the cards and updated some of the other pictures.

Just a quick update... from Sudan.


Labels: ,

Monday, May 10, 2010

Metaphors support reframing and strategic thinking

Here's a way to use Leadership Metaphor Explorer for supporting strategic thinking during an online conference. Thanks to strategy and creativity mavens Kate Beatty and David M. Horth.

From: Beatty, Kate
Sent: Wednesday, April 07, 2010 12:31 PM
To: Palus, Chuck; Horth, David
Subject: LME images - electronic version

Hi Chuck and David,

I am doing some final work on my slides for the upcoming Jossey-Bass online conference. I am doing a workshop on strategic leadership, and would like to include several of the Leadership Metaphor Explorer cards in an exercise. At the beginning of the session, I will have them identify a strategic challenge they are working on. When we discuss strategic thinking, I want to give them the opportunity to reframe their challenge, and thought that showing several of the cards would be a good prompt for this.

Can you direct me to the electronic images of these cards?

Thanks for your help!


Hi Kate,
Here is the online source for one at a time downloading.
Chuck n Dave

Here’s an exercise that I will used when I have a large group e.g a presentation. I put out the LME cards one under each chair and start the session with the following question and exercise: (I’m doing a presentation on innovation leadership and culture on Saturday and using this exercise to kick off my short presentation.)
As you look at the metaphor card you have been assigned, in what ways does it describe leadership in your organization either:
  • In the past?
  • How it looks when we are at our worst?
  • How it looks now?
  • How it looks when we are at our most innovative?
  • How it needs to look like in the future?
  • How it needs to look like to resolve the major challenges we face?
Discuss with your neighbors

David Magellan Horth
Senior Designer
Center for Creative Leadership

Labels: ,

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Can culture be intentionally changed?

Here is a re-post from sampling John and Gary's great new book. For more on leadership culture see these articles, slides and video. Leadership Metaphor Explorer is keyed to stages of leadership culture and is often used in organizational leadership development. Here is a summary of their book, Transforming Your Leadership Culture.

Leaders, Logics and Transformation

In an extract from their book Transforming Your Leadership Culture, authors Gary Rhodes and John McGuire examine how leaders can change an organisation's culture.

There is a logic to any persisting culture. A culture’s collection of beliefs and norms fits together in a meaningful way. For example, one system of leadership logic, which we call Dependent - Conformer, centres on the idea that a leader gives an order for someone else to carry out. This type of culture excludes non-official leaders from participating in the leadership collective. It leaves them and their potential waiting indefinitely to emerge.


blog it

Labels: , ,

Friday, March 6, 2009

Video Intro to Leadership Metaphor Explorer™

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Publications on leadership culture, interdependence, and the direction, alignment, and commitment (DAC) framework

Here are links to some of our own and others' publications on leadership culture and its development. For more information contact Charles J. (Chuck) Palus at the Center for Creative Leadership.

Leadership culture is the self-reinforcing web of beliefs and activities that produce shared direction, alignment, and commitment in an organization or collective.

For Organizational Leadership services and programs from the Center for Creative Leadership, contact Bill Pasmore, SVP & Organizational Leadership Practice Leader,


Review copies only; do not repost or print in multiples without
Copyrights 2009 Center for Creative Leadership unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.

Labels: , ,

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The origins of Leadership Metaphor Explorer™

Bruce Flye is the talented artist and facilitator that helped us create LME. Here are his reflections of how it all got started.
I was there, but I’m still not completely sure what happened. Here’s what I recall. In early 2007 CCL invited me to graphically record their Crisis Leadership Forum, an event that is a story unto itself. On the second day I was approached by David Magellan Horth, one of the forum’s co-leaders, who asked if I might be interested in illustrating some metaphors they were working on. My initial reaction was one of alarm, and I barely contained my first thought: “I’m not a graphic artist and, furthermore, this is the first time I’ve ever done graphic recording!” Fortunately I went with my second thought and asked “Is this the style of illustration you have in mind?” as we looked at the work on wall before us. David said it was exactly what he had in mind, and from there we went to work.

David and Chuck Palus provided an initial spreadsheet of 35 metaphors that were to be followed by an additional 25 or so still in development. Many of these early phrases prompted immediate images: Courageous Lion Tamers, Death-Defying Tightrope Walkers, Enlightened Gurus. I began generating sketches and e-mailing them in “for review and comment” as we say in the construction business, but I soon found I was in an environment to which I was absolutely unaccustomed. There weren't many comments on the drawings, and instead they sent more metaphors. It took awhile to realize that I had stepped into a very open-minded culture that trusted emergent process. Over many months we did about 55 or so cards and my work was considered complete. Over all that time I had learned much about metaphors, and had also begun to find myself a style with a tablet PC. Back in my day job, when I was called in to address a very tricky relationship issue within our Health Sciences Division I found I could crank out my observations via metaphor pretty quickly. Then, when David sent a note and asked if I could do another 20 or so for LME, I found they could now flow out rather smoothly. Check that; the production could flow smoothly. Conception was another matter altogether! What were they thinking: Confluence of Agendas? Silicon Valley of Innovation? Network of Peers? Well, we did those, too, and not that differently from the first set in that it was highly virtual collaboration. There were occasional e-mails, and a phone call every now and then, but I didn’t appreciate what was going on until we noted at the end that we had completed this fairly involved product without ever meeting face to face.

A few of these have become remembrances of a special time in my life. One of the very few hints I was given about their intentions came from David for the Leaderless Orchestra: it’s about positive functioning. When he later saw the frogs on a pond he wryly commented “That’s some imagination you have there.” We actually talked in advance about possible content for Non-Violent Resistors, but while drawing it the violence was so palpable I sent it in asking them to look at it critically as I wasn’t sure they wanted everyone to have the sensations it gave me. And then the whole deck AND the experience of it coalesced into Ubuntu. Writing this now, it occurs to me that this work with David and Chuck has itself become a very powerful metaphor. But that’s another post.