The Lead Differently Framework


Why should it be such a struggle to align your vision - that idea that once inspired and energized you - with the day-to-day realities in front of you? Why does "what is" have such power to overshadow "what is possible"? How do you quiet that internal (and incessant) self-talk that too oftencuts you off at the knees?

These are the questions that have emerged again and again during our four decade, in-the-trenches exploration of strengths and resilience.  The keys to success were always the same: mindset, self-perception, awareness of and alignment with strengths, and the ability (and desire) to assume 100% responsibility for what you create.

As we’ve listened and noticed and learned, four questions have emerged that form the
Lead Differently Framework.

  1. Is the “you” who can achieve this vision showing up?

    It depends on how you see yourself in any given moment, doesn't it? We are all incredibly paradoxical beings, so this question is not about whether you are the right person to achieve your vision, for you would not have the vision unless you were. The question is, do you know how to fully engage that “artist” part of you - expansive, creative, problem-solving - on purpose and at will?

  2. Do you see "what is" as a barrier or a path to "what is possible"?

    Good question, right? We tend to think about “what is” as a fixed set of circumstances. Yet, once again, experience tells us that “what comes next” (the ideas, the conversations, the energy) very much depends on how we are seeing and interpreting “what is.” Where we consistently focus in the present moment changes everything about what comes next! The question is, do you know how to do this - on purpose and at will?

  3. What do you imagine and expect?

    More specifically, what do you imagine and expect with vividness and clarity? What do you talk about, think about and take action about each day? Can you articulate that wonderful vision in your mind’s eye in a way that gives others goosebumps? When you can - and you do, the people and resources and circumstances you need to realize that vision seem to line up, asking, “Can I play, too?” (They were there all along; you were just looking the other direction!)

  4. What does this thing you imagine look like today, right now, in this moment?

    This simple step is sometimes the hardest. We want to reach from where we are to where we want to be in one giant leap. We want to call committee meetings and develop grand plans. We believe we can get started “as soon as” we have the money/people/skills… whatever! Yet, while others are making grand plans, you could be asking this simple question: What does this thing I imagine look like today, right now, in its smallest form? No waiting required. Before long, momentum has its was and, when you least expect it, you look up and think, “I’ll be a son-of-a-gun, we’re here,” living what was once just a vision.

With these questions lighting the path, we will help you align the internal with the external, the visionary with the day-to-day, and the personal with the professional.

That’s what you intended, isn’t it?

To live and lead differently - with vision , passion and excellence.

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Meet Chris

You care about how you lead - and how you live. They are one-in-the-same. A creator and leader of dozens of organizations, programs and initiatives over the years, I’ve been in that place of self-doubt, wondering whether intention, however passionate, could ever become reality. It did, over and over - and it can for you.

So, who am I? I’m a lover of great jazz and transformative ideas, both of which are mirrored in my passion for seeing hidden strengths, asking the unexpected question, and engaging in that delicious improvisation that leads to inspired, "gut level" change.

As a speaker, writer and advisor, I have inspired diverse audiences from South Central Los Angeles to rural Canada, and readers from New Zealand to South Africa. Along the way, I’ve been privileged to create model programs for high-risk youth; travel coast-to-coast sharing the message of resilience; coach individuals, organizations and businesses through transformative change; and author more than 400 essays, two books, several online courses, and a 10-hour audio series on the art of loving life.

The insights and strategies I share with you were learned from you, through decades of in-the-trenches, hands-on work helping people and organizations tap their unique and often unrecognized brilliance, shift theirs mindset, and align with what they once only imagined.

I continue to do the work I love - with a family that I love - from the beautiful southern coast of Maine.


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A note from chris

As you search for answers, you will find endless programs, processes and systems designed to help you shift your thinking, transform your life and work, and, presumably, get extraordinary results. As appealing as these answers-in-a-box can be, you know it doesn’t really work that way. Change process does not fit into neat little boxes (well, maybe on a website, but not in life).

Change is a nuanced dance, each step informed by the one before it. And quite frankly, that is the fun and the magic of it all – listening, adjusting, creating and watching in wonder as answers arise from the most unlikely places.

If you have a unique situation, a different need, a different idea, no matter how unorthodox or “un-boxed,” Call. Ask. Start the conversation.

Perhaps we’ll create something new together.