Leadership Development as a Lever for Social Change

By Valerie A. Futch Ehrlich
Center for Creative Leadership



Founded with the mission to “advance the understanding, practice, and development of leadership for the benefit of society worldwide,” the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) has served both the social and commercial sectors for over 50 years. Many of our programs across corporate, government, philanthropic, and social (e.g., NGOS, nonprofits, K-12 institutions, higher education institutions, and population health organizations) sectors have the goal of improving outcomes for individual leaders and groups, and extending those outcomes to create impact at the organizational, community, or societal level. Our clients often aspire for large and transformational impact. They are interested in telling stories of impact – both immediate and sustained – that trace the power of their investment and its ability to result in improved outcomes for individuals, organizations, and communities. However, it’s often difficult or impossible to represent such impact without intentional planning and measurement. Using the idea of levers as a metaphor, we present a pathway for how leadership development across contexts can lead to larger scale impact, with examples from some of our current efforts to demonstrate this impact. We also provide a typology of stories that can be useful for communicating complex impact pathways. The typology provides metaphors for understanding the variety of layers of impact that contribute to societal change. Our work in support of this framework is continuously evolving as we are learning, improving our measures, and identifying opportunities for increased evaluation efforts.


Ehrlich, V. A. (2022). Leadership Development as a Lever for Social Change. Center for Creative Leadership. https://doi.org/10.35613/ccl.2022.2050

Full text PDF

Leave a Comment