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Leadership Programs


The Leadership Development Framework


The LDF is an adult development framework for leadership and an approach to development. 

The Leadership Development Framework (LDF) is inspired originally by the research of Dr Jane Loevinger, Prof. Jean Piaget and others who discovered how a person’s meaning-making evolves with life experience. The LDF has become a primary conceptual map for understanding adult development and its key role in leadership.


Over the decades, the LDF has become a sophisticated developmental approach for short, medium and long-term time horizons. It helps leaders to deeper self-awareness as well as influencing the way they develop on an ongoing, everyday basis.

What is meaning-making? 


Meaning making is a core human faculty that influences almost everything you do.


Meaning-making is a fundamental human faculty. Everything you do, in every context you act into, is shaped by the meaning you are making in each moment. For this reason, if you can grow this core faculty it can be transformational for your work and wider life. Leading in complex roles and settings makes meaning-making more difficult, yet also more important. Thus, many leaders find the LDF approach has a lasting transformative impact.


Watch this three-minute video on the LDF and meaning-making

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The LDF Approach

In essence, the LDF is a way to understand development across the adult lifespan. 

An adult development framework 


At its simplest level, the LDF model presents nine distinct forms of meaning-making upon a continuous developmental spectrum (see image below).

Each form is called an ‘Action Logic’ and has specific opportunities and dilemmas.

Nine Action Logics in the LDF spectrum

The core principle is that, although we make meaning at various parts of the continuum, there are particular places on the spectrum where we would benefit the most from investing more attention, energy and well-informed developmental activity. This place may shift over time and across contexts, and is the optimal place to start if you want to develop. At Harthill, we call this place a person's 'Primary Action Logic'.



A ‘transformational’ approach to development 


The LDF approach supports transformational development in two ways. First, because meaning-making is a deep structure, it takes your work into a transformational area. Second, both its high-quality data and development practices support transformation.

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Further developing your meaning-making faculty 


Further developing your meaning-making is not easy. It is arguably one of the most complex things to try to do. This 4-minute video sets out three of the challenges.

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The LDF Approach can be used by individual leaders, workgroups and teams, either as part of wider organisational initiatives or as a one-off assignment. It is used in leadership development programmes, capability framework (re)design, cultural transformation work and strategy.  It is used in talent development, in-house coaching training and simply as a valued CPD activity.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the LDF a stage model? 

Many people find stage models simplistic and ‘box’-like.  So, is the LDF a stage model?


Our view on this commonly-asked and excellent question is: ‘yes and no’. Here’s why. 

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What is the difference between the LDP and other psychometric instruments?


There are very many personality tests and related psychometric instruments available in diverse areas such as communication, identity, conflict, shadow, emotion, etc.


What is different about LDP in relation to other well-known psychometric instruments? 

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"The framework has given me unique perspectives on the development of post-conventional leadership capability and helped me radically rethink development strategies."

Martin Woods, Consultant

'"The Leadership Development Framework is the most important knowledge I have come across in many years. It shifted my paradigm from “being better” to “being” and all that that makes possible in leadership, learning and life. It is a language of growth, development and opportunity. It is a map to a landscape of self-discovery that is bounded only by the energy and will to explore it. Harthill has been an excellent guide to me in this energizing and exciting new place. Long may I journey with them."

John Farrell, Explorer and Primary School Principal, Ireland

'"I’ve been fortunate to experience a number of truly transformational experiences over my lifetime – points where there’s been a clear sense of ‘life before’ and ‘life after’. The LDF authorisation training was most certainly this. I’ve a feeling that when I look back on my life this training will mark a significant transition point."

Mark McMordie, CEO, The Conscious Leader

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Nine Action Logics