Deputies Leadership Program

Applications for the 2019 Deputies Leadership Program have now closed. To register your interest for 2020, please fill out an expression of interest form.

Public leaders are operating in an environment becoming increasingly characterised by volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity (VUCA). The VUCA world offers challenges, but at the same time 21st century operating environments provide unlimited opportunities for technology-supported and citizen-centric public service delivery.

Deputy Secretaries have to be able to combine various roles and capabilities in order to be effective. They are answerable to various stakeholders, including those within hierarchical structures of their organisation, parent and sister agencies, political parties and politicians, private companies, citizens and civil society groups as well as international stakeholders.

Deputies are often caught in policy dilemmas as they are tasked to effectively carry out policy promises in these challenging contexts. However, there is also an opportunity to leverage the strengths, expertise, and added value offered by these stakeholders within and across sectors.

ANZSOG’s Deputies Leadership Program will focus on the contemporary and specific leadership role of Deputies and how it translates into expectations and capabilities.

The program will explore the unique characteristics and challenges of Deputies in our current era through three key pillars:

  • Authentic and Adaptive Leadership;
  • Strategic foresight; and
  • Collaborative practice in the implementation and delivery of policies and services.

The program encourages participants to think differently about the complex challenges they face by exploring new ways to create and enhance public value through the lens of leadership, strategic foresight and collaborative practice.

Participants will be asked to bring a real-world leadership, policy or program challenge they are facing in government which they will explore throughout the five-month program. At the end of the third module, participants will have a clearer view for progressing their real-world challenge, having examined it from multiple vantage points and worked with peers and program contributors through personal reflection, on the ground case analysis, and leadership development.

This program contains three modules. Participants must attend all modules.

Cost: $AUD14,900 + GST

  pdf DLP Flyer (pdf) (475 KB) document DLP Flyer (word) (450 KB)

Who is it for?

Deputy Secretaries (or equivalent)

The 2019/20 Deputies Leadership Program (DLP) will bring together Deputy Secretaries (or equivalent) from our 10 owner governments to explore the unique features of the Deputy role, or rather the combination of roles and capabilities, and how to be successful in doing so.

How do I apply?

Please note, places are limited and there are jurisdictional caps on applicant numbers. Interested applicants are encouraged to click the button below and fill in their details as soon as possible. An ANZSOG delegate will be in touch upon application completion.

For more information, contact Caroline Stapleton on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 03 8344 3751.

Register your Interest for 2020 intake


The program takes place across three modules in three different locations, including an action-learning real-life policy experience in Wellington, New Zealand, with the recently established Wellbeing Budget as central case study. The modules are a few months apart to create space for reflection and implementation of learning objectives, and opportunities for the development of a strong inter jurisdictional network.

  • Module one: Authentic and adaptive leadership, Melbourne, 20-21 November, 2019 (two days)
  • Module two: Strategic foresight in policy formulation and implementation, Wellington, 3-5 February, 2020 (three days)
  • Module three: Collaborative practice in implementation and delivery, Canberra, 31 March-1 April, 2020 (two days)

This forward-looking, innovative executive program will provide participants with tools, cases, examples and best practices of thinking about public leadership in the 21st century.

Case studies and class discussions throughout the course will ensure continuous linkage between research evidence and recent scholarly insights and the tough everyday life work of leaders aspiring to create public value. Most importantly, the rich experiences and real-life examples of both successes and failures from participants will ensure general examples and evidence will feed back into their own professional world, and vice versa.

The program includes:

  1. Cutting edge, interactive lectures and seminars from leading global academics as well as (former) senior practitioners from Australia, New Zealand, and beyond that set the stage for practical application and reflection activities
  2. Interactive class discussions facilitated by the instructors and program leaders
  3. Small group breakout sessions and case-based problem-solving activities
  4. Panel discussions and fire chat sessions with experts from academia and practice, including New Zealand counterparts during the site visit in module two.

To maximise learning outcomes for participants, the program requires substantive (pre)reading and preparation, and reflection during and between the three key modules: various readings and cases will be provided in advance.


Upon completion of this program, participants should be:

  • Effectively prepared for ‘known’ and ‘unknown’ 21st century public leadership challenges;
  • More confident in displaying authenticity, adaptiveness, and ethical awareness in their leadership conduct;
  • Learn to understand your authentic leadership story, how to lead effectively and how to find leadership purpose;
  • Skilled in assessing the risks as well as value-adds of cross-sectoral collaboration;
  • Better prepared for leading employees and team members and their department and agency into the years to come; and translate capability gaps into institutional and HRM needs, using basic foresight methodology and scenario planning.

Program leaders

The Deputies Leadership Program will be led by two distinguished professors who both bring a unique and complementary blend of backgrounds, experiences, and expertise to the overarching theme of public leadership in a dynamic and complex environment:

Professor Gill Callister: Associate Dean at ANZSOG, former Secretary of the Victorian Department of Education and Training, former Secretary of the Victorian Department of Human Services, and past President of the Institute of Public Administration Australia (IPAA) Victoria

“The role of Deputy has never been more complex. The unique challenges they face often put them at the coalface of where politics and policy collide. An effective Deputy requires the distinct ability to act with purpose for the public good while adapting to the rapidly evolving real world problems facing the modern public sector.” - Professor Gill Callister

Professor Zeger van der Wal: a globally recognized scholar and consultant in public management and leadership, affiliated with ANZSOG, the National University Singapore, and Tsinghua University.

“Participants will be challenged to think about public leadership challenges from many different, sometimes rivalry, perspectives. Participants will be asked on the spot for their opinions and reasons for their arguments. Thus, after the three modules, participants will have further improved the skills to critically think, make logical arguments, and provide innovative yet feasible solutions to wicked policy problems. The program does not aim to provide off-the-shelf solutions to problems; it aims to produce public leaders that can ‘think’ and make good decisions on their own.” – Zeger van der Wal

Guest contributors

The program will provide opportunities to hear from global subject matter experts as well as senior officials across Australian and the New Zealand governments.

Dana Born: Faculty Co-Director for Center for Public Leadership, Faculty Chair for Senior Executive Fellows Program, and Lecturer in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School (HKS), as well as a retired Brigadier General with 30 years of service in the United States Air Force. She has taken on numerous leadership roles outside HKS including Governing Trustee on the United States Air Force Academy’s Falcon Foundation, serving on the Strategy, Governance and Scholarship Committees; President of the Massachusetts Women’s Forum; member of the International Women’s Forum, Women Corporate Directors, and Council on Foreign Relations, and; Council Member on Boston Mayor’s Pay Equity Workforce.

More information on guest contributors will be updated prior to the program commencing.

To apply, fill in your details at the button below. An ANZSOG delegate will be in touch.

For more information, contact Caroline Stapleton on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 03 8344 3751.

Register your Interest for 2020 intake

Express your interest

Express your interest

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