Post-Acute Crisis Masterclass Series (Alumni/public sector leaders)

This masterclass series is an extension of ANZSOG’s Leading in a crisis series, which explored crisis management, leadership and communications in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, and put global expertise in the hands of public managers in Australia and New Zealand.

It is an opportunity for select groups of senior public sector leaders to reflect on and discuss world-leading crisis leadership research with academics expert in government and crisis response. Importantly, the masterclass series will connect and engage public sector leaders across both Australia and New Zealand.

This series involves three masterclasses led by crisis leadership expert, Professor Paul ‘t Hart, along with contributors to ANZSOG’s Leading in a crisis series. It offers participants:

  • leading research insights about the patterns, pitfalls and potential of learning from crises, presented by leading crisis management experts: Professor Eric Stern (State University of New York), Professor Arjen Boin (Leiden University, the Netherlands), Robbie Macpherson (Managing Director, Adaptable Leadership)
  • facilitation and reflections on learning in and from the COVID-19 crisis by Professor Paul 't Hart (Utrecht University), who has been studying, educating and advising crisis leaders in Europe and Australia for over 35 years
  • hands-on experiences and practical wisdom from public leaders and public sector reformers who have navigated and learned from major crises (to be announced).
  • and an opportunity to marry the theory of crisis leadership with the lived practice in the current crisis.


This series involves three masterclasses:

1. Learning well from crisis – how do we orchestrate this?

Thursday 25 June, 4-6 pm AEST

2. Post-crisis reform – recovery, transformation and opportunity

Thursday 2 July, 4-6 pm AEST

3. Adaptive leadership and how it is being reflected in the COVID-19 context

Thursday 9 July, 4-6 pm AEST

Register now

What will you learn?

Date: Thursday, 25 June, 4-6pm AEST

Learning well from crisis – how do we orchestrate this?

With Paul ‘t Hart, Eric Stern and guest presenters, Christine Nixon and Hon Dame Annette King

Major crises are not just big threats and big disruptors, they are also stress tests for the communities and institutions that are affected by them. How crises happen and how we respond to and recover from them can reveal important things about ourselves, our systems, policies and practices.

COVID-19 is a case in point, revealing much about levels of institutional preparedness, societal and organisational resilience, and governmental crisis response capacities. When we identify and process those insights carefully, we can learn to cope better with this pandemic and other types of future mega-crises.

The question is: how can we organise and protect the work of learning in the high-stakes and politically volatile post-crisis context?

Participants will enhance their understanding of:

  • the challenges of (self-)reflection and lesson-drawing during and following crisis episodes
  • critical factors conducing to and impeding the quality of crisis-induced learning exercises
  • avoidable errors and advisable practices in designing and managing crisis evaluations.

Date: Thursday 2 July, 4-6 pm AEST

Post-crisis reform – recovery, transformation and opportunity

With Paul ‘t Hart, Arjen Boin and guest presenter, Peter Shergold

Never waste a good crisis, or so the saying goes. Major crises are not just big threats, they also offer opportunities for change - especially for change that has been coveted for a long time but was never possible before.

Even as lockdowns were being put in place to counter COVID-19, talk about how this crisis could be used to forge breakthroughs in areas such as e-health, online education and aged care began almost immediately. Astute policy advocacy or naïve optimism? History certainly gives us examples of major reforms that were enacted in the wake of a crisis, but research suggests that many such attempts falter.

In this masterclass, we discuss the nature and limits of crises as ‘windows of opportunity’, and explore the success and failure of crisis exploitation strategies. We offer the outlines of an approach that will help leaders decide whether a crisis at hand can be leveraged to forge momentum for change or is best ridden out conservatively.

Participants will enhance their understanding of:

  • the political and policy impacts that crises might have
  • critical factors affecting the success or failure of crisis-induced reform efforts
  • strategies available to policy entrepreneurs during and following crises

Date: Thursday 9 July, 4-6 pm AEST

Adaptive leadership and how it is being reflected in the COVID-19 context

With Paul ‘t HartRobbie Macpherson and guest presenters, Jacqui Curtis and Dr David Gruen

In a few intense months our societies have been massively disrupted in multiple ways. It remains uncertain what this will mean for our future. COVID-19 has elicited a remarkable upsurge of innovation, experimentation and temporary adaptation across communities, businesses and governments.

There is considerable optimism about this leading to permanent transformation of our organisations and our lives. Despite what we like to think 'in the moment', all too often good intentions and commitments slowly dissipate as our systems edge back to a familiar equilibrium. If transformation and adaptation are to be 'locked in', they will have to be actively generated and earned through purposeful and energetic leadership activities. In this masterclass we will begin by diagnosing our challenge, undertake sense-making, look at the traps to avoid, and ask what leadership practice is now required to help our organisations successfully adapt to meet the social, human and economic challenges we face.

The urgency of this moment is considerable, as organisations struggle with the tension for the desire for a return to a familiar Normal and the need for the right injection of New thinking, practice and norms. 

Participants will have greater clarity of:

  • their current context and how to diagnose the key leadership challenge they face
  • the key strategies and actions to undertake
  • the core elements of the adaptation process

Who should register?

Senior executives from the government who are working directly in this area in response to COVID-19. Places for this masterclass series are limited and will be determined at ANZSOG’s discretion. Registered participants gain access to all three masterclasses in the series.


AUD $1800 ex GST for the series

Registrations close on Wednesday 17 June 2020.

Read our cancellation, transfer and refund policy.

How do you attend?

You will receive a confirmation email with the webinar URL upon completing registration. Please check your junk mail if the confirmation email doesn't arrive to your inbox.

Got a question?

Please contact: Sally Womersley, Senior Coordinator, 03 9035 3213 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Participants are encouraged to read the seven papers in ANZSOG’s Leading in a crisis series.

  1. Strategic crisis leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic - Key leadership challenges with recommendations for leaders seeking to navigate the current minefield. 
  2. Avoiding common pitfalls and build a high performing team - Four challenges to managing productivity and how to overcome them. 
  3. Organisational resilience in mega-crises - Three types of resilience leaders need to cultivate in the face of a mega-crisis like COVID-19. 
  4. Tackling crises together and the challenges of coordination - Exploring challenges related to managing and coordinating mechanisms in a time-critical environment and providing recommendations for effective coordination. 
  5. Committing to clear crisis communications - Defining clear crisis communications and exploring key lessons to help leaders avoid pitfalls  
  6. Learning from other in the COVID-19 crisis response - Recommendations and pitfalls for leaders when learning from other jurisdictions.
  7. Using adaptive leadership to shape the COVID-19 crisis response - Exploring how adaptive leadership can help leaders navigate towards a ‘new normal’.

Don't miss out — register now!


Venue information

  • Venue: Online