Towards Strategic Leadership

ANZSOG programs are designed by government, for government, and this two-week residential course will help public sector managers to reflect on and develop their leadership style as they transition into senior leadership roles.

Our non-traditional learning approach includes extensive individual and group-based reflection, real-world case studies, experiential learning and access to exceptional leaders.

The program consists of two residential modules of five days each, in May and October.

  • Sydney: 29 May – 02 June 2017 
  • Melbourne: 30 October – 3 November 2017

Hear from our program Co-director Professor Paul 't Hart about the Towards Strategic Leadership program and how it can benefit you.

Find out more about how we can help you to advance your public sector career.

 Photo of Chris Eccles

Our TSL graduates develop a well rounded and balanced approach to tackling some of the more complex and challenging policy problems facing Victoria. Having a program that equips our new leaders to these situations has proved invaluable to public administration in Victoria and, I know, other jurisdictions.

Chris Eccles
Department of Premier and Cabinet, Victoria

Why choose TSL?

Creating world-class leaders

ANZSOG knows what it takes to create world-class public sector leaders capable of managing the complex needs of today’s public service to deliver maximum value to citizens.

We know the public sector benefits when its leaders can adapt their thinking and approach to challenging, and seemingly intractable, issues. This in turn leads to better outcomes for stakeholders and citizens.

Effective leaders have a defined sense of purpose, a strong sense of self and the ability to manage urgent and important tasks.

Our TSL program helps public sector managers to better understand their personal leadership style, their role in an organisation, and the wider system.

Learn from the best

Co-directed by Paul ‘t Hart, Professor of Public Administration at Utrecht University and Associate Dean of the Netherlands School of Public Administration, and Robbie Macpherson, from Reos Partners, our program combines the latest leadership and management theory with real-world experiences.

We support you to develop reflective habits, which will enhance your effectiveness, agility and resilience. We provide an opportunity and the space for strategic thinking and help you to realise your strengths so you can meet the many challenges you face. The TSL environment encourages experimentation with new techniques and ways of exercising leadership.

Working with your peers, you will explore possible responses that combine strong theoretical foundations with lessons from real-world experiences, and consider innovative and adaptive approaches to seek solutions where existing methods haven’t worked.

You will discover how you can influence a situation, even when you are not ‘in charge’, to become more adaptive, innovative and resilient, with the skills and the confidence to try new approaches and learn from your experience.

A community of leaders

The benefits of our program extend well beyond the classroom through the national and international networks, to which you gain access by completing the course.

As well as expanding your network, your fellow alumni can offer advice and support across portfolios and jurisdictions, benefiting both governments and citizens. Our Alumni Program helps our graduates to build these peer-to-peer relationships.

Photo of Alen Slijepcevic

After 10 years in middle and senior management roles, I wanted to improve my knowledge of strategic leadership. I believe my performance as a leader has improved, which in turn has generated better results in the area I am responsible for.

Alen Slijepcevic
Deputy Chief Officer, Fire and Emergency Management
Country Fire Authority

What will I learn?

ANZSOG’s TSL program emphasises the need for leaders to step back from operational tasks and consider a more strategic approach.

Our highly interactive TSL program supports you as you develop your strategic leadership capacity.

By examining the interconnected aspects of ‘self’, ‘role’ and ‘system’, you will discover how self-awareness, organisational culture and stakeholder demands impact on your role as a public sector leader.

We offer insights into how you can apply these factors to your workplace, providing a safe place to explore and test new and alternative approaches to leadership challenges.

We support you as you develop adaptive responses and consider the impacts these responses may have.

At the end of the program, you will have:

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Explored your background and the influences that shaped your appetite and potential for strategic leadership roles.
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Developed critical and reflective skills to clarify personal values and support your own and others' development as leaders.
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Gained insight into the systemic dynamics, which underpin strategic leadership, becoming more resilient and adaptive in the face of pressure and conflict.
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Understood and critically evaluated theories and concepts of leading change and innovation in public sector settings, to build your capacity to tackle ‘wicked’ problems.

View the TSL brochure (PDF)


 Richard Cowling

The program has improved my critical thinking and analytical ability. The focus on strategic leadership in the public sector will provide a knowledge-based framework to develop leadership skills into a broader whole-of-government and community-based context, where power increasingly has to be shared, and where old ideas and management structures are contested.

Richard Cowling APM
Assistant Commissioner – Specialist Support
Department of Police, Fire and Emergency Management, Tasmania

What does it involve?

The program consists of two residential modules of five days each, in May and October.

  • Sydney: 29 May – 02 June 2017 
  • Melbourne: 30 October – 3 November 2017

The first module explores the triangle (self, role and system) within which strategic leadership takes place. You will examine – and then challenge – your assumptions about yourself, your organisation and the wider public sector.

The second module will encourage you to engage with change and increase the adaptive capacity of systems. In particular, the Live Case Study will move you from the abstract into the real world. You will tackle a real issue, experiencing the passion, purpose, innovation, confusion and avoidance that comes with managing a complex adaptive challenge.

Live Case Study: Victoria’s family violence response system
In 2015, TSL participants worked with family violence experts and stakeholders. Their mission was to better understand the issue and to challenge their thoughts and perceptions about developing a public sector response that puts family at the centre.

Participants as contributors

Your contribution to the program – and that of your peers – is integral to its success. Our TSL program harnesses the knowledge and experience of participants who, as professional peers, share a common language and a commitment to public service.

We encourage you to share your experiences within the context of themes and frameworks, creating a collaborative learning environment that allows you to draw on the expertise in the room.

You should expect to be an active contributor and to be asked to share your insights.

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I found the case study to be a useful way to put strategies into practice and work more closely with colleagues. I particularly benefited from the opportunity to enhance my change management capabilities, and to focus on my personal resilience.

Jan Hyde
Deputy Commissioner (Acting)
Department of Veterans' Affairs South Australia 

Learning approach

Our TSL learning environment is not a traditional classroom experience. Rather, this highly interactive program uses: 

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Reflection opportunities. You will explore significant personal leadership development work.
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Experential learning. You will be introduced to concepts and ways of observing, intervening and experimenting with different approaches to leadership.
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Critical thinking. You will examine different ideas about leadership, which is not simply a set of skills to be learned.

You will have an opportunity to articulate and receive feedback on your leadership style and objectives, discussing and reflecting on real-life leadership dilemmas, including your own experiences.


ANZSOG is renowned for its high quality teaching and our faculty includes leading national and international academic experts in the public sector, as well as senior government partners. We draw on the expertise of top practitioners from the government and non-government sectors because we know today’s public service managers must be able to work across sectors.

Our TSL program co-directors – Professor Paul ‘t Hart and Robbie Macpherson – create a dynamic forum that explores the latest ideas and thinking about leadership and public administration.

Paul 't Hart is Professor of Public Administration at Utrecht University and Associate Dean of the Netherlands School of Public Administration in The Hague. His experience with leadership and leadership theory is based on extensive training and consulting in the Netherlands, Sweden and Australia. His work focuses on political and public sector leadership, policy evaluation, public accountability and crisis management.

Robbie Macpherson is Managing Director of Adaptable Leadership and Principal at Reos Partners, a global consultancy that drives thinking and practice in solving tough, systemic problems. He has extensive experience in both the corporate world and the not-for-profit sector. He has worked in Scotland, Australia, the Netherlands, the US and South Africa.

How do I apply?

Our TSL program offers a maximum of 40 places each year to candidates chosen by a selection committee, which assesses each applicant’s level and experience and, where possible, seeks a balance of jurisdictions and departments.

Our TSL program is tailored to suit the needs of experienced managers who are moving, or have recently moved, to a strategic leadership role at a senior level within government or the not-for-profit sector. 

Participants may be nominated by their employers or may nominate themselves. 

If you are thinking about applying for the TSL program and would like an insider’s perspective, you are welcome to seek advice from our alumni. Please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to arrange an introduction.

If you wish to apply for our TSL program, please complete the Expression of Interest form and we will be in touch with any further information or requirements.

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Phone: +61 3 8344 1990

Information for HR and sponsoring agencies

ANZSOG creates and delivers industry-leading educational programs tailored to meet the needs of public sector leaders, who face an array of challenges distinct from those found in private enterprise.

Our programs are designed by government, for government, and led by renowned academics and top practitioners from the government and non-government sectors.

Our highly interactive TSL program supports public sector managers at senior executive level to develop their strategic leadership capacity. The learning environment is engaging and dynamic, with an emphasis on ‘live’ issues that confront governments, within sound conceptual frameworks.

Our TSL program is tailored to suit the needs of experienced public sector managers who are moving, or have recently moved, to a strategic leadership role at a senior level in government or a not-for-profit organisation. The program assists those facing senior executive responsibilities for the first time to make the transition.

The sponsoring government or agency covers program costs, including tuition fee, subject materials, accommodation and most meals.

For further information about fees, application forms and application deadlines, please complete the Expression of Interest form.

The ANZSOG experience reaches well beyond the classroom. The national and international networks to which you gain access while completing our TSL program will be invaluable throughout your career.

Our Alumni Program helps participants to maintain and build on their peer-to-peer relationships, creating a broad community of public sector managers from around New Zealand, Australia and internationally. This provides an opportunity for ongoing learning and support from peers, greater exposure to different perspectives, and an appreciation of work done, and solutions found, elsewhere.

Our participants will have opportunities to apply new learnings and insights to their workplace and are encouraged to share their learnings with others.

We encourage sponsoring managers to facilitate such opportunities for participants to ‘give back’ and add further value as a result of their studies.

Photo of Alex Tay

A key take-away for me was that despite participants coming from different jurisdictions and from different portfolio areas, the commonality of leadership challenges facing us all was strong.

Alex Tay
Department of Premier and Cabinet, Tasmania