Towards Strategic Leadership

Make the leap to the next level

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

The Towards Strategic Leadership Program (TSL) is a two-week residential program for experienced public sector managers who have moved from an operational to a strategic leadership role within government.

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

Module 1: 4 - 8 June 2018
Module 2: 15 - 19 October 2018

*module locations are still to be confirmed. 

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.

Application closing date: Friday 16 March, 2018

What will I learn?

Leadership framework

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

The program emphasises the need for leaders to step back from operational tasks and consider a more strategic approach.

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

  • Reflection opportunities- participants explore significant personal leadership development work
  • Experiential learning – participants are introduced to concepts and ways of observing, intervening and experimenting with different approaches to leadership
  • Critical thinking – participants examine different ideas about leadership dilemmas, including their own experiences


At the end of the program, you will have:

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

What does it involve?

Participants as contributors

Your contribution to the program – and that of your peers – is integral to its success. TSL 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 will be asked to share your insights.


The first module explores the triangle of 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.


The 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.

Why choose the TSL Program?

Tailored for success

The TSL program provides opportunities for leaders to examine innovative and adaptive approaches to problems and situations where existing methods have not improved outcomes for stakeholders. Participants work together to explore possible responses that combine strong theoretical foundations with lessons from the real world experiences.

The program provides opportunities for participants to understand how they can influence situations even when they are not ‘in charge’. The program focuses on helping public sector managers to better understand their leadership style, their role within their organisation, and the wider public service environment.

A community of leaders

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

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.

How do I apply?

Applications for the TSL program are now open. Contact the Program Coordinator by submitting an expression of interest to start the application process.

Register your interest

Application closing date: Friday 16 March, 2018

Participants may be nominated by their employers or may nominate themselves. The program offers a maximum of 40 places each year and candidates are reviewed by a selection committee, which assesses each applicant’s level and experience and, where possible, seeks a balance of jurisdictions and departments.

The program is designed for:

  • Public sector executives, such as Directors and Branch Managers
  • Executives who have moved from an operational role to a strategic role

Find out more

If you are interested in applying for TSL, we encourage you to speak to our alumni to get an insider's perspective. Please contact our Programs Team, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., to arrange an introduction.

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.

TSL 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, program materials, accommodation and most meals.

The ANZSOG experience reaches well beyond the classroom. The national and international networks to which you gain access while completing the 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.

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 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

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 

Photo of Jan Hyde

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