ANZSOG’s Towards Strategic Leadership program uncovers the potential strengths in public service leaders and encourages them to overcome personal obstacles and think more strategically about their everyday practices.
Effective leaders have a defined sense of purpose, a strong sense of self and the ability to manage 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 (Brisbane): 4 - 8 June 2018Module 2 (Melbourne): 15 - 19 October 2018
This two week course is aimed at senior executives or managers who have recently moved, or are about to move, into a more strategic leadership role within government or the public sector at large.
The most effective leaders have the ability to discern and address not only the urgent but the strategically important tasks. Towards Strategic Leadership (TSL) is designed to develop such leaders. We help participants develop habits of reflection and strategic thinking and encourage them to integrate these into their everyday practices. The course is designed to reveal the potential strengths as well as the endemic roadblocks within participants themselves and the systems they inhabit.
‘Our participants are leaders who are ahead of the game, think long term, reframe problems and question the set ways of an organisation or a program, in ways that middle management don’t always get the opportunity for. The key idea is to get people from a state of running around and doing things, solving problems, into a state where they are giving themselves permission to reflect on what they are doing and have done.’ – TSL co-director Paul ‘t Hart
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.
‘It’s less academic than other courses, and deliberately so. It’s highly pragmatic with practical elements, but is led by contemporary thinking about leadership, led by Paul (‘t Hart) who is an exceptional thinker. It offers both a highly personal, individual take on leadership while also addressing the “How do you actually do this?” external side of leadership.’ – TSL co-director Robbie Macpherson
At the end of the program, you will have:
As in most ANZSOG courses, active participation is central to the TSL program. This is an integral ingredient to the course’s success.
TSL harnesses the knowledge and experience of the participants who, as professional peers, share a common language and a commitment to public service.
Participants should expect to be a co-creator of one another’s course experience: we encourage participants to share their experiences within the safety and context of the course’s themes and frameworks, creating a collaborative learning environment that allows everybody to draw on the expertise in the room.
The entire course is run under Chatham House Rule.
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 is based on extensive and close-up research, training and consulting in the Netherlands, Sweden and Australia. His work focuses on political and public service leadership, policy evaluation, public accountability and crisis management.
‘Coming from Holland,’ he says, ‘One thing I like about Australian and New Zealand public servants who come on these type of programs is that they tend to be incredibly motivated, disciplined and have the guts to open themselves up in that type of setting – and it does take guts to do that.’
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.
‘We look at leadership as an activity, rather than as a position,’ he says. ‘We ask: what can you do? What allows someone to thrive in what they do? We explore values, purpose, and what allows people to take effective action, and what gets in the way of effective action? We unashamedly get into the more personal development side: we believe it’s critical to people being able to take effective action.’
The public sector benefits when its leaders can adapt their thinking and approach to challenging, and often seemingly intractable, issues. Effective managers know how to manage programs and people. Effective leaders make their systems think and act purposefully when directing their energies and responding to critical changes in their environment.
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.
‘The core element is to step into a reflective zone which, from the years that we’ve taught it, can become a place where learning can happen that cannot take place in either the work context of day-to-day pressure or a conventional classroom setting. This is a deeper form of learning.’ – TSL co-director Paul ‘t Hart
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.
Applications have closed for the 2018 program. If you would like to apply for the 2019 program, please register your interest below.
Register your interest
View the brochure
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.
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.
Download a fact sheet on Towards Strategic Leadership for managers and sponsoring agencies (PDF)
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.
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.
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.
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.