Registrations for TSL-ITPC are now closed. If you have any questions regarding the program, please contact the ANZSOG Programs Team at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or express your interest for TSL 2021.

ANZSOG’s Towards Strategic Leadership: In a Time of Prolonged Crisis (TSL - ITPC) is a unique program tailored to prepare participants to address the exceptional challenges facing public servants today. Held over 8 weeks, TSL - ITPC will help public sector leaders develop the qualities needed to thrive in volatile and uncertain times: a strategic outlook, political astuteness, personal resilience and the capacity to reflect, collaborate, lead and learn continuously.

A New ANZSOG offering: Towards Strategic Leadership - In a Time of Prolonged Crisis

Maintaining the spirit and tradition of the popular Towards Strategic Leadership program, TSL - ITPC will continue to have a keen focus on personal reflection but focused explicitly on the context of our current prolonged crisis environment.

TSL - ITPC is specifically designed to meet the needs of senior public servants and to provide participants with the opportunity to reflect, learn and grow in order that they are able to carry out their roles with clarity, wisdom and energy.

Participants will leave the program with a defined sense of purpose, a stronger sense of self and the ability to recognise and manage urgent and important tasks within their organisation and the public sector more broadly. TSL - ITPC offers best-practice online delivery and will nurture an inspiring environment where learning can happen that otherwise does not take place in a work context filled with day-to-day pressures or in a conventional classroom setting.

Participants will be co-contributors and an integral ingredient to the program’s success. TSL - ITPC will harness the knowledge and experience of participants who, as professional peers, share a common language and a commitment to public service.

The entire program is run under Chatham House Rule.


Dates: 21 October - 17 December 2020

Format: Online

Cost: $15,000 AUD (excluding GST)

Express your interest for TSL 2021

Towards Strategic Leadership: In a time of prolonged crisis FAQs

TSL - ITPC is the ideal program for senior public sector professionals, such as Directors and Branch Managers, and more generally those who are in the process of moving from tactical to strategic leadership roles. The program is designed to help them perform their roles with purpose, good judgment, and strategic nous. TSL - ITPC will provide a tangible boost in confidence and capabilities and prepare leaders to face senior executive responsibilities.

We are collectively in unchartered territory. The pressures of day by day crisis response can feel overwhelming. Yet the public service is also expected to maintain a long-term perspective and discern strategic opportunities for renewal and transformation in what seems like an ocean of trouble. It is therefore critical that public servants continue to invest in developing their leadership capabilities and their professional resilience in order to lead adaptive responses to the exceptional circumstances we face.

TSL - ITPC is not your average leadership program. It has innovative and respected program co-directors at the helm. Paul ‘t Hart brings 35 years of research, consulting and training on crisis leadership throughout the world to the program. Robbie Macpherson has been training and coaching corporate, community sector and public sector executives in Australia and Aotearoa-New Zealand for over two decades. They have co-facilitated TSL for over 10 years. Like its TSL ‘mother ship’, TSL - ITPC creates a dynamic forum which combines non-traditional learning methods, such as extensive individual and group-based reflection and real-world as well as real-time COVID-19 case studies, with peer consultations and critical thinking.

Across eight modules, participants explore:

  • the triangle of self, role and system within which strategic leadership takes place
  • assumptions about themselves, their organisation and the wider public sector
  • the distinctive governance challenges associated with different types of crises
  • the factors driving the adaptive capacity of public institutions
  • the opportunities for driving change, fostering learning and accelerating innovation that open up during critical junctures.

TSL - ITPC encourages participants to identify personal and institutional strengths and weaknesses, helping them understand their personal leadership styles, and how their roles fit within their organisation, the broader public sector and the community.

Participants will develop reflective and strategic thinking and discover tools to discern and address the urgent and strategically important tasks, with an emphasis on integrating them into their everyday practices.

Express your interest for TSL 2021

Towards Strategic Leadership: In a time of prolonged crisis FAQs

TSL - ITPC is delivered online over 2 x full-day sessions and 6 x 3-hour sessions over 8 weeks, with combination of:

  • asynchronous online learning: Individual and team tasks – analytical and reflective
  • synchronous online learning: Combination of full-day sessions, shorter modules and offline group consultations.

There will also be 6 hours of offline leadership consultation group work.

Module 1 21 October
Module 228 October
Module 32 November 
Module 49 November
Module 519 November
Module 627 November
Module 71 December
Module 817 December

What does it mean to deal with significant crisis demands and maintain a strategic perspective? To provide participants with the requisite tools, the program has two main thematic thrusts, that will be interwoven in the structure of the program and both the asynchronous and live activities:

A. Strategic leadership

  • Self, role, system
  • Authority vs Leadership
  • Technical vs adaptive challenges
  • Relational work: informal authority and leadership capital
  • Identity work: navigating us and them
  • Communicative work: rhetoric, dramaturgy, symbolism
  • Political work: up, down, and out
  • Collaborative work: Leading when no one is ‘in charge’.

B. Crisis leadership

Crisis contexts

  • Crises: events and constructions
  • Threat, uncertainty and urgency
  • Big-bang’ crises: Acute emergencies
  • Creeping crises: Wicked problems
  • Mega crises: Transboundary and protracted emergencies
  • Responding to crises: Institutional coping and adaptation
  • The politics of crises: Accountability, blame and exploitation.

The work of crisis leadership

  • Sense-making work: diagnosing in the face of uncertainty
  • Decision-making work: making the big calls
  • Coordination work: ensuring alignment of effort
  • Meaning-making work: shaping the frame, managing collective stress
  • Accounting work: navigating blame games
  • Termination work: nudging towards closure
  • Learning work: fostering productive adaptation.

Paul 't Hart

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. He has published over 50 books on political and public service leadership, crisis management, public accountability, and success and failure in public governance. During the first four months of COVID-19 he lectured and facilitated for dozens of government entities in the Netherlands, Sweden, Canada and Australia.

Robbie Macpherson

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 developing senior public sector leaders as well as executives in the corporate and not-for-profit sectors. He has worked in Scotland, Australia, the Netherlands, the US and South Africa.

Owned by and working for the governments of Australia and Aotearoa-New Zealand, ANZSOG is not a regular training or education provider. We work with our government owners and university partners to create and deliver education programs and research which is tailored to meet the needs of public sector leaders today.

Led by renowned academics and top practitioners from the government and non-government sectors, ANZSOG’s programs, unlike those of a standard business school, provide public servants with the capabilities and tools they need to address the distinct challenges they face on a day to day basis.

Who should I nominate?

Nominate a public sector executive, such as a Director or Branch Manager, or someone who is moving, or is ready to move, from an operational to a strategic leadership role.

The program will suit those seeking clarity in their decision-making to help them perform their roles with purpose and good judgment.


The sponsoring government or agency covers program costs, including tuition fee and program materials.

Express your interest for TSL 2021

Towards Strategic Leadership: In a time of prolonged crisis FAQs

The ANZSOG experience reaches well beyond the classroom. The national and international networks to which participants gain access to while completing the TSL - ITPC program will be invaluable throughout their 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 Aotearoa-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 immediately apply new insights to their workplace and are encouraged to share what they learn with others.
We encourage sponsoring managers to facilitate such opportunities for participants to ‘give back’ and add further value.

Express your interest for TSL 2021

Find out more

Seeking more information?

Or perhaps you’d like to speak to TSL alumni to find out about their experience?

Contact the ANZSOG Programs Team at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Towards Strategic Leadership: In a time of prolonged crisis FAQs