Towards Strategic Leadership

Developing strategic capacity in the public sector


2017 Program Dates: 

  • Module 1: 29 May - 2 June 2017, Sydney
  • Module 2: 30 October - 3 November 2017, Melbourne.


  • Specifically designed for managers transitioning into senior executive leadership roles
  • Unique learning model consisting of two five-day intensive residential modules
  • Experiential and reflective learning approach drawing on real-world situations and experiences
  • Building capacity to address current and future public sector challenges
  • Creating professional networks of practitioners and peers for lifelong learning

The Program

The Towards Strategic Leadership (TSL) program is specifically designed for experienced managers who are moving into or have recently moved into a senior executive leadership role within the public sector. Course participants will further develop their ability to think and act at a strategic level.

The course is designed to give participants the opportunity to examine different approaches to decision-making and leadership. 

The program consists of two residential modules of five days each, three to four months apart. The first module focuses on exploring the triangle of self, role and system in which strategic leadership takes place. The second module is devoted to engaging with change and increasing the adaptive capacity of systems.

The learning methods of TSL include:

  • reflection opportunities allowing participants to explore significant personal leadership development work
  • experiential learning where participants will be introduced to concepts and ways of observing, intervening and experimenting with different approaches to leadership
  • critical thinking to examine different ideas about leadership rather than treating leadership as a set of skills to be learned. 

The learning environment provides an opportunity for participants to articulate and receive feedback on their leadership style and objectives. They are also able to discuss and reflect upon actual leadership dilemmas, often using their own experiences, and critically examine different ideas about leadership.


At the conclusion of the program, participants will have:

  • explored their backgrounds and the influences that have shaped their appetite and potential for taking strategic leadership roles
  • developed critical and reflective skills to clarify personal values and support their own and others development as leaders
  • gained insight into the systemic dynamics underpinning strategic leadership
  • understood and critically evaluated theories and concepts of leading change and innovation in public sector settings. 

Towards Strategic Leadership is specifically designed for people moving from a tactical to a strategic leadership role within government. The Program assists those facing senior executive responsibilities for the first time to make the transition.

The overall program coordination lies with ANZSOG adjunct faculty member Professor Paul ‘t Hart of Utrecht University and the Netherlands School of Government; and Robbie Macpherson of Adaptable Leadership and REOS Partners. Paul and Robbie have been team teaching ANZSOG’s Towards Strategic Leadership since 2010.

Professor Paul ‘t Hart

Paul 't Hart is a Professor of Public Administration at Utrecht University and Associate Dean of the Netherlands School of Public Administration in The Hague. He resumed both positions in mid-2011, after spending five years as Professor of Political Science at the Australian National University. Paul’s research, teaching and consulting covers political and public sector leadership, policy evaluation, public accountability and crisis management. His books include Framing the Global Meltdown: Crisis Rhetoric and the Politics of Recession (ANU E-Press 2009), The Real World of EU Accountability: Which Deficit? (Oxford University Press 2010), How Power Changes Hands: Transition and Succession in Government (Palgrave 2011), Understanding Prime-Ministerial Performance (Oxford University Press), The Oxford Handbook of Political Leadership (Oxford University Press 2014) and Understanding Public Leadership (Palgrave 2014).

He has extensive training and consulting experience within government, primarily in Holland, Sweden and Australia, including secondments at the Dutch Intelligence Service and Public Prosecutors Office. He gave evidence at the Royal Commission into the Victorian Bushfires. He recently completed two consultancy reports on the institutional reputation and the corporate governance of the Dutch judiciary. Paul has been engaged with ANZSOG since 2007, teaching the Leading Public Sector Change subject in the Executive Master of Public Administration program, facilitating a range of executive workshops and master classes and convening TSL since 2009. He is currently co-authoring a 2-volume history of the evolution of the Australian prime ministership for Melbourne University Press.

Robbie Macpherson

After migrating from Scotland to Australia in 1989, Robbie gained extensive experience in both the corporate world and the NGO sector. For a decade Robbie was Director of Australia’s leading NGO social leadership consultancy, Social Leadership Australia, where, in addition to his executive responsibilities, he was a senior program designer and facilitator on a broad range of leadership development programs, including the award winning annual Sydney Leadership Program and the establishment of the Queensland Leadership Program.
Robbie has worked with a number of Australia’s major corporates, including developing hundreds of senior leaders at the National Australia Bank since 2007. Other major projects have included working with senior international counter-terrorist agents, developing the leadership capacity of senior police officers with the Australian Institute of Police Management (AIPM), and delivering a two year program (Headland) for emerging Indigenous leaders from across the Australian continent. He was a member of the Australasian National Policing Forum from 2009-2011 and lead-designer of the inaugural UK-Australia Young Leaders Dialogue in Sydney. He is currently working with the Australian Institute of Police Management (AIPM) with Commissioner level police from around the country. His work has taken him to South Africa, Holland, USA and Scotland.

Robbie is a graduate of the Art of Practice of Leadership Development program at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, is an accredited facilitator of The Leadership Circle, Team Management Systems; and an accredited facilitator of the Deep Democracy process. As well as being the Director of Adaptable Leadership he is a Partner of Reos Partners, a global consultancy driving thinking and practice in solving tough, systemic problems.

The school is committed to fostering a dynamic Alumni program, which sustains professional networks, supports lifelong learning and enhances the School's reputation for the benefit of all its Alumni. Our aim is to keep the spirit of your ANZSOG learning alive. 

The ANZSOG experience reaches well beyond the classroom. Course participants will have the opportunity to study with the best and brightest in their chosen field, they will also have the opportunity to learn from world-leading academics and practitioners.

The national and international networks established during TSL are invaluable for participants as their careers progress and they move into more demanding roles.  

ANZSOG's Alumni Program helps participants to maintain and build on these networks.

Every individual who completes an ANZSOG core program automatically becomes part of the ANZSOG Alumni community.

One of the hallmarks of ANZSOG programs is the high calibre of participants. They are all motivated and successful individuals from a cross-section of departments and agencies, with a broad range of experiences.

With members from Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific region and an ever-expanding international contingent, the School’s Alumni offers an unparalleled professional network and support base for course participants.

The School has a number of active jurisdictional chapters of Alumni who regularly provide professional development and networking opportunities.

We have alumni based over Australia and New Zealand who are in a unique position to offer advice to potential participants interested in studying an ANZSOG program.

The 'Ask an alumnus' service has been created to provide the opportunity for potential participants to engage with ANZSOG alumni in order for them to assist with their options, and help them gain an insider view of undertaking an ANZSOG program.

Click here to contact the TSL Coordinator, Rosie Colosimo, who will provide you details of an alumnus in your jurisdiction.

Course fees are paid by the sponsoring government or agency. Program costs include tuition fees, course materials, accommodation and most meals.

Take the lead

To learn more or to apply, please contact the TSL Coordinator, Rosie Colosimo.
T +61 3 8344 1909
E programs_team | at |