ANZSOG’s Executive Fellows Program: Challenging public sector leadership 

  • Published Date: 09 May 2019

The Australia and New Zealand School Government’s (ANZSOG)Executive Fellows Programis designed to be challenging.

Aimed at senior executives across all levels of government and the public sector, the EFP makes no bones about the fact that leaders will need to step up, commit and fully immerse themselves in the program to reap the rewards. It’s a message that the program Co-Directors, Associate Professor Catherine Althaus and Robin Ryde, happily emphasised as applications opened for the 2019 Executive fellows Program (EFP).

Find out more about the EFP

Catherine – ANZSOG’s Deputy Dean (Teaching and Learning) – says the EFP is about recognising that leadership is “not just a professional activity.It’s something that we need to embrace, and that we need to embody.” 

Always approaching traditional challenges in different ways,Catherine says:

“We ask: how can we think about leveraging success in new ways, and not just looking at problem solving?”

EFP alum and former CEO of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, Keryn Negri, agreed, saying, “I think it’s a really good program for people who are in leadership roles who want to refresh their thinking and get a new and contemporary take.”

Catherine Althaus and Robin Ryde

Associate Professor Catherine Althaus and Robin Ryde, EFP Co-Directors.

The EFP sees public sector leaderstravel widely, connecting to live, unique issues in confronting locations across the region while participating in diverse, engaging and highly educational programs.  The program draws ondiversity of strategies, frameworks, and global perspectives, led by world leading academics and industry experts.

“Most people that join the EFP are very experienced public servants and I think what they’re looking at is a period of time ahead in their careers where they can really make a profound impact and difference in what they’re doing,” said Robin, former Chief Executive of the UK National School of Government, andleadership expert.

“I think if there is one stopping-off point that can help senior executives make the best use of that available time it’s three weeks on the EFP to soak up a fantastic experience from colleagues and also external contributors, and return with renewed power and energy.”

Keryn said the EFP offered her a safe space to consider and evolve her personal leadership style.  “I was much more self-reflective about my leadership style after the EFP,” she said. 

“I was more open and sought feedback on other people’s experience of my leadership style.”

The program explores four domains of leadership.

“These includeleading ones self, leading others, leading enterprises and leading the external environment,” Robin says.

Catherine added that students should arrive expecting to be stretched and challenged but alsoto have fun. 

“We think it’s really important that you can fully focus away from the office for the full three weeks so you can really maximise your time and leverage all the learning together with an amazing group of people,” she added.

After the success of last year’s program, the 2019 EFP will return to Wellington, Canberra and Singapore, exploring the role of capital cities as creative and leadership hubs, while also considering the challenges and strengths of the three very different national capitals. 

Keryn Negri smiling sitting at her desk

Keryn Negri

Students will be exposed to everything from the work of community leaders in Wellington to Singapore’s unique positioning as a nation-state central to the workings of Asia

More than 1000 senior public service leaders have completed the EFP since it started in 2003, and that alumni has become an exclusive and valuable cohort of diverseexecutiveswho continue to meet, lean on and support one another.

Keryn reflects that during the program, networking with her peers was a highlight, in addition to embracing deep knowledge of public policy concepts.

On the program we sat down and talked about what everybody was doing, taking advantage of peer feedback,” she said.

The networking that you do and the opportunity to hear other people’s challenges is a real value add of the course.”

Keryn’s advice for anyone thinking about applying for the EFP is tohave a crack at it”.

“It might look daunting, the content is extremely rich. It really is worth the effort.The learning stays with you.

Express your interest for 2020 Executive Fellows Program