Deputies leadership program
The role of the Deputy: meeting the challenges of leading in the modern public sector
Three x 2-day modules (1 in-person, 2 online)
Program 1: 3 April–20 June 2023; Program 2: 18 September–14 November (see details for more information). Applications close 13 March 2023.
Resilience, integrity and effectiveness: these leadership qualities have been put under a microscope in today’s public sector, one which is characterised by volatile and uncertain conditions and ongoing Covid-19 responses and recovery. Performance expectations are high, and not always easy to define or discern, and accountability and public scrutiny is increasing.
But the role of public sector Deputy leaders has always been complex and challenging. Deputies are not only responsible for significant budget, policy, service and people leadership, but also share accountability for their organisation’s success and have stewardship obligations that extend to the broader public sector and service system.
Deputies operate at the political-administrative interface, which is changing dramatically as shifts in the style and conduct of politics and government collide with a growing menu of complex, tough and urgent public problems.
Deputies also need to be able to confidently lead in a digital environment which demands effective use of digital, data and design tools as well as mindsets for policy, regulation and service delivery outcomes patterned increasingly by empathy, competence and trust.
This program will challenge Deputies in the early stages of their role to explore all aspects of responsibilities specific to this role, stretch their thinking about effective performance and as individuals and a cohort, share insights for impact and influence.
The program has been designed by co-directors Kathryn Anderson and Martin Stewart-Weeks, who bring strong practical experience as well as leading contemporary thinking about public sector leadership.
What they say
I was impressed at the high quality and seniority of the presenters and their level of experience, and to have the opportunity to be able to speak to them in small groups. It is a rare opportunity to talk to people who are leading Royal Commissions, who are auditor generals or former department heads, in a forum where they can be open and honest about the challenges we all face. - Judith Formston, Executive Director, People and Corporate Services, Department for Infrastructure and Transport
What they say
I enjoyed the focus on wicked problems, and just having the time and space to think about what it is that I’m grappling with. It was not about strategies or frameworks, it’s about that freedom to think and discuss which was really liberating.
What they say
The quality of the guest presenters, and their frankness, was really valuable. For example, hearing from the three departmental secretaries was fascinating. They spent about an hour with us, and were very open about the pressures that come with this kind of role. They were clear that ‘what’s brought you to this point won’t serve you for the future’ and that you will need to be flexible and adaptive. There was an emphasis on the personal qualities of leadership, and the fact that everything you do is visible so you need to think about your impact.
Who is it for?
This program is for Deputy Secretaries of public sector organisations across Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand (and possibly beyond) and is tailored to early stage Deputies of departments and statutory entities (up to two years experience), rather than those who are more experienced at that level.
It is designed to support the successful transition of senior executives to Deputy level and equip participants with tools to make them more flexible and effective in their roles.
Why should I choose the Deputies leadership program?
The Deputies leadership program grounds contemporary academic thinking on public administration with lived experience leading at Deputy level. The program presenters bring a mix of theory and senior leadership and practice, reflecting a complementary set of skills, backgrounds and approaches. The course takes the best of research and practice and blends them in lively and practical collaborative learning.
The opportunity to be part of a network of high performing Deputies across Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand is a key feature of this program. Participants will develop a deeper understanding of what is required to excel as Deputies, and a clear sense of what CEOs, Secretaries and equivalents need and want from them.
Participants will grow their understanding of themselves – their leadership styles, their drivers and their aspirations – and build resilience to lead with integrity.
What will I learn?
- develop a more fulsome understanding of the specific nature and expectations of the Deputy role
- deepen your understanding of contemporary public sector challenges and directions (including the impact of a changing environment on issues like trust, respect and effective collaboration with Ministers and ministerial staff), and implications for leadership during and post-COVID-19
- strengthen your approaches to building trust through collaboration and stakeholder engagement
- grow confidence in leading for, with and in digital government
- develop techniques to build resilience and lead with integrity.
The program will be jointly led by Kathryn Anderson and Martin Stewart-Weeks. Kathryn Anderson served as a Deputy Secretary in two departments in the Victorian Public Service, and has worked across jurisdictions in policy, program and corporate roles. She is now a Partner at Cube Group, a consultancy working exclusively with the public purpose sector. Kathryn is a Fellow of the Institute of Public Administration (IPAA) Victoria. Martin Stewart-Weeks has been a Ministerial Chief of Staff, public servant in Canberra and Sydney and an advisor, facilitator and writer at the intersection of policy, public sector management and leadership and technology for the past 30 years. He held executive roles in the innovation and strategy group at Cisco Systems and is the founder and principal of Public Purpose Pty Ltd. With Simon Cooper, Martin is the co-author of Are We There Yet? The Digital Transformation of Government and the Public Sector in Australia (Longueville Media, 2019)
The program will be delivered in a blended format over three months with the first module in-person and modules 2 and 3 online. It is designed to enable participants to learn from each other’s experiences and challenges. It will be highly interactive, with small group discussions forming a central part of the program delivery.
- Module 1: 3-4 April (Melbourne)
- Module 2: 27-28 April (online)
- Module 3: 19-20 June (online)
Applications are now open for Program 1 with Module 1 held in Melbourne, Victoria. Applications for Program 1 close on 13 March 2023.
- Module 1: 18-19 September (Wellington, NZ)
- Module 2: 16-17 October (online)
- Module 3: 13-14 November (online)
Expressions of interest are now open for Program 2 with Module 1 held in Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand. Applications will open for Program 2 on 1 April 2023 with applications closing on 21 August 2023.
Price: $18,500 AUD, excl GST
Note that all travel and accommodation arrangements and expenses related to Module 1 are the responsibility of the participant.
Please note, places are limited to ensure a positive cohort experience.
While course material will be provided to participants who wish to dive more deeply into topics canvassed, the program design recognises the time constraints facing Deputies and will not rely on extensive pre-session work.