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Towards Strategic Leadership

Prepare to take the next step in your career




Module 3 (face-to-face) will be held in Sydney


1 x 1.5hr orientation, 6 x modules


22 September - 7 February 2023 (see details for more information)


ANZSOG’s Towards Strategic Leadership (TSL) is a unique program tailored to prepare leaders for the exceptional challenges facing the public sector today. Public sector leaders will develop the qualities needed to thrive in volatile and uncertain times. Participants walk away with a renewed strategic outlook, political astuteness, personal resilience and the capacity to reflect, collaborate, lead and learn continuously. 

Apply now

Applications are now open for this 2022 delivery. Click on the “Apply Now” button to complete your application for the next iteration of Towards Strategic Leadership.

What is TSL?

TSL is specifically designed to meet the needs of senior public servants and to provide you with the opportunity to reflect, learn and grow to be able to carry out your role with clarity, wisdom and energy. 

As a participant, you 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 offers hybrid 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. 

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

Previously delivered face-to-face across a two week period, TSL was moved online for the first time in 2020 as a result of the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The online delivery received overwhelmingly positive feedback, maintaining the spirit and tradition of the face-to-face delivery by ensuring a keen focus on personal reflection in the context of the crisis environment. The current delivery is designed to take the best of both these worlds, and takes the form of two half-day online introductory modules, followed by an intensive 4.5 day residential, and closed by three further online modules designed to consolidate the post-residential integration of TSL learning experiences into participants’ work practices.   

The entire program is run under Chatham House Rule. 

WATCH: Julie Etchells, 2020 TSL alum interview

Who is it for?

TSL 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 you perform your roles with purpose, good judgment, and strategic nous. TSL will provide a tangible boost in confidence and capabilities and prepare leaders to face senior executive responsibilities.

Why should I choose TSL?

Public sector leaders are expected to maintain a long-term perspective and discern strategic opportunities for renewal and transformation amid daily pressures. It is therefore critical that they continue to invest in developing their leadership capabilities and their professional resilience in order to lead adaptive responses.

TSL 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 New Zealand for more than two decades. They have co-facilitated TSL for more than 10 years. The program creates a dynamic forum which combines non-traditional learning methods, such as extensive individual and group-based reflection and real-world case studies, with peer consultations and critical thinking.

Across six 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 encourages participants to identify personal and institutional strengths and weaknesses, helping you to understand your personal leadership style, and how your role fits within your organisation, the broader public sector and the community.

You 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.

EFP Alumni Mary Manescu

Mary Manescu – TSL 2020 alum, Executive General Manager, Department of Health (VIC)

WATCH: Mary Manescu, 2020 TSL alum interview


Format: Blended (Face to face residential plus 2 x pre- and 3 x post-face to face online modules)

Duration: 1.5 hour online orientation; 2 x 4-hour online opening modules; 4.5 day residential; 3 x 4-hour online consolidation modules

Location: Residential will take place in Sydney


  • Orientation: Thursday 22 September 2022
  • Module 1: (Online) Tuesday 4 October 2022
  • Module 2: (Online) Tuesday 11 October 2022
  • Module 3: (Face to face) 24 – 28 October 2022 (4.5 days in Sydney)
  • Module 4: (Online) Friday 18 November
  • Module 5: (Online) Monday 5 December 2022
  • Module 6: (Online) Tuesday 7 February 2023

Cost: The program fees are $21,000 AUD + GST

Please note: A participant may enter into a salary sacrifice arrangement with their employer to attend the program. The participant’s employer will be billed the program fee. This will be discussed on a case-by-case basis with the applicant’s sponsoring agency.


TSL participants will explore thematic thrusts, that will be interwoven in the structure of the program and both the asynchronous and live activities, including:

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’.

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. His work focuses on political and public service leadership, policy evaluation, public accountability and crisis management. He currently leads a program of research in what makes public policies, organisations and networks particularly successful. Robbie Macpherson Managing Director of Adaptable Leadership. 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.

Information for managers and sponsoring agencies

Owned by and working for the governments of Australia and 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.

First Nations Public Administration Scholarship

ANZSOG offers a scholarship to assist the development of a First Nations person working in the public sector in Australia or Aotearoa New Zealand. The scholarship, worth $21,000 to $50,960 AUD, is used exclusively for an ANZSOG foundation program, either the Executive Master of Public Administration (EMPA), the Executive Fellows Program (EFP) or Towards Strategic Leadership (TSL).

The inaugural 2021 Scholarship was awarded to Palawa woman Brenda McDermott, currently working in the Victorian public service. Brenda commenced the EMPA in 2022.

ANZSOG is planning to offer a scholarship in 2023 to a First Nations public servant, for enrolment in late 2023 or early 2024. If you are interested in finding out more about the Scholarship, sign up to the ANZSOG Indigenous news, and/or our general e-news to be notified when scholarship applications open.


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

A student may enter into a salary sacrifice arrangement with their employer to attend the program. The student’s employer will be billed the program fee. This will be discussed on a case-by-case basis with the applicant’s sponsoring agency.

TSL Alumni Julie Etchells

Julie Etchells – TSL 2020 alum, Senior Executive Leader, Department of Children, Youth Justice and Multicultural Affairs

Alumni community

The ANZSOG experience reaches well beyond the classroom. The national and international networks to which you will gain access to while completing the TSL program will be invaluable throughout your career.

Our Alumni Program  helps you 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.

Shared learning

You will have opportunities to immediately apply new insights to your workplace and are encouraged to share what you learn with others.

We encourage sponsoring managers to facilitate such opportunities for participants to ‘give back’ and add further value.

Seeking more information?

We encourage you to speak to one of our TSL alumni to get an insider’s perspective. Please contact our Alumni Coordinator via email at: to arrange an introduction. Alternatively, submit an expression of interest to be contacted by a member of the Programs team.