Skip to content
Image of ANZSOG TSL Alumni Julie Etchells

Towards Strategic Leadership

Prepare to take the next step in your career


Foundation programs




8 x half-day sessions plus orientation


Orientation: Tuesday, April 5, 2022 First module: Tuesday, April 12, 2022 Final module: Friday, May 27, 2022


“The best online course I have done.” – 2020 TSL participant.

ANZSOG’s Towards Strategic Leadership 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 across eight weeks. Participants walk away with a renewed strategic outlook, political astuteness, personal resilience and the capacity to reflect, collaborate, lead and learn continuously.

Express your interest

Applications are now closed. Click on the "express your interest" button to leave your details and we will contact you once applications are open 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 participants with the opportunity to reflect, learn and grow to be 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 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 will harness the knowledge and experience of 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 entire program is run under Chatham House Rule.

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 them perform their 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 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 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.

WATCH: 2018 TSL participants Tom McGregor and Nicole Opie talk about the live case study.


TSL is delivered online across 8 x half-day sessions plus orientation, and features:

  • asynchronous online learning: Individual and team tasks – analytical and reflective
  • synchronous online learning: Combination of half day sessions, shorter modules and offline group consultations.
  • There will also be 6 hours of offline leadership consultation group work.

Module details:

  • Orientation: Tuesday, April 5, 2022 (3:30pm – 4:30pm)
  • Module 1: Tuesday, April 12, 2022 (Session: 2:30pm – 6:00pm)
  • Module 2: Tuesday, April 26, 2022 (Leadership Challenge groups: 1:30pm – 2:30pm, Session: 2:30pm – 6:00pm)
  • Module 3: Tuesday 3 May 2022 (Leadership Challenge groups: 1:30pm – 2:30pm Session: 2:30pm – 6:00pm)
  • Module 4: Friday 6 May 2022 (Leadership Challenge groups: 1:30pm – 2:30pm, Session: 2:30pm – 6:00pm)
  • Module 5: Tuesday 10 May 2022 (Leadership Challenge groups: 1:30pm – 2:30pm, Session: 2:30pm – 6:00pm)
  • Module 6: Monday, May 16, 2022 (Leadership Challenge groups: 1:30pm – 2:30pm, Session: 2:30pm – 6:00pm)
  • Module 7: Monday, May 23, 2022 (Leadership Challenge groups: 1:30pm – 2:30pm, Session: 2:30pm – 6:00pm)
  • Module 8: Friday, May 27, 2022 (2:00pm – 7:00pm)

Cost: $15,000 AUD (excluding GST)

Please note: 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 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’.

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 Peoples Public Administration Scholarship

ANZSOG offered a scholarship in early 2021 to assist the development of an Indigenous leader working in the public sector in Australia and Aotearoa-New Zealand. The scholarship, worth $15,000 to $45,000, was to be 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.

Due to the on-going impact of COVID restrictions on the delivery of all ANZSOG programs, the timeline for the next First Peoples scholarship is yet to be determined. If you are interested, please review the Selection Criteria and email your interest to We encourage you to sign up to the ANZSOG Indigenous news, and/or our general e-news, both of which will be used to notify potential applicants 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.

Alumni community

The ANZSOG experience reaches well beyond the classroom. The national and international networks to which participants gain access to while completing the TSL 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 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

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.

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.