New presenters, new thinking: ANZSOG’s Future public sector leaders’ series returns for winter 2022

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  • Published Date: 28 April 2022

ANZSOG’s Future public sector leaders (FPSL) series began as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, but popular demand has seen it return for a third series in 2022 with a mix of new and returning presenters offering 12 two-hour masterclasses designed to expand participants horizons.

ANZSOG Deputy CEO (Thought Leadership) Simon Kent said that after two years of disruption it was a perfect time for public sector leaders to reset their thinking and build their understanding of the broader context they were working in.

“As a public sector leader, you have always needed to think creatively to solve complex problems and deliver public value to your communities,” Mr Kent said.

“Now, as governments respond to the long-term social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in an increasingly ambiguous environment, it is even more important for you as an emerging public sector leader to have the knowledge, creativity and confidence required to provide informed and timely advice, and lead others through change.

“Future public sector leaders gives you access to some of the best academics and practitioners who will supply a frank and up-to-date analysis of the challenges governments are facing, and new ideas you can take back to our workplace.”

FPSL is designed as a ‘choose-your-own adventure’ style series which gives participants the choice to sign up for one masterclass or the whole series. The two-hour virtual seminars are designed to fit into a busy workday, while still allowing participants the chance to share ideas with peers from other agencies and jurisdictions. Full details on packages are available here.

Surveys of past participants found that 90 per cent agreed topics were contemporary and relevant to their work, and 85 per cent agreed that the packages provided the flexibility they were looking for.

The 2022 series of FPSL includes greater representation from Aotearoa New Zealand and more focus on First Peoples.

Learning to create public value through negotiation

One of the first new Masterclasses will be led by Alex Smith, from Google’s Asia Pacific Government Affairs and Public Policy team, who will present Creating public value through negotiation and influence on 19 May and 12 July.

Drawing on his experience in both the public and private sectors in Australia and the USA, Mr Smith said the masterclass would give participants a greater understanding of the role of negotiations in overcoming political, organisational and operational barriers to delivering good policy.

He said it would explore how to build trust as part of a negotiation, and how to become a good ‘anticipatory negotiator’.

“The problems governments are trying to solve require collective action – whether between government, society and the private sector or just between government agencies. They are also human-led problems that require negotiation,” he said.

He said the public sector could be averse to negotiation, but when done properly it was a great way to create public value and build links with the community.

“Building trust at the start of a negotiation is essential. That involves trying to trying to understand people’s interests rather than just coming at them with a proposal or a list of demands,” he said.

“When you have a sophisticated understanding of the other parties and what they want, that can lead to value exchanges – where you give up something that is low cost to you but high value to them. These value exchanges grow the pie that you are negotiating over and help build trust.”

“Trust also leads to more sustainable outcomes in the long-run, and that is important for government because a one-off win can set you up for long-term challenges.”

He said that the processes involved in the public sector should not be a barrier to good negotiations

“These processes exist in private companies too, even if they are not always written down. If you don’t anticipate these barriers, you’ll never build trust, or you’ll be reduced to making it up as you go along, which it the opposite of a strategic negotiation.

“How you set the table for a negotiation is really important, and part of what I will explore is how to become a good ‘anticipatory negotiator’

He said that learning negotiations skills could help public servants more broadly in both their internal and external work.

“Part of being an effective negotiator is learning to meet people where they are, listening and anticipating. These are skills that can carry over from negotiations to other parts of the work of government.”

“Internally, people are returning to the workplace and working face-to-face again. Building and reflecting trust is a huge part of negotiation, and some of those techniques will also carry into relationships in the workplace.”

The full list of new masterclasses is:

  • Adaptive leadership with Farayi Chipungu from the Harvard Kennedy School
  • Political astuteness in disruptive times with Ben Hubbard and Wayne Eagleson, former chiefs of staff to Prime Ministers of Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand
  • Indigenising co-design for innovation in complexity with Angie Tangaere from the Southern Initiative
  • Diagnosing and solving complex policy problems with David Keith from the MIT Sloan School of Management
  • Foresighted Government with Bart Edes from McGill University
  • Economic Empowerment and First Peoples with Michelle Evans from Melbourne Business School
  • Creating public value through negotiation & influence with Alex Smith from Google

In addition, returning presenters include:

  • Creating change through systems leadership with Professor Michael Hogan
  • Leading with cultural intelligence – building stronger partnerships with First Peoples with Lil Anderson
  • Bridging the gap between policy and implementation with Professor Anne Tiernan
  • Leading with integrity with Harvard Kennedy School’s Professor Dana Born
  • Making evidence count in policy advice with ANZSOG Deputy CEO (Research and Advisory) Dr Subho Banerjee

All masterclasses will offer hard-working and passionate emerging public sector leaders the chance to reflect and think more deeply about the challenges that they are facing, and leave with new ideas to apply in their work.

For more information on the Future public sector leaders 2022 series click here.