Building Defences capacity to lead through dynamic uncertain and disrupted environments

Building Defence’s capacity to lead through dynamic, uncertain and disrupted environments

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The Department of Defence is responsible for defending Australia and its national interests in order to advance Australia’s security and prosperity.

Defence is strengthening leadership capacity

To strengthen leadership capability, Defence sought to equip Defence personnel with adaptive leadership capabilities to lead through dynamic, uncertain and disrupted environments.

Program draws on world-class experts

Nous partnered with the Australian Graduate School of Management @ UNSW Business School to design Journey: Leading Transformation for Defence.

Journey: Leading Transformation is lifting the capacity of Defence team members to diagnose and understand problems, navigate complexity, face new challenges with confidence and mobilise resources to solve them. We are seeking to build skills for an environment defined by VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity).

Journey leading transformation components
Journey leading transformation components

Participants in the program:

  • engage in immersive, redefining experiences
  • take an enterprise view of learning alongside colleagues from across the organisation, including both APS and ADF personnel
  • get access to theories and frameworks from international leadership experts from Harvard University, ANZSOG and the University of New South Wales (UNSW)
  • are issued with AGSM micro-credentials and credits, and pathways into further learning.

Expert presenters include Professor Ronald Heifetz (the founder of adaptive leadership theory, and King Hussein bin Talal senior lecturer in public leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School), Farayi Chipungu (Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government), Professor Catherine Althaus (ANZSOG Chair of Public Service Leadership and Reform at the University of New South Wales in Canberra) and Professor Deborah Blackman (Head of the School of Business at UNSW Canberra).

Our team includes members from our offices in Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth and Darwin. Where possible we will deliver leadership development locally.

Journey: Leading Transformation is having a real impact

The program is being delivered to more than 3,500 participants across five years under a multi-million-dollar agreement. Graduates from the program are currently making their mark across Defence.

Participants report skill and knowledge gains of 11-28 per cent for the ENABLE component of the program and 14-50 per cent for the ADAPT component of the program.

What you can learn from Defence

Participants highly value opening a program across services and ranks/levels, giving them exposure to diverse views and a variety of parts of Defence.

It is vital to create the situations a program is building the capacity to navigate, such as ambiguous scenarios that replicate real-world VUCA contexts.

Leadership programs need to create opportunities for continuous development and open up pathways for further learning.