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High potential leadership development centre to accelerate performance


Nous partnered with a major state government department.

The organisation sought to accelerate the potential of future leaders

Nous was engaged to design and deliver a superior, ‘real world’ development centre for future department secretaries and deputy secretaries. The initiative was driven from the top to accelerate leadership capability development and lift performance across the public sector.

Our real world development centre was designed to improve capability

The development centre was designed to: stretch leaders, promote immediate and sustained development, and ultimately lift collective performance across the public sector. The approach involves bespoke, multi-method assessments, including:

  • 360-degree interviews
  • psychometric assessments
  • ‘day in the life’ simulations
  • an individual and group feedback session.

The co-design process involved current secretaries and deputy secretaries, government experts and assessment experts to create authentic simulation scenarios. The simulations were delivered by government experts rather than role-players, which enabled the government experts to adapt realistically to participants’ responses and provide useful feedback and insights after each simulation.

Insights from the ‘in the moment’ feedback given throughout the development centre, were explored further in an individual development planning session. This session was followed by a group development planning conversation that brought together the participant, their manager, assessor and an executive coach to drive long term, positive behaviour change and ongoing support over the year.

Lessons have been put into action

Evaluation data from participants indicates that the development centre exceeded expectations and provided participants with valuable lessons that they are putting into action in the workplace.

What other organisations can learn

  • Focus on the acceleration of capability and understanding needs based development to stretch participants to the next level.
  • Create a ‘real-world’ experience drawing on issues impacting the current environment and use real, yet independent, sector experts to deliver the scenario.
  • Deliver a leadership development experience that engages participants and provides high-impact performance insights.
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