‘A safe environment to fail’: when secretaries go to school


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What happens when departmental secretaries go back to school? The Victorian Leadership Development Centre has pioneered on-the-job training for our top mandarins in Australia.

Victoria has been doing something a bit different for its executive talent development — and it’s catching on.

With new secretary Chris Eccles shaking up the Department of Premier and Cabinet, and senior leadership changes at secretary level across the Victorian Public Service, one of the things that won’t change is their leadership of the most involved executive workforce and succession program in the country.

It’s the opposite of the development programs that sequestered executives like a daycare centre, ignored and then picked up when they’re ready. All nine members of Victoria’s secretaries board, including the police commissioner and public service commissioner, get involved in assessing and developing high-potential candidates. The success can be measured in the more than 30% improvement in performance following the program completion, and about half of all participants are promoted.

Leanne Ansell-McBride

Leanne Ansell-McBride

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