Welcome to the Executive Excellence Program

The Executive Excellence program is a 9-month program designed to equip senior executives within the public sector with the skills and tools to be able to lead organisational functions while balancing short- and long-term strategic perspectives.

This program extends beyond traditional leadership skills to build advanced, adaptive and complex thinking skills to enable you to become a more agile and equipped leader.

It will support the development of participating executives to:

  • Balance tactical concerns with strategic possibilities to respond to, and influence, public impact
  • Be agile and resilient in balancing competing priorities, managing strategy, people, processes and systems across the organisation
  • Lead operations to deliver better outcomes for stakeholders and the community
  • Navigate effectively across boundaries to build strategic ties and gain new perspectives to assume a broader scope of responsibility
  • Establish lasting and supportive connections with peers across departments
  • The Executive Excellence program contains a unique mix of experience, exposure and education designed to strengthen your ability to lead a high performing public sector.

    To give you an idea on what was involved in the 2019-2020, below is a summary of all the key components of the program:


    This initial orientation session will give you an overview of the twelve-month program and what to expect along your leadership journey. You will hear from key leaders within and outside the public sector, and keynote speakers who will share their leadership insights.

    360 ° Feedback and Coaching

    Participants will have an opportunity to explore their leadership capabilities through a 360 degree leadership assessment tool called The Leadership Circle (TLC).

    The Leadership Circle is a premium 360° feedback tool designed to accelerate leadership effectiveness beyond traditional competency-based approaches. The Leadership Circle Profile helps participants understand the relationship between how they habitually think, behave, and more importantly, how all this impacts their leadership effectiveness. Participants will also receive individual debriefs and coaching sessions with independent trained coaches.

    Leading Self

    Participants will go through a two-day journey of self-discovery in the Leading Self workshop. You will delve into your Leadership Circle profile and begin to explore the concepts of Immunity to Change, Transformations of Leadership, Resilience and Mindfulness, and Enhancing your Awareness and the relevance to Performance.

    Adaptive Leadership

    The Adaptive Leadership Intensive Workshop offers a powerful, pragmatic and transferable leadership framework and practical skills to lead change and make progress on complex challenges.

    The framework was developed by Professor Ron Heifetz, Marty Linsky and colleagues at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. Where traditional models of leadership tend to focus on leadership as an innate, individual quality and emphasise charisma and power, adaptive leadership views leadership as an activity rather than a position.

    Strategy for Public Impact

    Public value is a crucial aspect of how we do business as a public sector in a dynamic and modern community. This session will focus on the public purposes that drive public sector organisations, and the need to place citizens at the forefront of policy and strategy development as well as service delivery to increase public value.

    CE Connect

    Get up close and personal with chief executives in the South Australian Public Sector. Hear about their leadership journeys and how they navigate themselves through challenges. Develop a complete understanding of their role and how they lead their agency to achieve positive outcomes for the South Australian community.

    Executive Impact and Influence Workshop

    As an executive, the ability to lead with impact and positively influence is critical to your success. The Executive Impact and Influence workshop will explore how to influence at an individual, team and organisational level. It will also examine the essential skills required for political know-how, becoming a trusted advisor, storytelling, and building executive presence.

    Performance Investment Strategy

    This session will investigate the key aspects involved in building individual and group accountability, shared purpose and collaboration. You will discover how to establish a new executive team as a chief executive, gain ‘ground truth’, and how to create investment strategies for fellow senior executives.

    A Problem Clinic will facilitate an exploration of hypothetical case studies, before you consider how to approach your first 100 days as a senior executive.

    Industry Connect

    Be inspired by leading business and industry leaders in South Australia. Get an insight into their business challenges and opportunities, understand their broader leadership perspectives and gain a deeper understanding of the interface between their organisation/industry and the Government of South Australia.

    Diversity Dividend

    This session will focus on a number of diversity and inclusion themes such as:

    • Inclusive communities and work cultures
    • Aboriginal access to government services
    • Achieving public sector targets through proxy measures.

    The symposium will include some high-calibre guest speakers to provide context and personal experience in the diversity and inclusion space.

    Innovation Symposium

    The Innovation Symposium session provides an opportunity for you to immerse yourself in a range of perspectives on innovation. You will hear from key speakers about how innovation has progressed their business forward – their success stories and challenges.

    Integration Session

    This session allows participants to explore how they can consolidate their ideas, thinking and reflections during their learning to better equip themselves as leaders and continue to create public value.

    Program Close

    The Program close is the final session for the Executive Excellence program. This session will include a wrap-up of the program, a presentation of adaptive challenge findings to SMC and the program evaluation.

  • This program is for executives and executive directors who:

    • Have been in their current level for 12 months and have been identified by their chief executive as ready and capable to take on a more complex system leadership role within the next one to two years
    • Are respected by colleagues and have a track record of effectively delivering on complex matters
    • Have demonstrated ability to think and operate strategically and innovatively with a strong focus on delivering for South Australia
    • Are committed to developing themselves and others
    • Have proven agility and success in dealing with multiple stakeholders, including ministers
    • Are role models for the South Australian Public Sector Values.
  • Nominations for the 2020 program will open in December 2020. If you would like to be notified when they open, please register your interest here.

    Please note, your agency chief executive needs to endorse your nomination.

  • This program runs for 9 months.

    The investment for the 2019 program was $11,500 (plus GST) per person, plus transport, accommodation costs and incidentals for interstate/overseas travel (if applicable).

  • Program dates for the 2021 program will be released in December 2020.

  • Keynote speakers for the 2021 program will be announced in December 2020.

  • Workshop Facilitators for the 2021 program will be announced in December 2020.

  • We value your questions and feedback. Please direct any general enquiries to the Executive Excellence project team via email at: OCPSEExecutiveExcellence@sa.gov.au

    Surlinne Sims
    Principal Leadership Development Consultant
    (w) 8204 2276  (m) 0420 426 635  (e) Surlinne.Sims@sa.gov.au

    Tracy Nissen
    Senior Leadership Development Consultant
    (w)  8204 2275  (e) Tracy.Nissen@sa.gov.au