Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Leadership expert joins ANZSOG

Leadership development expert, Suzi Finkelstein, has joined ANZSOG’s Executive Fellows Program (EFP) as co-director alongside former CEO of the UK National School of Government, Robin Ryde.

ANZSOG says Ms Finkelstein is a highly accomplished CEO and Executive Director with over 20 years of experience in public and private sector leadership development, specialising in inclusive leadership. She is currently head of Suzi Finkelstein Advisory and is the former head of the Australian School of Applied Management and Women & Leadership Australia.

She said that the public sector is in a time of change and that its need to make space for reflection and innovation, and leaders need to focus on inclusivity, psychological safety and creating a good culture to be effective.

Ms Finkelstein said that she was attracted to the opportunity to lead the EFP because it covered the three levels required to create timely and impactful leadership, and focused on understanding the self as well as the system leaders were in.

“The work I’ve done over the years shows that if you don’t start with understanding self, and who you are as a leader, you are very limited in your leadership capability and your ability to do that transformational leadership,” she said.

“I’ve coached hundreds of people in the public sector over the last ten years and I’ve seen a real shift, and a really encouraging shift, in terms of understanding that leadership is not just about being a subject matter expert.

“There is a real focus on understanding who you are as a leader and on people management, focusing on team functionality, creating psychological safety, and really taking time to understand where people are and what they need.”

ANZSOG’s EFP offers a dynamic and interactive learning experience where participants learn from the course co-ordinators, their peers, and guest presenters including renowned academics and senior public sector practitioners from Australia, Aotearoa New Zealand and around the world.

The EFP challenges senior public sector executives to develop new leadership perspectives in a highly interactive setting while exploring contemporary issues, such as the post-COVID environment, social movements, civil unrest, and preparedness amidst the global spectre of war.

The 2023 programme will be a mix of online an in-person sessions, with intensives to be held in Sydney and Canberra.

Ms Finkelstein’s academic studies and ongoing research have helped inform a rigorous, evidence-based approach to her work and an understanding of how people can change and grow, as well as importance of diversity and inclusion in building successful organisations.

She said that being CEO of the global leadership development company WLA during the pandemic had demonstrated to her the value of creating and communicating a ‘future focus’ even during unpredictable times.

“Creating a vision, and ensuring it was translated and communicated in all different forms and forums was a challenge. I learnt that although clarity was key – that wasn’t enough because I needed to create ownership, and ultimately accountability, for our commitments on these milestones,” she said.

She said that the public sector had been able to use the pandemic to work differently and to experiment with new ideas, and that progress needed to continue.

“One of the things that COVID-19 has taught the public sector is that we can lead in a different environment and be focused more on meeting people’s needs and bringing them together, as well as trusting people with more autonomy,” she said.

“The public sector has to be able to react, but it also needs to be able to step back and ask has our vision and has our focus changed?”

“I still think that, compared to the private sector, it can be seen as a bit of a luxury to have space for blue sky thinking, or to step back, challenge assumptions and look at how we can improve or where we need to go. It takes courage for a leader to hold that space and say this is an important part of what we do.”

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