13 JULY, 2021


Queensland Department of Emergency Services

Charged with the task or protecting communities from burgeoning crises, one organisation had the strength to address its weaknesses.

Tipping point

Unique in Australia, QDES covers all phases of emergency and disaster management, from prevention and preparedness to response and recovery.

Its central complex provides integrated accommodation, communication and coordination across all emergency services.

Having been through a major change, QDES realised it needed a dramatic shift in the thinking, approach and culture of its executive group and senior management team.

QDES therefore engaged DeakinCo to create a strategic Executive Leadership Program.

Assembly point

DeakinCo collaborated with QDES stakeholders to deliver a bespoke, end-to-end education solution.

The program was designed to explore QDES’s leadership strengths and weaknesses, give participants a comprehensive approach to performance management and identify ways to enhance their capacity to meet growing community needs and expectations.

It also provided professional development opportunities for senior managers via accreditation into university award programs.

The result comprised two tiers.

The Senior Executive Tier focused on work teams and what needed to be done at a practical level to aid the organisation’s transformation.

This tier comprised team retreats, regular book and journal reviews, a leadership newsletter and 360 degree feedback on leadership and benchmarking practices.

The Senior Management Tier was designed to facilitate a strategic approach to individual leadership development. Participants reflected on and compared their leadership styles with best-practice models and examples.

This tier comprised four two-day modules: Personal Mastery, Business Mastery, Team Mastery and Strategic Planning, Performance Measurement and Management.

These practical, highly interactive modules were underpinned by rigorous management methodology. Each built towards the goal of effective, strategic leadership that reflected the capabilities QDES had defined and desired.

Both program tiers included workplace improvement projects and self-directed education (supported and moderated by print and online materials).

Point of difference

The program successfully refocused its target audiences, from the Chief Commissioner down. Despite initial reluctance, some participants became keenly interested in the university courses to which DeakinCo had articulated the program.

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