In today’s rapidly changing business environment, a fresh, more dynamic approach to leadership is required to overcome the complex challenges facing modern organisations.

Adaptive Leadership theory offers a practical framework and philosophy that helps individuals and organisations adapt and thrive in challenging environments, a leadership model more relevant today than ever before.

The Benevolent Society’s Social Leadership Australia (SLA) is offering a two-day Adaptive Leadership for Social Impact Masterclass, designed to develop the leadership capacity of senior people from across the corporate, government and not-for-profit sectors. It has particular appeal for those who are seeking to develop new leadership thinking and practice and the opportunity to step outside the four walls of their organisation to learn with and from people from sectors other than their own.

The Adaptive Leadership model is a diagnostic framework originally developed by Ronald Heifetz and Marty Linsky from Harvard Business School that provides insight and tools that, when applied, enable a deeper understanding of the complex systemic challenges that organisations face.


Invest in yourself and create significant change in your work and life with the Sydney Leadership program!

Sydney Leadership is the Benevolent Society’s annual leadership program run by Social Leadership Australia. Social Leadership Australia has become a catalyst for positive change in society, providing opportunities for personal and professional growth that inspire and connect exceptional individuals and organisations who share the passion for creating a better world. 

Sydney Leadership’s unique approach to leadership development goes beyond technical expertise. The program combines cutting edge learning methodologies with world class facilitation and teaching which uses the Harvard Adaptive Leadership model as a mechanism for engaging with complex social issues and developing skills for exercising leadership for social impact. The program is for people from across the NGO, Corporate and Government sectors who are authorised to lead change, often complex and adaptive change. People who are seeking new ways to exercise the type of leadership required to mobilise others for sustainable change.


Rosamund Christie, Program Manager of Sydney Leadership on the Sydney Leadership experience:

"Surrendering yourself to a program in which you are encouraged to abandon certainty and to accept that exercising leadership does not come with easy answers is the experience of Sydney Leadership.

As the Program Manager, I watch participants engage with complex ideas and work slowly to diagnose and hypothesise before moving to action in exercising leadership. There is nothing that participants encounter that does not test their assumptions and force them to look closely at themselves. They are taken out of their comfort zones, developing new skills, and furthering their understanding of the purpose and meaning of their leadership work.


Jo Toohey, CEO of The Benevolent Society, on the Sydney Leadership program

Driven by the instinct that achieving social change requires a different type of leadership, in 1999 the CEO and Board Chair of The Benevolent Society started the Sydney Leadership Program to build a generation of Australian leaders with the capacities and skills to make a difference.

In a time of rapid transformation, that instinct holds true.  Australia is one of the most prosperous nations in the world and yet we are beset by a range of challenges – from rising inequality to successive crises in child protection to increasing ambivalence with the performance of the major political parties.  We have a renewed need for a generation of leaders that can confront long running challenges in a new climate.

As CEO of Australia’s first charity, The Benevolent Society, a for purpose organisation that believes in a just society where all Australians can live their best life, I see how difficult life can be for some people but how leadership can and does make things happen for the better. You can be a leader who makes a difference.


Saul Brown

Getting below the surface to the real work of innovation.

The iceberg is a common metaphor used to explore the dynamics of groups. Ninety per cent of what is going on is underwater. Mobilising groups for innovation requires leadership equipped with a mask and snorkel. Yet most focus above the surface on a technical approach, planning and process and the like, and wonder why it all becomes too hard. Those that can get under the surface a little and work with the social and political dynamics more often find a way to muddle through.

Julie Ahern

Dear Alumnus, partners and supporters

By now you will be aware that Geoff Aigner has resigned from Social Leadership Australia to take up a new and exciting role in social innovation and that I have been appointed as Acting Director at SLA.  

This is a unique opportunity for me and I look forward to continuing the good work of SLA, including Sydney Leadership, our other Public Programs, Customised and Cross Cultural work.

As we transition to the new arrangements, all of us at SLA wish to acknowledge Geoff’s achievements during his 9 years here, which include taking SLA to new communities and new practices, developing offerings in the cross cultural and collaborative leadership space and improving the relevance and viability of the enterprise to create a thriving business.

I look forward to your continued support as part of our valued community and hope to see you soon at one of our next events. 

Warm regards


Geoff recently caught up with Julie Diamond to talk more about power, her new book and how we can bring more awareness and insight into how we use our power in the world.

julie diamond, power

Enter the word ‘leadership’ into Google and you’ll come up with 479,000,000 hits. It must be one of the most written about topics with new material coming out all the time through training programs, conferences, books and (dare I say it) blogs. Yet despite this huge amount of material, my experience is that a number of myths about leadership persist.


I am honoured to be standing here today with the Graduating Sydney Leadership Cohort of 2015.

You are a group of people who are wise, caring, successful, skilled and motivated to do something for yourselves & the world. You were all these things before you met us. And with all those gifts and skills you were willing to tolerate coming into a space of learning for a significant part of your lives. And, as you have learnt, real learning is not easy. A deep acknowledgement to you.

Creative Commons flickr : Ted & Dani Percival

Many of the individuals and corporations we have worked with are genuinely asking themselves the big questions: "Can we do more than think about profits? And if we didn’t just think about money could we (counter intuitively) be more profitable?"