Why have we created this program?

Social Leadership Australia believes that we need a game-changer to make progress on the types of complex challenges we face in achieving true reconciliation. This requires tackling the dynamic between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Indigenous Australians. The problem is not a lack of motivation, or will, or commitment to change. And it won't be solved just by more money, a new policy or another project. It's a problem of skills - leadership skills, skills that, we believe, can be taught.

> Read our blog post, 'Power and culture are stirring' to find out more.

Who are we to attempt this?

Why should you trust us to deliver a program like this? What do we know about leadership in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander space? Good questions!

Social Leadership Australia has been helping people work together to solve complex adaptive problems since 1999. We have many years experience working with a diversity of leaders and emerging leaders from across Australia's business, government and community sectors, through a range of public and customised programs, place-based and issues-focused initiatives and other co-designed leadership and change solutions. Over the years we have designed and delivered a number of adaptive leadership development initiatives especially for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and it's this experience that will inform our approach to Leading Together.

> Read what Grant Paulson says about his experience with us and leading outside the comfort zone here

What does Reconciliation Australia say?

Reconciliation Australia enthusiastically supports Leading Together because, in the words of their CEO, Leah Armstrong, "we believe it is a critical step towards achieving equity in partnerships and collaboration between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians."

About the program:

"Effective partnerships and collaborations are a prerequisite for reconciliation, however, such partnerships and collaborations are all too often characterised by a power imbalance between the collaborators. Reconciliation Australia believes that the Leading Together program is a game-changer in terms of developing real confidence that both sides are bringing real value to a partnership. In fact we believe Leading Together is more than a leadership program but rather an opportunity to develop true and equitable engagement opportunities; two-way engagement where both sides benefit and both sides learn."

About us:

"Social Leadership Australia is one of Australia's most experienced and accomplished agencies of change through leadership. Social Leadership Australia is an organisation which recognises the differences between management and leadership and encourages the values that Reconciliation Australia believes are essential in achieving our own vision of a reconciled, just and equitable Australia." 

What do we mean by 'the Indigenous cross-cultural space'?

Leading Together is intended for a diversity of black and white leaders and emerging leaders working on issues which require us to work with and across our different cultures. Some of the areas you might be working in are:

  • Business - Reconciliation Action Plans, equitable workplace practice, stakeholder or community engagement, economic development
  • Whole of community approaches to government policy implementation, for example Local Solutions, the creation of shared purpose and working collaboratively
  • Closing The Gap initiatives in health, education, community safety, employment, housing, or drugs and alcohol
  • Legal issues such as Recognition, land rights, community legal centres, Legal Aid or other initiatives addressing the inequitable representation of Indigenous people in the legal system
  • Culture and identity (film, TV, radio, the visual arts, music, dance), language, heritage and tourism
  • Environment and place.

What to expect on the program

Leading Together requires a commitment of 14 days between May and October 2014, including a day of one-on-one coaching. The program will bring together a diverse cohort of leaders and emerging leaders from across the business, government and not-for-profit sectors and provide a intensive learning experience in a non-traditional classroom style of teaching. It includes:

  • Four retreats in Sydney, Brisbane and Alice Springs featuring group work but also involving guest speakers from local communities who will reflect candidly about their experience leading adaptation across cultures.
  • In Alice Springs we will work with a live case study - learning 'from' and 'with' people who are trying to do something different in their community across black and white culture.
  • The experience in Central Australia is intended to aid our exploration of the issues faced in remote communities (and because there is so much focus on Central Australia in our understanding of 'Indigenous' Australia.)
  • Over the length of the program we will focus on three core themes, deepening the work at each stage:
    1. Creating a 'holding' environment in your organisation or community to enable adaptive change across cultures. This is a learning process to work creatively with conflict, experiment and practise new ways of engaging
    2. Recognising and working with power, rank and authority and
    3. Working with complexity and difference, across culture, to get to somewhere new.

Please contact us to find out more about what to expect on the program and discuss whether or not this is something for you.

Get in touch

Download a flyer or contact Lauren Heyligers, Program Coordinator, for any enquiries lauren.heyligers@benevolent.org.au or 02 8262 3588.