A memo from the CEO

The 2024 Leadership Summit was held in Launceston of March 24-26. Quite incredibly, and despite regular separate gatherings, this is the first time prominent Australian leadership academics and leadership development practitioners have come together for a meaningful dialogue on the current and desired state of leadership development in this country. The Summit’s clear and overriding goal was to enhance leadership development practice.

Given the magnitude of the event, the ARLF sent a solid contingent of team members to the conference including our Director, Learning Andrea Hogg who was part of the Summit working group. I would like to pass on my thanks to Andrea and the team for their work behind the scenes both at the event and during the organising stages. 

ARLF associates Benny Callaghan and Tanya Lehmann with Director of Learning Andrea Hogg and Manager of Learning Andrew Bryant.

Is collectiveness the key?

So what did we learn? Firstly, it is clear that despite the great work of all concerned, the leadership development sector in Australia is split along academic and practitioner lines. Indeed if we consider leadership development from theory to practice, we are probably not a sector at all presently. We also know that there is a large private sector group of practitioners, largely working within corporate Australia not really represented at all at the Summit. While this is alarming, it also presents a significant opportunity to improve leadership development practice in Australia. As such our heartfelt thanks go out to our colleagues at Leadership Tasmania (and my good friend Angela Driver) and the University of Tasmania for generating and co-hosting this event.

A clear area of focus and much agreement between all participants at the Summit related to a growing contemporary consensus around leadership – that while it remains a process and practice of social influence, it is increasingly regarded as a collective act and not an individual one. Old models of ‘hero’ based, leadership with a focus on and through to individual to influence change, do not stack up over time or in most situations. While its absolutely critical in terms of leadership development to grow the behavioural intelligence of individuals, the purpose of this growth is to better contribute, with others, to social change and adaptation (in a myriad of ways including from the international stage to community, sector and organisation).

This thinking has increasingly influenced the work of the ARLF. Rural, regional and remote Australia faces many complex challenges from being at the bleeding edge of the effects of a changing climate to ingrained disparity with our urban cousins in terms of access to services. If we are indeed to realise our vision of a thriving rural, regional and remote Australia, then we need to improve leadership practice more broadly and foster networks of impact across the country. This is why it is as important to bring diverse groups of leaders across the country together in shared experiences like the ARLP, Milparanga, AALP and TRAIL as it is to work within regions and sectors like our work in helping regions build resilience across programs like Helping Regional Communities Prepare for Drought Initiative and Leading Australian Resilient Communities.

Moreover, the work we do within these programs and initiatives was grown and developed too. We spend as much or more time within the window of opportunity these programs offer providing opportunities for participants to understand, work with, support, challenge and develop networks of change with others as we do focusing on them and their own leadership maturity. As we learn and grow from these experiences as a team, we will continue to identify innovative ways to create learning experiences that provide a great opportunity for people to work in different ways to meet the challenges and thrive.

Milparanga Established alum Adam Gowen, delivering his key note speech on day one of the summit.

ARLF to host the 2025 Leadership Summit

They say a rising tide lifts all boats and we are determined play a part in sustaining that tide. As a result, I am very pleased to announce that ARLF will be hosting the next chapter of the Leadership Summit in 2025.

We as a team are looking forward to welcoming new and familiar faces to the 2025 event and continue the impactful discussions and learnings that we observed in Launceston. 

Stay tuned for more details over the coming months. 

ARLF staff and associates at the conclusion of the Summit which was held in the new University of Tasmania campus is Launceston.
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