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Leadership Development

Ministers can count on us to extend a results approach beyond the defined 'list' so it becomes integral to all and becomes a characteristic of public services activity. Our organisations need to review how we do things, evaluating the effectiveness and efficiency of how we currently operate within baselines. We need to develop organisational capability to more effectively use data and information, produce more impactful policy proposals, and implement change better than in the past. We need to be able to change more quickly to better service a diverse and changing community. Leadership development is key to ensuring the system develops in this direction and is strongly enshrined in a customer-centred approach that means the system understands and prioritises the concerns and opportunities that matter most to New Zealanders and will make the biggest difference .

For change to occur, organisations need to be well, and differently, led. This has implications for the very large number of State servants who play leadership and other expert roles. Parliament provided the platform for a different approach to leadership development in amendments to the State Sector Act in 2013. Now it is up to us to make it happen. Developing leaders for the system, rather than for single agencies as in the past, is a major focus for us as a leadership group. This will have implications for Ministers too.

We are committed to building on existing initiatives which have included the establishment of Career Boards. Each Board focuses on developing leadership talent in a group of agencies, and the definition of key positions across the system as a focus for succession planning. We intend to greatly expand the number of potential successors for each of the 87 defined key positions, increase the number of agencies participating in the three Career Boards beyond the current 31, consolidate a Career Board for Auckland, and extend the work of the Career Boards to cover all tier 2 and 3 senior leaders.

Developing leaders will require much greater mobility between agencies as key public servants change roles to gain new perspectives, understanding and skills. This will impact on organisations as key agency leaders, and the investment made in them, move on to new roles. It will also impact on Ministers as trusted and knowledgeable advisors move on. Adjusting to this will be challenging for Ministers as much as for chief executives and other State servants, but the immediate difficulties are outweighed by the overall gains from better investment in leadership development.

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