Our Expertise

Mission Statement

Our Unique Expertise: Adaptive Leadership and Vertical Development

The Leaders Institute of South Australia is the State’s premier leadership development organisation, renowned for its unique flagship program – the Governor’s Leadership Foundation – and its growing suite of public and tailored in-house programs for the development of established and emerging leaders.

We stand out from the mainstream because of our unique approach. We focus on, and are highly experienced in, building and enhancing adaptive leadership capacity - the practice of mobilising people to tackle tough challenges and thrive (Heifetz, Grashow & Linsky, 2009).

Organisations face both technical and adaptive issues. Technical problems (even though they may be complex) can be solved with existing knowledge and procedures, whereas adaptive challenges require new learning, creativity, innovation and new patterns of behaviour. They often appear as swamp issues – tangled, complex, involving multiple systems. They call for changes of heart and mind, for seeing the world differently – and often require difficult adjustments to behaviour. 

The development of skills in recognising and responding to adaptive challenges requires what has become known as 'vertical' development - growth in a person’s way of constructing meaning and making sense of the world. Such growth is reflected in an evolving capacity for abstraction and strategic foresight, for coping with complexity, being able to integrate multiple perspectives and systems, challenge existing ways of thinking, taking a long-range perspective and a willingness to experiment. Such capacity is clearly critical for the problem-solving, community engagement and positive cultural change work of organisations today. At the Leaders Institute of SA, this is both our focus and forte! 

We also recognise that technical skills, such as strategic thinking and planning, awareness of the legislative context, governance, decision-making etc., are vitally important for effective leadership - and of course, adaptive and technical skills are not mutually exclusive. It is for this reason that we have formed strong partnerships with a host of highly qualified, experienced and well-regarded leadership consultants with the technical skills and adaptive capacity to work with us on the development and delivery of all of our unique programs. This means that we are able to provide innovative, holistic leadership development solutions.

If you are ready to grow your consciousness as well as your skills, be challenged and pushed out of your comfort zone, develop new perspectives and take your personal and professional growth to another level, you will definitely find a leadership development program or coaching option here that is the right fit for you.