Leadership for cross-sectoral challenges

Tuesday 15 October 2019
National Portrait Gallery, Canberra, ACT

Leadership for cross-sectoral challenges

Building trust, resilience and innovation across government, not-for-profit and business organisations

Why is true collaboration across the sectors so hard?

Most complex challenges require cross-sectoral approaches to generate critical conversations required for progress. For values-based issues, simply transferring technical management practices from one sector to another isn’t enough, whether it be governance structures or business practices. Instead, we need to get beyond agendas to see how diversity of perspectives can lead to smart solutions.

What to expect

Mandarin Live is hosting this day of presentations and workshop activities bringing together practitioners from across public, private, non-government and academic sectors to explore new ways of generating collaboration across sectors. Participants will be invited to work their own cross-sectoral leadership challenges in a workshop environment focused on sharing alternative perspectives and developing innovative approaches.

The day is programmed and led by Dr Paul Porteous who has a wealth of cross-sectoral, stakeholder engagement and leadership experience (see profile below). The day aims to be a discovery process engaging an expert-led panel, providing strategic thinking on collaboration and leadership and small group workshops. Its focus is on real world examples and practical activities.

The day begins from the premise that cross-sectoral collaboration is a continuous discovery and learning dynamic. However, the story each sector represents to others often merges into stereotypes that act as obstacles for cross-sector collaboration. In that context, generic consultative and engagement processes become ineffective, seemingly designed to reduce opposition rather than generate new approaches. Instead, keeping the key issues central allows groups to engage in community building where progress relies not just on fixing a problem, but rather expanding problem-solving capabilities.

The format will be part thought-leadership style with provoking panel discussions and presentations to better understand cross-sectoral practice, and part workshop with activities to allow participants to apply the concepts to their own leadership challenges.

What will the day’s program look like?

9:00 – 9:30 Registration & Welcome Coffee
9:30 – 9:45 Welcome and Overview
9:45 – 10:45 Panel Discussion:
Cross Sectoral relations – Diagnosis – what works, doesn’t work, what’s missing
10:45 – 11:00 Morning Tea
11:00- 12:30 Group Work
Groups share their “challenge” and the implications for making progress from the lessons learnt in panel discussions
12:30 – 1:15 Lunch
1:15 – 2:15 Thoughts: Reflection session on core issues and current dynamics in engaging communities, working across boundaries and suggested diagnostic structure
2:15 – 3:00 Panel Discussion:
Taking action – including Stakeholder engagement – what works and the evidence-base
3:00 – 4:00 Small Group Work
Groups share their “challenge” and the implications for making progress from the lessons learnt in panel discussions
4:00 – 4:30 Open discussion on implications, and identifying key questions and possible actions to progress their challenge. Summary and wrap-up

About the lead facilitator

Dr Paul Porteous is Director of the Centre for Social Leadership and has extensive cross-sectoral experience in Australia, the United States, South-East Asia, China, Middle East, Europe and Africa. He has been Visiting Faculty at Harvard Kennedy School and a Fellow at Harvard’s Center for Public Leadership, a senior diplomat and international lawyer, representative to numerous international organisations including the United Nations and the International Court of Justice, and Senior Advisor to the President of Madagascar. Paul has extensive experience working in the Australian government and in executive positions in the not-for-profit sector.

What will be some of the outcomes from the day for you?

Understand cross-sectoral dynamics and the nature of change
Distinguish between transactional and learning approaches
Integrate cross-sectoral approaches into your existing work
Shift from reactive, top-down approaches to dynamic engagement
Identify new opportunities which emerge from reframing challenges
Leverage diversity as central to innovation and creativity
Understand and overcome obstacles to cross-sector collaboration
Craft actions to generate meaningful engagement.

Who will you hear from and interact with on the day?


Dr Paul Porteous, Lead facilitator
Verona Burgess, Public Sector Journalist


Diana Abdel-Rahman OAM, President Australian Muslim Voice
David Crosbie, CEO Community Council of Australia
John Falzon OAM, former CEO St Vincent de Paul Society
Prof. Kristy Muir, CEO Centre for Social Impact

Who would find this event suitable?

Public servants, both managers and senior executives, needing to work with business and the not-for-profit sector
Managers and executives in NGOs
Private sector firms and consultants working with government
Higher education management and faculty needing to engage with their community