The Department of the Taoiseach plays an important strategic role in supporting the work of the Taoiseach and the Government in resolving the challenges of the economic crisis, implementing the Programme for Government and in building a fairer society and a better future for Ireland.
"Embarking on the Leadership Programme presented both an opportunity and a challenge in 2012 and we relied heavily on the expertise and experience of UCD Smurfit School in our approach to the programme. The programme is playing an instrumental role in meeting our organisational objectives successfully."
Martin Fraser, Secretary General, Department of the Taoiseach
In July 2012, the department issued a request for tender for the design and facilitation of a leadership programme for members of the Management Advisory Committee (MAC) and Principal Officers. The Leadership Programme was planned following a period of considerable change within the department including restructuring, alignment with the new Government’s strategic objectives, and change to senior positions. There was also a requirement to balance the need for high-quality service provision with the need to ensure value-for-money.
Our approach to this programme began with ensuring that participants could assess and reflect on their development needs and then use this understanding and learning to improve their own leadership capability within their respective roles and the challenges that confront them. This was achieved through initial one-to-one meetings with each of the participants followed by the completion of a 360-degree assessment instrument and a one-to-one debriefing.
In parallel, we designed a programme of instruction and experiences to ensure that the key organisational objectives of the Department are met. The programme is designed to be highly interactive and is based on the latest Social Science research in the fields of leadership, strategy and change. To underpin the achievement of organisational objectives, we then worked on designing action-learning parallels of significance to the department so that the participants could work together, deploying new behaviour and ensuring delivery of organisational objectives. This action-learning parallel has been developed in close consultation with the department and is based on resolving/addressing key issues/challenges faced.
As participants are undergoing this series of challenges, we employ individual coaching with participants to equip them through their transition. Finally, when the programme is completed, we conduct follow-up with each participant to assess the impact of the programme on their leadership style and managerial capability.
The programme from the outset has set out to promote a progressive and innovative leadership and management culture throughout the department as a means of enhancing organisational performance, developing current and emerging leaders, and enhancing the qualities and behaviours of leadership and management across the department.
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