Strategic Leadership Program

Ben Roulston

By Ben Roulston, Thinka Co-founder,
1 January 2024

Thinka’s Strategic Leadership Program helps senior leaders build capability in strategic thinking

The objective of this program is to build thinking, problem-solving and decision-making capability in executive leaders. By presenting a real business problem to solve, leaders work on this problem in projects, as part of a ‘hackathon’ activity, and present solutions back to the business in final presentations – with the solution moving into execution to make a real, tangible difference.

I was surprised (read ‘blown away’) by the support given by your Team. Ben is not only a great teacher and mentor but is SO supportive on a personal and emotional level also. Ben has the knack of connecting with people of vastly different personalities (within the one team), which allows them to learn in their own way and get the best out of the Program. We have seen 11 people change significantly in our time with Thinka.

Stage II
Program Purpose

This Strategic Leadership Program empowers senior leaders to develop a strategic mindset so they can make intelligent decisions and implement business strategy. It is designed to help leaders in all industries uplift their skills in critical thinking, decision-making and exercising sound judgement. Whether your leaders are just starting out or have been in these positions for some time, our program helps them grow more sophisticated thinking skills.

Working with organisations across Australia, we know that leaders face unique challenges. Here’s a few of them:

  1. Managing multiple stakeholders: Senior leaders often have to balance the needs of multiple stakeholders, including customers, shareholders and employees. In today’s fast-paced business environment, leaders must adapt to constantly changing circumstances and, at the same time, service all stakeholders.
  2. Balancing priorities: Balancing work responsibilities is challenging for most people, but senior and executive leaders are more likely to juggle competing priorities. Managing commitments and priorities across career and home can make it hard for senior leaders to establish work-life balance, leading to feelings of stress and fatigue.
  3. Technology and rise of AI: Advancements in technology and the way we work will automate more manual work, changing job roles and what organisations consider valuable. Senior leaders with skills in strategic planning and strategic management will become increasingly desirable.
  4. Complex world of work: Living in a ‘VUCA’ (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) environment means that senior leaders need to be able to cope with a changing environment that presents constant challenges. Covid recovery, economic instability and hybrid working call for strategic thinking capabilities in senior leaders – to make sure the organisation can lead through change.
  5. Complex macro environment: Senior leaders are dealing with rapid technological change, a fluctuating economy, and rising expectations from organisations. Senior and executive leadership teams must adapt constantly and be aware of change before it happens. Skills in adaptability and strategic leadership need to be applied frequently – and often – in response to uncertain and complex conditions.

Overall, these challenges can make it difficult for senior leaders when leading change and implementing key strategic initiatives. However, with the right support such as a tailored Strategic Leadership Program and coaching sessions, senior leaders can overcome these barriers and build supportive relationships to make change together.

Program Benefits

With the help of the Strategic Leadership Program, leaders will explore these fundamentals to enhance their leadership capability:

  1. Critical thinking: When organisations invest in developing senior leaders’ thinking capabilities, it helps to set the scene for better decision making. Instead of moving too fast into ‘solution mode’, leaders properly assess problems and work through possible solutions to move forward with confidence. 
  2. Problem-solving: New markets, technologies and opportunities call for complex problem solving. Organisations are better equipped to deal with ongoing change when they have strong skills in assessing the root cause of a problem, applying strategies to solve problems, and sharing learning experiences with colleagues. 
  3. Becoming active learners: Active learning is a critical skill for senior leaders in today’s work environment, as they often need to upskill quickly on trends and developments to offer new insights. Leaders develop these skills by keeping an open mind, seeking out new opportunities, and developing a range of learning strategies. 
  4. Cognitive flexibility: Effective leaders can flex their thinking; anticipating challenges and seeking new opportunities to achieve outcomes. Leaders can improve these skills by being prepared to challenge the status quo when the market shifts and being prepared to flex on plans to get traction on initiatives. 
  5. Decision making: Leaders make well-considered decisions with confidence when they’re prepared and see all points of view. Employees can build this this capability by working through different scenarios, researching and establishing best practice, and by weighing up both positive and negative impacts.

By developing competencies in these practical skills, senior and executive leaders can become better strategic leaders and impact business sustainability in positive ways.

Program FAQs

What is a Strategic Leadership Program?

Our Strategic Leadership Program is a professional development course specifically designed to support those in senior leadership positions. It aims to provide participants with the skills, tools, resources and confidence necessary to develop effective leadership practices. Our specialist facilitators have worked with many leaders across Australia and draw from these experiences to offer meaningful advice, practical strategies, and case studies to learn from.

Why should my organisation offer a Strategic Leadership Program?

Being part of the Strategic Leadership Program can help senior leaders develop skills, access mentoring and build partnerships across a supportive community of peers. It can also help participants to challenge themselves to uplift critical thinking capabilities, so they can better cope with the demands of senior leadership. The networking opportunities are crucial to helping leaders help each other.

Who can attend an Strategic Leadership Program?

This Strategic Leadership Program is designed for senior leaders entering into or who are part of a senior or executive management team. The skills we focus on build competencies in tackling strategic and organisational matters, as well as building a more well-rounded, robust leadership style.

Are Strategic Leadership Programs only available in person?

Our Strategic Leadership Program can be delivered face-to-face or as online learning – depending on the organisation’s set-up. It is typically made up of a series of workshops and/or webinars with case studies and tools to support real world application – so leaders can apply strategies in their management roles right away. Often these are complemented by coaching sessions with a Thinka coach. Coaching plays an important role in challenging old behaviours and supporting leadership development in each of the participants. Organisations might also opt for a blended program that makes use of eLearning modules and other forms of media.

Program Case Study

Senior Leaders Forum with Struber


1. What was the objective?

Struber delivered a Senior Leaders Forum for 15 leaders in the Yarra Valley, Victoria, Australia, over three days – focusing on empowerment, growth and elevating leadership capability. This short course was branded ‘Kulin – Brighter, Bolder, Better Getaway’. Struber enlisted Thinka’s help to deliver two workshop experiences on two days based on these learning outcomes: ‘Leading Self’ and ‘Empowering Others’.

2. How did we do it?

For the ‘Leading Self’ workshop, we talked about self awareness and leading with vulnerability. We also explored the importance of building trust with your team to elevate performance, promote empathy and demonstrate emotional agility.

Participants reflected on their personal leadership brand and how this reflects their priorities, values and promises they make. This was followed by an activity and the establishing of commitments where each senior leader identified initiatives they would be responsible for and their accountability to these.

Throughout this workshop, the learning activities and language linked back to Struber’s ‘Seven Mantras’. Application tools were provided as takeaway references to help participants practise and apply these leadership skills on the job.

In the ‘Empower Others’ workshop, leaders learned about cultivating psychological safety to build trust in their teams. They realised the differences between managing and leading – to push past ‘manager-mode’ and elevate capability.

Senior leaders learned about empowering others to build ‘Impact Players’ – leaders who stretch themselves to deliver results. They explored giving feedback, problem solving and taking ownership and responsibility – while creating an environment of ‘safety and stretch’.

3. How was it integrated and what were the results?

The workshops were facilitated over three days with positive results. Feedback from participants included:

“I loved it. I wish it was longer!”

“Loved the facilitators. They were engaging and gave everyone the opportunity to ask questions.”

“I think it was a great balance of content and workshop.”

“Loved the whole thing. There was an amazing vibe in the room.”

Example program

Month 1

Deep listening and clarity through empathy

Learning how to listen and hold space for others.

  • Pre-program interview
  • Program roadmap
  • Induction
  • Virtual workshop
  • Project work
  • Communities of practice

Month 2

Transparency and perspective taking

Seeing the value of different points of view.

  • Virtual workshop
  • Project work
  • Communities of practice
  • 1:1 coaching

Month 3

Ideation and adding value to strategic conversations

Diverging to think through problems.

  • In person activity: Hackathon (Part 1)
  • Project work
  • Communities of practice

Month 4

Decision-making and problem-solving

Converging to validate solutions.

  • In person activity: Hackathon (Part 2)
  • Project work
  • Communities of practice

Month 5

Influencing and negotiation skills

Pitching a case and backing it with confidence.

  • Virtual workshop
  • Project work
  • Communities of practice
  • 1:1 coaching

Month 6

Strategic foresight and communicating a vision

Presenting a vision that is future ready.

  • In person presentations
  • Debrief of presentation


Delivery Options

In Person Program

Virtual Program

Hybrid Program

Key Outcomes

1. An executive team who can craft a well-considered vision.

2. An executive team who can operationalise strategy for action.

3. An executive team who can positively influence culture and climate.

4. An executive team who can drive innovation and forward-thinking.

5. An executive team who isn’t afraid of ambiguity and can navigate it.

Possible Inclusions

1. Program roadmap

2. Induction

3. Welcome box

4. Workshops

5. Activities (e.g. Hackathon)

6. Guest speakers

7. Tools for application

8. Assets (e.g. eLearning, video)

9. Coaching

10. Participant management

Target Audience

Executive leaders

Our in-person delivery option maximises opportunities for robust conversation, experiential activities and intensive group work. This is no ‘death by PowerPoint’ experience – our facilitators are skilled in presenting and leading immersive experiences that get the most out of people. Supported by multimedia, attractive takeaway pages and practical strategies for using back on the job – this in-person approach is valuable for building strong bonds and bringing people together to collaborate.
Our virtual delivery option breathes fresh life into the online experience with its almost ‘radio show’ feel. Our expert facilitators use a combination of multimedia, questioning techniques and break out activities to target micro-skills – with a focus on application. Supported by an online platform hosting custom-built materials, participants can be assured of lively, dynamic sessions that have a distinct bias to action. Going virtual keeps program sessions succinct, sharp and focused on targeting particular skills in a dynamic way.
A hybrid model takes the best of in-person and virtual delivery options and blends them together, so there’s a healthy mix of face to face collaboration and targeted skill building. Depending on the program themes, we work with you to decide what is better suited to getting together in a training space versus what would sit comfortably in an online setting. This flexible combination allows you and your team to get the best of both worlds.
Executive leaders are key drivers in a business who actively design vision and strategy, so as to achieve business outcomes. They will cascade this information to middle managers, team leaders and teams, so it is important that they are able to engage in critical thinking, problem solving and decision-making to influence effectively.