LEADING COLLABORATIONS: Intensive workshop – Making Collaborations Work: practical applied leadership for collaboration & systems change

Learn how to apply emerging theory and practice to build and develop your cross-sector collaboration for systems change – the type of impact that improves outcomes for whole populations or generations by changing the underlying conditions, behaviour and relationships.

Offering a combination of individual and group learning, practical frameworks and practice sessions, this intensive workshop will teach you about the leadership skills, and the tools and processes required to establish, grow and scale your collaborative initiative effectively.

Register now!


14 & 15 March, 9:30am - 5:00pm


Sydney CBD


“Effective backbone support is a critical condition for collective impact.
In fact, the lack of a strong backbone is the number one reason that collective impact initiatives fail.”
— Collective Impact Forum

Whether your collaboration is using a formal Collective Impact approach or is working to align current activities for greater impact, the role of co-ordinating collaboration is critical. Many collaborations make the mistake of seeing this role as a ‘secretariat’ function—which only contributes to the struggle to make progress. The role of leading and co-ordinating collaborations is vastly different to business as usual. Being a backbone, convenor or coordinator of a collaboration trying to tackle complex challenges requires different approaches, skills, practices and mindsets from coordinating collaborative responses to service delivery. One requires us to respond, the other requires us to change. This intensive will equip you with the tools, processes and most importantly the leadership practice to play the multiple roles of: neutral convenor, enabler, listener, bridge, broker, overseer, facilitator, catalyser and sustainer.


This workshop will be an intensive two-day learning experience. Through a combination of individual and group learning, practical frameworks and practice sessions, we will provide you with an understanding of the latest emerging practice in collaboration for systems change. You will be expected to come with a live challenge or opportunity you are facing. The presenters will enable group peer learning as well as providing strategic guidance and practice input on your case, where useful. The intensive will focus on the nine core capabilities required to make collaborations work:

  • adaptive leadership
  • community mobilisation
  • collaboration
  • design
  • innovation
  • measurement and evaluation
  • mindset and culture
  • resource mobilisation
  • systems thinking

After this intensive, you can opt into a reduced-rate a 90-minute, personalised, one-on-one coaching session with one of the presenters to work specifically on your challenges and help you to apply your learnings.


The collaborative leadership intensive is an ideal learning opportunity for:

  • people working in NGOs, community organisations, government, philanthropy, businesses, or learning institutions who are involved in cross sector/interest collaborations that are trying to achieve systems change on complex issues
  • backbone leaders
  • collaboration co-ordinators
  • members of collaborative leadership groups

Learning Objectives:

Learn how to develop leadership at all levels of your collaborative initiative. Using Collaboration for Impact (CFI)’s Collaborative Change Cycle, the collaborative leadership intensive will build your skills in working in complex collaborative change processes, with a focus on the application of the adaptive leadership work involved at the different stages of your collaboration such as:

  • understanding your local community and service system
  • tailoring your collaboration’s role, structure and functions to local conditions
  • applying adaptive leadership awareness and skills to directly to your collaboration
  • improving your understanding of collaborative dynamics and knowing how to lead in a systemic change initiative
  • practical skills for diagnosing and leading change in complexity
  • increasing your capacity to lead systems change and Collective Impact, including understanding systems and developing systemic thinking
  • facilitating the development of a learning culture amongst diverse interests and power
  • increasing your awareness of systemic and personal behaviour patterns
  • sustaining yourself and continuing to grow both personally and professionally


“Many thanks for the privilege of being part of the masterclass. It was probably the best learning session I have been to—ever (and with over 20 years of educational leadership I have been to many). The masterclass gave me and my co-collaborators a new lens through which to understand leading and working in complexity. We immediately applied the theory to our collaborative work, facilitating our local area group’s subsequent meeting using our adaptive leadership understanding, which resulted in a more collaborative response and commitment to the work."

—Previous leadership masterclass participant


Early bird ticket price = $810 + GST (4 weeks before intensive)
Full ticket price = $900 + GST

Important note: This workshop will only go ahead if a minimum of 30 people register.  To enquire about numbers please email admin@collaborationforimpact.com.

Optional addition: 6 weeks after the intensive you can book in a 1.5 hour coaching call at the reduced rate of $180.  Let us know at admin@collaborationforimpact.com if you are intersted.


Liz Skelton, Director and co-Founder Collaboration for Impact

Liz is the co-founder of Collaboration for Impact. She brings unique experience, skills and knowledge to the development of collaborations which enable cross stakeholder/sectors to change the way their systems work together to create positive social change.

Liz has a decade of experience in Adaptive Leadership, working with leaders in community, government and businesses across Australia to learn the theory and apply the practice of Adaptive Leadership to tackle their toughest challenges. She co-lead the establishment and growth of a national learning and consulting organisation (Social Leadership Australia).

For the past two years Liz  has been blending Adaptive Leadership with the Collective Impact Framework, applying this extensive practice to communities working collaboratively across Australia to achieve better outcomes

In 2013, she co-authored her first book, The Australian Leadership Paradox: What it takes to lead in the Lucky Country, together with Geoff Aigner, published by Allen & Unwin. Her latest book, Lost conversations: Finding new ways for black and white Australians to lead together, was launched in November 2014 and was co-authored with a group of Indigenous and non-Indigenous leaders during a five year leadership initiative.

David Lilley, Principal at Holos Consulting and CFI Associate

David has been working on place based collaboration since 1999. For much of this time he worked for Housing NSW on collaborative initiatives at the housing estate, suburb, LGA and regional levels. This included developing and managing ‘Working Together in Minto’, a forerunner to what would become known as Collective Impact, from 2005 to 2008.

David has also worked as a Senior Social Sustainability Consultant in a large firm, and held a Visiting Fellowship at the City Futures Research Centre at the University of New South Wales.

Until recently David was the founding Director of The Hive Mt Druitt, a Collective Impact initiative working to improve outcomes for children across the 2770 postcode in Western Sydney, facilitated by United Way Australia.

Tanya James, CFI Associate

Tanya was the founder of one of Australia’s first and longest running collective impact initiatives. Now, as an Associate at Collaboration for Impact she works as a consultant, facilitator and coach supporting emerging and established collective impacts on the journey towards reaching their outcomes.

Tanya also has a practice focused on organisational effectiveness and, through this, designs and facilitates strengths/systems based leadership and organisational development programs focused on culture, strategy and people development. Tanya works with individual leaders and executive teams to help them create vibrant workplaces that are strategically future fit, collaborative and great at developing and looking after their people. Tanya works across the business, government, non-profit and education sectors.

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