Leading Australia’s Future in Asia (LAFIA)
LAFIA is part of a suite of leadership programs developed by the Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) for senior public service executives. Every year, the Crawford's Executive Training Programs delivers the program with support and input from the APSC and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).
Sponsored by the Australian Government, LAFIA aims to increase participants' understanding of the dynamics of change in the Asia-Pacific and how developing situations may affect Australia. In the last 18 years, over 200 senior executives have participated in the program. LAFIA continues to succeed because the content is challenging and the experience is intensely rewarding.
How will participation in LAFIA benefit you?
LAFIA will stimulate deeper analytical and critical reasoning and deductive assessment as participants endeavour to uncover the underlying historical, geographical, demographic, political, strategic and socio-economic factors and drivers that shape policy responses or determine policy outcomes in different countries. They will have a valuable opportunity to observe and assess the level of evidence that may have underpinned various policy approaches, the resulting policy successes or failures and learn from these case studies.
Shapes strategic thinking
LAFIA offers a holistic assessment of countries through a 360-degree, multi-dimensional exposure to strategic affairs, economics and trade relationships, political and social aspects and possible future scenarios. Participants are challenged to think strategically and holistically about issues confronting these countries as they assess how various civil service sectors grapple with issues of uncertainty and complexity. Participants find that they need to change the conceptual cornerstones of their thinking to accommodate these challenges and many begin to question the precepts and conventions they once took for granted. This paves the way for a deeper conceptual understanding of the strategic context and the complex underlying drivers that shape our own responses.
Communicates with influence
Peer to peer interaction is favoured on Tour with conventional superior-subordinate relationships subsumed. This accentuates the requirement for communicating observations, assessments or concepts persuasively and inspiring or influencing peers through the power of their narrative discourse and expositions of their intellectual ideas and insights. Participants will gain valuable skills in communicating with influence with diverse members of society ranging from elites to common citizenry through a range of fora such as roundtables, policy dialogues, Q&A sessions and networking events.
As LAFIA covers a wide and diverse range of areas well outside the traditional areas of expertise of individuals, participants gain a deeper self-awareness of their capabilities and their limitations during the Tour Program. The process of immersive learning and comprehension, whilst enjoyable can occasionally become challenging and demanding in areas well outside their traditional comfort zones of expertise or experience. In such circumstances, participants are forced to confront long pre-conceived notions, concepts or paradigms and to learn afresh and anew.
Developing empathy requires face-to-face interactions and experiences in differing cultures and environments. Understanding and empathising through active social interactions and experiences shapes a deeper and more profound understanding of social issues and contexts and a greater appreciation of the paradigms that govern the responses of public sectors in different countries. With Australia becoming an increasingly multicultural, globalised and integrated society, future APS leaders will need to display holistic understanding, empathy and sensitivity to be effective.
Social awareness will develop and mature by way of peer to peer relationship building that naturally occurs when SES officers are challenged by being out of their comfort zones, and have shared responsibilities for achieving quality program outcomes. A wider sense of social awareness is gained by direct exposure to peoples, environments and cultures of the countries visited. Participants will observe, experience and interact with a wide range of groups going well beyond elites to the disadvantaged and the poor. This experience will challenge traditional APS thinking and assumptions about the key drivers of development that will determine livelihoods and outcome.