Israel Institute for Leadership and Governance – April 2012 Update

Israel’s Civil Service Commissioner, the Director-General of the Ministry of Education, and 25 other senior executives participated in our recent Program for Senior Civil Servants. This is one of our flagship programs. Many in the highest levels of the civil service aim to participate in it – we usually have 3-4 candidates competing for each spot.

We have amazing people in the civil service in Israel – dedicated, smart, and capable. They chose to devote their professional careers to serve the public, but they are faced with many challenges – bureaucracy, overwhelming responsibilities, and a general lack of cooperation among government bodies. This program provides them with the opportunity to get away from their everyday work, meet new peers, think creatively, and form a network that will help them make an impact. The government ministries tend to work alone, and inter-ministerial cooperation is not the norm. This program develops the ability to work together.

Participants in the program are senior civil servants, who are active in shaping and implementing policy, and are in key positions to make systemic changes: deputy directors of government ministries, hospital directors, heads of governmental authorities, and other positions with top decision-making power. Throughout this year-long, 400-hour program, they are exposed to advanced theoretical and applied knowledge courses as well as practical methods in the fields of policy-making and management. The program aims to improve and develop their abilities to make changes that will mold public policy effectively.

A substantial portion of the program is devoted to applying an integrative approach to projects dealing with current problems in Israel. While working on these projects, participants implement the theoretical tools and knowledge gained during the program. The program encourages peer learning, and is a unique opportunity for participants to exchange ideas with other government and public sector leaders.

The core business of the JDC Institute for Leadership and Governance is to bring leaders to work together for social change. We want to help top managers achieve wide, measurable and sustainable impact in Israel. This is the prism through which we look at all our programs. As such, the following elements have recently been included in the Program for Senior Civil Servants:

1. A major effort is made to form networks of collaboration among the participants that will lead to social impact, and for these networks to continue to operate after the program has finished. During the last program, participants from the Jerusalem area started to discuss possible areas of cooperation, and later helped us establish the Institute’s new Forum for Regional Directors of Government Ministries in Jerusalem.

 2. The curriculum has been modified to assist leaders in achieving social impact in a complex environment. Disciplines featured in the program include leadership, management, sustainable development, and public policy including social issues and widening social gaps. For each one of these areas we have identified a lead professional responsible for the content. The lecturers come either from prestigious academic institutions or are active professionals in the field.

 3. During the program we aim to identify those participants that are “transformative leaders”, those that have the ability and passion to make systemic changes. We then accompany them in the processes that they lead, by providing them with professional support and with the tools they need.

 4.We are developing an Alumni Unit, which will engage graduates in a professional network to promote innovative thinking and knowledge- sharing regarding key issues facing Israeli society.

The Program for Senior Civil Servants is run by the Institute, in partnership with the Civil Service Commission. This week we began interviewing candidates for the next cycle, scheduled to start in May.

Wishing you and your loved ones a Happy Passover,


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