Strategic decision-making for the public sector professional

Strategic decision-making for the public sector professional

4 February 2021 (facilitated online)

In-house Enquiry


This course is also available for in-house delivery. For more information please contact the Learning team on 02 8066 1900 or email [email protected] for a quote.


Knowledge, skills and tools for superior outcomes


Course Overview


Good decision-making is the foundation of individual and organisational success. But what is a good decision and how do you know that you’ve made one? Ultimately, the only thing over which any of us have control are the decisions that we make. And yet, decision-making is something in which few of people are trained.

This course is designed to provide participants with knowledge, skills and tools to make better decisions. As the environment in which public sector organisations operate becomes more complex, uncertain and fiscally constrained, the need for individuals and organisations to make good decisions is more important than ever.

Limits on time and resources, however, mean that busy professionals simply do not have time to study the science of decision-making; or investigate the latest, evidence-based research on how to maximise the probability of achieving good outcomes by improving decision quality.

Drawing on insights from the field of Decision Analysis (pioneered at Stanford and Harvard Universities), this workshop provides participants with a practical, working knowledge of how to begin making better decisions immediately; knowledge which can be used to improve their individual performance, add value and contribute to their organisation’s ability to achieve its objectives.


"Thought provoking and inspiring. This course has equipped me with practical skills and insights which I have not gained from other courses."

Aaron Bawden, Registrar, Victorian Pharmacy Authority, March 2019

Learning Outcomes


By the end of this course participants will be able to:

  • Approach future decisions with an understanding of what constitutes a good decision and why
  • Contribute more effectively to their organisation’s capacity to achieve its objectives through better framing, more effective use of information and alignment with organisational values
  • Improve the quality of their short, medium and long term decisions by developing their ‘decision fitness’
  • Improve their individual performance and add value to their organisation by consistently making better decisions.


"It was such great training. And hats off for managing the complexity of the online platform and keeping everyone engaged, all day. Very impressive."

Kylie Smith, Senior Consultant, Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission, May 2020

Course Structure


  • What is a good decision and how do you know that you’ve made one?
  • Framing: How to ensure that you’re solving the right problem
  • The importance and value of good information (and how to effectively use it)
  • The power of alignment and logically consistent reasoning
  • Improving the quality of your decisions by developing your ‘decision fitness’
  • Making decisions and recommendations: process and checklist


"Fantastic course and information and particularly smooth and engaging online delivery."

Angela Yao, Senior Program Officer, Victorian Department of Education and Training, May 2020

Who should attend?


This course is designed for a wide variety of professionals (at all levels of an organisation) who are interested in acquiring practical knowledge, skills and tools to make better decisions in their professional and personal lives. It is, however, particularly useful for those who are expected to:

  • Write and prepare briefs
  • Provide advice or formulate policy options/recommendations for managers, executives and other senior decision-makers
  • Perform in a policy or advisory role
  • Undertake policy analysis and/or strategic planning
  • Successfully deliver project outcomes.


What's in it for me?


Decision-making is a skill. Like any other, it can be developed over time with the right information, training and practice. In addition to providing participants with information that can assist them to make better decisions in their current role, this course will provide those who go through it with a decision-making framework that can be used to make better decisions in their personal lives.


What's in it for my organisation?


Completion of this course will benefit participants’ organisation by providing them with knowledge, skills and tools which are needed to ensure that their short, medium and longer-term decisions are consistently aligned with their organisation’s vision, mission, goals, mandate and values.


"I found this course highly relevant to my role in public sector policy development. It is rare to find a course that theorises how we make decisions and I definitely could make decisions now with more confidence and more strategically focused. Seth kept everyone engaged via the online learning and I learnt a lot through the group activities."

A participant from our September 2020 workshop

Course Facilitator

Dr Seth Nicholls




Dr. Seth Nicholls is a policy and decision strategist and the Director of Nicholls Consulting Services. Over the past 16 years, Dr. Nicholls has worked extensively in academia (as a lecturer in international relations, political science and public policy); as well as in state and federal government (as a policy and project officer) and as a consultant to the South Australian, Victorian, Tasmanian and Northern Territory public sectors. During this time, Seth has also assisted a number of companies with important, high stakes decisions.

Dr. Nicholls’ work has been published in high quality, peer reviewed journals and he holds a PhD in political economy and public policy (with a research focus on high impact policy decisions) from the University of Adelaide, along with a professional certificate in Strategic Decision-Making and Risk Management from Stanford University.

Seth is passionate about helping individuals achieve their goals through a better understanding of decision-making processes and has a strong desire to help organisations in the public, private and non-government sectors effectively respond to a wide variety of complex problems.