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For the Greater Good

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For the Greater Good

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Under the leadership of Jodi Schmidt, 13 TAFEs in Queensland were amalgamated effectively into 6 regional businesses and a Head Office in Brisbane. This was done to increase the effectiveness of the sector in Queensland, reflecting the then policy position of the State Liberal Government. Executives involved in this transition, recognising the non-negotiable parameters of the merger, worked as a team to bring about the change. In 2015 there was a change of State Government to Labor and with that change came a different policy position.

The Challenge

It would likely be fair to say that most executives aligned with Labor’s commitment to invest in the sector but curiously the change did not bring more capital. Rather, it brought some level of ambiguity and a sense for leaders that they were somewhat in becalmed waters.

The team no longer had a shared cause and so much of the one team focus started to water down.


The Solution

Dattner Group worked closely with Jodi Schmidt on a series of workshops to bring trust and collaboration to the group. This included:

  • High quality time together to build open and trusted conversations
  • A focus on the collective being stronger and more able than the individuals
  • A series of diagnostics (Life Styles Inventory and MSCEIT) which provided a shared language based on reliable data
  • Team collaboration on determining which areas of the business should be left to regions or corporate functions, and which should be managed as a whole


The Outcome

The program was considered sufficiently successful to warrant cascading leadership development to a broader audience. Key concerns were that time was short, the need for networked leadership a strategic imperative, and budgets were tight.

In the end, some 120 senior managers, educators and functional experts joined one program which lasted over a year.

Program content addressed:

  • The link between leadership capability and strategy execution
  • Building the network of collaboration between participants
  • Introducing a common language around sense of self
  • Creating a clear and overt connection between leadership behaviour and culture
  • Introducing and measuring the 11 capabilities of business acumen
  • Understanding the importance of emotional intelligence and change management

There was no question that breaking this group into 3 – 4 smaller groups would have been ideal, but it was also not possible. The program concluded in August 2017 and was considered generally successful.



The organisation has now made the decision to formalise the businesses into one registered training organisation, One TAFE Queensland. This will involve further restructuring in the New Year.

The Executive team has changed significantly over the last 12 months.

Further investment in the collaboration of leadership and the development of skills into the broader community is on-going for the organisation.


Author, Fabian Dattner, Founding Partner Dattner Group, Co Founder Homeward Bound