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For the Greater Good

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South Eastern Melbourne Private Health Network (SEMPHN) has been through radical change. Yet their culture stays constructive, collaborative and future focused. SEMPHN engaged Dattner Group to continue developing their culture through leadership development to ensure they maintain momentum.

South East Melbourne Primary Health Network (SEMPHN) came into being through the amalgamation of three Medicare Local organisations, bringing together health-related services across a broad geographic region. SEMPHN’s leadership recognised the importance of aligning staff and the services they delivered within a single cohesive cultural framework. Also, during the first 12 months of operation, shifting policy priorities meant there were significant shifts in the skills and structure required to deliver on SEMPHN’s mandate.


SEMPHN recognised they would need to build leadership bench-strength, learning agility and resilience as core organisational competencies in order to thrive in a rapidly evolving environment. So they got on the front foot with assessing and addressing this. There was strong stewardship of the process by the CEO and leadership team, while Dattner Group  partnered with the HR team to:

  • Define the attributes of leadership and the culture that underpinned the ability to deliver on its strategy
  • Assess the baseline levels of capability across 20 critical leadership competencies (SHL Framework) and the prevalence of 12 leadership styles (Human Synergistics’ Life Styles Inventory™ – LSI) in the senior two levels of leaders
  • Create a visual model (the Circumplex) describing and defining the agreed leadership aspirations of the organisation
  • Create team and individual development experiences (workshops, diagnostic feedback, coaching) to engage all leaders to these outcomes
  • Undertake re-testing after 12 months to assess impact.


The findings from the initial baseline assessment (2015) of leadership behaviours were very favourable, with the use of those (constructive) styles shown in research to be most effective, being above average from the outset. This outcome had further improved in the 2017 re-test, with all constructive styles being demonstrated between the 70th and 87th percentiles.

This level of leadership bench-strength has meant SEMPHN is able to maintain clarity and focus as it continues to respond to its evolving remit.

 Author, Marshall Cowley, Senior Consultan, Dattner Group