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Aspiring Directors Program

Talent management is about ensuring that people are matched to the right job for their skills, competencies, and career plans. The Aspiring Directors Program (ADP) is a career transition program that allows talent-managed managers to explore what it means to be an executive in the federal public service. Participants will examine self-awareness and other competencies that are critical to the success of executives in the federal public service and discuss their experiences with a trusted network of their peers.

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About the program

The Aspiring Directors Program (ADP) is an opportunity for talent-managed managers at the EX minus one level to experience the realities of being an executive in the federal public service. Through exploration, self-awareness, personal reflection, and examination of leadership and self-management skills, participants will build the competencies required to become effective leaders.

The program emphasizes:

  • exploring self-awareness as a critical competency to the success of executives
  • applying leadership knowledge and awareness on the job
  • inspiring the next generation of public service leaders

This unique program draws on the expertise of the School's faculty and invited guest speakers with real-world experience in working at the executive level. Together, they will assist participants in developing and applying the leadership competencies and self-management skills that are needed to meet the evolving demands placed on public service executives.

Throughout the program, each aspiring director will have the unique opportunity to build a trusted network of peers with whom they can connect, share advice, and recount their experiences in working with the executive cadre.

The ADP is spread out over approximately 6 months and offered in 3 phases. Two phases are delivered in person in a classroom setting and one phase includes both online and on-the-job learning.


Participants must have a talent management plan as part of their Performance Management Agreement (PMA) and occupy a substantive position at the EX minus 1 level to be eligible for nomination to the program. Successful nominees will be asked to pre-identify the name of a mentor whom they will job shadow as part of phase 2 of the program.

It is recommended that participants have some experience in human resource management, in addition to having successfully completed the Authority Delegation Training Program.

Application process

Interested learners are encouraged to get in touch with their departmental learning coordinator to be considered for the program and to learn about any internal nomination processes.

Program phases

Phase 1

Phase 1 (3 days, in class): Improve your self–awareness to become a better leader

Over 3 days, participants will deepen their self-awareness and their understanding of their personal leadership strengths, challenges and potential. As they start to build their peer network, they will focus on:

  • Self–reflection
  • Listening in a way that demonstrates full presence
  • Fostering productive conversations
  • Key Leadership Competencies required at the executive level
  • Their Individual Development Plan (IDP)

Phase 2

Phase 2 (4 months, on the job): And now—act on it!

During this 4-month phase, participants will have the opportunity to apply the knowledge they have acquired back on the job. It includes:

  • Additional assignments and online activities to further enhance the development of the Key Leadership Competencies needed at the executive level
  • Identifying an executive (EX-01 to EX-03) within their own organization to job shadow

Phase 3

Phase 3 (in class): Making the transition to an executive role

In this final phase of the program, participants will:

  • Develop an appreciation of the strategic, operational, cultural and emotional dimensions of leading change in the public service
  • Acquire tips and tools for building a shared vision
  • Understand the methods of systems thinking
  • Prepare for an executive role
  • Draft a personal leadership narrative
  • Update their Individual Development Plan

Frequently asked questions

Aspiring Directors Program: Frequently asked questions

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