Repositioning to reach future goals by changing mindsets

The Brief

The Australian superannuation industry is undergoing extensive consolidation and disruption. To reach its five-year goal of evolving from a mid-tier to a major player, Sunsuper is transforming itself through a series of strategic initiatives. These include a major culture shift that must be driven from the top down.

To help them achieve this, Sunsuper is collaborating with Maximus on a series of leadership development programs aligned with the new Sunsuper Connect Attributes and the Sunsuper Leadership Framework.

Maximus has co-designed, developed, and is delivering two customised, high-impact programs to shift mindsets and skillsets: the transformational leadership program for senior managers and their direct reports and the leadership in action program for emerging frontline leaders. A third program that focuses on continuous improvement and innovation is under development.

All three programs are designed to have long-term, meaningful benefits for participants and to create momentum for a shift toward high performance across the entire organisation.

“I have never experienced something so powerful, confronting, challenging and helpful at the same time.”


During our research, we determined that to reach Sunsuper’s corporate goals, leaders at all levels needed to move from being technical specialists in their area to being transformational leaders who are attuned to customer needs, focused on continuous improvement, and capable of driving culture change and empowering their teams

We proposed a solution comprising discrete programs for the two levels of management, each consisting of four two- or three-day learning experiences built around a key leadership theme: personal, strategic, people, and customer. The experiences are strengthening participants’ capabilities in six focus areas: courage, strategic clarity, structural commercial thinking, internal collaboration, customer centricity, and growth mindset.

The solution is being delivered over 12 months and Sunsuper nominates the participants, who move through in cohorts. In between experiences, participants are supported with mentoring and coaching from more senior leaders and work on a business improvement opportunity they have identified.


The first cohort finishes the full program in 2017 so no ROI metrics are yet available. As cohorts graduate, we anticipate the programs will have an exponential and measurable impact on Sunsuper’s staff, customer, and business performance.

The feedback so far has been positive, with many participants reporting that the experience has already made a difference to their leadership style. For the first learning experience — personal leadership — both groups strongly agreed it was relevant to them and their work and was a worthwhile investment in their development.

Sunsuper is now working with Maximus to create a new but aligned program to embed an enterprise-wide continuous improvement and innovation (CI&I) mindset that is 90 percent driven by culture and 10 percent by process.