Department of Defence: Defence Materiel Organisation

Since 2005, the Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) has partnered with Melbourne Business School-Mt Eliza Executive Education to deliver an integrated suite of professional development initiatives.

MBSclient talks about their experiences

“I believe my team, and hence branch has gained a much more confident and positive staff member, who looks more towards challenges, as opposed to hurdles. They have gained someone who now tempers the ‘reality check’ with a ‘can do’ attitude”.

Program Alumnus


The challenge


As the organisation responsible for acquiring and sustaining equipment for Australia’s armed forces, the DMO is truly “Australia’s largest project management organisation”—and arguably the one with the highest-stakes projects.

In 2005, an internal review identified a number of existing and emerging challenges to the organisation. The DMO formed a partnership with MBS-Mt Eliza to develop a customised suite of leadership development initiatives, with a strong emphasis on professionalising the workforce and improving leadership capabilities at all levels.

In launching the programs, then CEO Stephen Gumley said, “Strong leadership is essential at all levels within the DMO. Leaders set the standard for performance and create a climate where people can achieve their best.”


The program


Over 9 years of delivery, the DMO programs have evolved significantly to meet the changing needs of the organisation. The programs currently include:
  • Executive Compass—a comprehensive 1.5-day development centre for incorporating simulations and 360° feedback to give participants real insight into their strengths and development needs.
  • Catalyst and Gateway—5-day residential and 1:1 coaching, experiential leadership development programs for different levels of the organisation.
  • Alumni Masterclasses—targeted workshops to continue developing those who have finished the program.


The impact


The DMO programs have been successfully delivered to over 1000 participants across 56 cohorts in remote, regional and metropolitan locations across Australia. Impact has been measured via alumni surveys, supervisors, and recorded shifts in 360° results. Survey results indicate strong improvement in:
  • Influencing skills
  • Strategic thinking
  • Self-confidence
  • Holding people accountable
  • Advocating for projects and teams
  • Leadership (behaviour and motivation)
  • Workplace performance

The programs have also strengthened DMO’s leadership pipeline, directly assisting a number of participants to gain promotion.

“I believe my team, and hence branch has gained a much more confident and positive staff member, who looks more towards challenges, as opposed to hurdles. They have gained someone who now tempers the ‘reality check’ with a ‘can do’ attitude”.

Program Alumnus