The Strategic Leader Program: How to Excel as Your Responsibility Increases

May 23–25, 2022 $6,650 (In-Person)
Questions? Contact Us:
Yoon Lee
Director, Learning Solutions
+1 929-415-3421
[email protected]

In-Person Format: Three consecutive full days of in-person sessions on the Columbia campus in NYC. View the in-person schedule.
Certificate Credits: 3
Learn more.
Preferred pricing is available for groups of two or more. To inquire, email [email protected].

“As managers reach senior levels of executive leadership — whether in a functional, regional, or corporate role — they are confronted with greater complexity and the need to create unity of action across an organization’s functional disciplines, often without formal authority. This program helps them excel as their responsibility increases.”
– Faculty Directors Paul Ingram and Willie Pietersen

The Strategic Leader Program

The program's faculty directors, Paul Ingram and Willie Pietersen

In every rising leader’s career, there comes a time when getting to the next level in the organization requires a multi-disciplinary approach to leadership.

The key to successfully transitioning to such executive roles is the ability to understand external environments, read early-warning signals of disruption, and rapidly and strategically align the resources of the organization to capture competitive advantage.

This six-day program is designed to prepare executives for this transition. Through six key sessions, you’ll broaden your knowledge, perspective, and understanding of strategic leadership.

You will learn why success occurs outside the boundaries of your organization, how you can make sense of complexity to lead your organization into the future, and how you can successfully shape corporate culture and drive organizational change.

The program offers concepts and tools that enable executives to enhance their personal, strategic, and interpersonal effectiveness to become integrated leaders. In doing so, you will become better equipped to deal with the demands of the more complex and disruptive environment of tomorrow.

Please Contact Us

Please contact our Learning Solutions Specialists at +1 212-854-3395 for a personal conversation to learn more.


In this program, you will learn how to:

  • Interpret complex and fast-changing external environments and their impact on your business
  • Create winning strategies for your organization
  • Lead cross-functional, diverse teams with authenticity and agility
  • Implement your strategic game plan
  • Manage change by overcoming organizational resistance
  • Build a high-performance culture

Upon completion of this program, you will earn three credits towards a Certificate in Business Excellence from Columbia Business School, granting select alumni and tuition benefits. Learn more.


PLEASE NOTE: The upcoming iteration of this program will take place in a live, virtual setting. See the agenda.

The program is designed around six 3-hour learning sessions:

1. Transitioning to Advanced Leadership Roles

As managers reach senior executive leadership levels, whether in a functional, regional, or corporate role, they are confronted with greater complexity and the need to create unity of action across an organization’s functional disciplines, often without formal authority. The digital revolution has profoundly impacted all businesses and created the need to introduce innovative new business models to compete more effectively in a disruptive environment. This session explores key success factors for senior leaders to meet these challenges.

2. Harnessing the Strategic Learning Method to Create an Adaptive Organization

In a dynamic, fast-changing environment, the old static methods of creating a strategy no longer work. The only sustainable competitive advantage available to an enterprise is its capacity to be adaptive. In this session, you’ll learn about Strategic Learning — a practical method for translating this idea into action. It involves four steps that move in a cycle: learn, focus, align, and execute. You’ll walk away with a proven method that enables organizations to learn continually, create winning strategies, and renew these strategies as the environment shifts.

3. Building an Organization to Perform Strategically

One of the key ways in which top leaders affect organizational processes is by aligning elements of the organization with the strategy. In this session, you’ll learn how this process begins with a key distillation of the strategy into key priorities that the organization must achieve. Then, the other parts of the organization — the people, the visible organization (processes, incentives, and structures), the invisible structure (culture and networks) — must be shaped to conform to the key priorities. You’ll learn about hands-on ways to apply the principles of organizational design to your teams and organizations, showcasing emerging organizational types that fit the demands of today’s fast-changing, complex, and competitive business environment.

4. Establishing a Culture of Commitment, Collaboration, and Contribution

Leaders play an irreplaceable role in shaping cultures. This begins with leading by example and showcasing the values that the organization needs for success. In this session, you will lay the foundation for effective cultural stewardship, with a practical exercise that allows you to identify, access, communicate, and implement your own values. You’ll learn how to leverage this concrete approach to values in order to build teams and organizations with cultures that simultaneously motivate while promoting collaboration and innovation.

5. Leading Your Team to Effective Decisions

The leader doesn’t need to supply all the answers but must establish the context and processes that allow teams to fully utilize the insights and data that their members possess. This is increasingly challenging, yet more important, in today’s environment of ever-increasing data. In this session, you’ll consider the challenges to data-driven decision making, including the critical importance of asking the right questions of data, and realizing that data will never eliminate the need for judgment in important decisions. You’ll also identify and try out best practices for leading decision processes that allow all critical perspectives to be heard, resulting in better decisions and more commitment to the decisions that are made.

6. Leading Change and Creating Your Leadership Credo

This session examines the sources of resistance to change and offers a powerful equation for overcoming these barriers and leading a successful change effort. You will be coached to develop your leadership credo by answering what you stand for as a leader, what your organization’s vision and winning proposition is, and what you stand for as an organization. The credo enables you to distill and integrate the three domains of leadership: personal, interpersonal, and strategic.

For a complete program schedule, please download the agenda.


This program is designed for executives who are transitioning, have just transitioned, or are planning to transition to broader management roles, including general managers, cross-functional leaders, and senior functional managers.

Hear from Past Participants:


Columbia Business School alumni and up to four of their colleagues are eligible for a 25 percent tuition benefit for this program. More on the Alumni Tuition Benefit.


Paul Ingram, Faculty Co-Director
Kravis Professor of Business, Columbia Business School

Paul Ingram's research examines the intersection between culture and social networks. Recent papers investigate questions such as the role of value similarity to foster business networks, determinants and outcomes of individuals’ fit in organizational cultures, and influences on ethical decision making.

At Columbia Business School, he has been the long-time faculty director of the acclaimed Advanced Management Program, a four-week program for senior-level executives from around the world. Previously, he has held visiting professorships at Tel Aviv University, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, and the University of Toronto. Before coming to Columbia, he was on the faculty of Carnegie Mellon University.

He has consulted on issues of organizational design and strategy to leading companies in the finance, health care, insurance, energy, and consumer products industries.

William G. Pietersen, Faculty Co-Director
Professor of the Practice of Management, Columbia Business School

Willie Pietersen specializes in strategy and the leadership of change. He is the originator of the Strategic Learning Process, which, along with his other methods and ideas, is widely applied in numerous corporations.

Over a period of twenty years, Pietersen served as the CEO of multibillion-dollar businesses such as Lever Foods, Seagram USA, Tropicana, and Sterling Winthrop’s Consumer Health Group. He has since served as a teacher and advisor to many global companies, including Aviva, Bausch & Lomb, Boeing, Chubb Corp., Deloitte, DePuy, Ericsson, ExxonMobil, Henry Schein, Inc., Novartis, SAP, and Girl Scouts of the USA.

Pietersen has written several books on strategy, the latest being Strategic Learning: How to Be Smarter Than Your Competition and Turn Key Insights into Competitive Advantage. He has also written numerous articles which can be downloaded at

Along with Professors Ingram and Pietersen, additional Columbia Business School faculty may contribute to and teach in the program.


Do you have questions about our live online programs? Please review our commonly asked questions on our live online programs FAQs page.