About Willie

Former CEO of international companies
Columbia Business School professor
Consultant to global organizations for creating winning strategies.
Creator of the Strategic Learning Process.
Author of the book, Strategic Learning

Willie's Blog

The Latest Post

What I Learned About Leadership From My Dog

Margaret Wheatley, the complexity theorist, explains how personal growth takes place: “You cannot change a living thing from the outside. You can only disturb it so it changes itself.” Leadership development then, is largely about how we learn and grow in response to the disturbances or stimuli that life offers us. These “disturbances” can come from many sources; teachers, role models, or the study of nature for example. We can...

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Past Blog Posts

Von Clausewitz on War: Six Lessons for the Modern Strategist

Written nearly two centuries ago, Carl von Clausewitz’s classic guide to military strategy, On War, remains essential reading for modern...


The US Army War College describes the chaotic conditions of a battlefield as VUCA – Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous....


Meet Willie

“If an organization can’t define its Winning Proposition in a simple way, it cannot claim to have a strategy.”
—from Strategic Learning

Willie Pietersen was raised in South Africa, and received a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University. After practicing law, he embarked on an international business career. Over a period of twenty years he served as the CEO of multibillion-dollar businesses such as Lever Foods, Seagram USA, Tropicana and Sterling Winthrop’s Consumer Health Group.

In 1998, Pietersen was named Professor of the Practice of Management at the Columbia University Graduate School of Business. He specializes in strategy and the leadership of change, and his methods and ideas, especially Strategic Learning, are widely applied within Columbia’s executive education programs, and also in numerous corporations.

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