Sunken Garden circa 1935

Alumni Webinar: Leadership and Making Fateful Decisions

Time: 12:00pm
Location: Webinar

Kellie Miner, Alumni Relations


Leadership and Making Fateful Decisions Webinar

Presented by Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson

Tuesday, February 16


Alumni webinars are offered with our compliments

The link to the webinar will be emailed to you prior to the event date


Raymond A. Mason School of Business Dean Larry Pulley often talks about preparing students for lives of principled achievement – and principled leadership.

Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, former Chief of Staff for Colin Powell and Distinguished Adjunct Professor of Government and Public Policy at the College of William & Mary, is as good an example of principled achievement and leadership as can be found.  He has spent much of his life studying fateful decision-making, particularly since WWII, and eight years under three different presidents participating in the advisory process and observing such decision-making from the highest levels of government. 

In this webinar, Colonel Wilkerson will discuss presidential decision-making and the art of making the most difficult decisions of all, those that send young men and women to go in harm’s way for state purposes and to die if need be and to kill others in the name of the state.

Making such tough decisions is one of the ultimate measures of a president and his advisory team. Ultimately, such decisions inform the history and the very power of the nation.

In this webinar we will explore making the best and worst possible fateful decisions, gaining insights into what is likely to lead to each of these outcomes,  how a president and his/her team evaluate the information and intelligence available to them to make such choices, and how they motivate those around them to execute the decisions effectively and successfully.   Questions central to this process are:  

·         How does a president pick his/her team?

·         How does a president build the trust necessary for good decisions?

·         What is a good decision?

·         How do you come to your choices and build your case?

·         How do you ensure faithful and disciplined execution?

·         How do you defy history’s most frequent mistake—reinforcing failure—and cut your losses when a decision proves ineffective or, worst, disastrous?

·         When and how do you declare success?

Presenter Biography: Lawrence Wilkerson's last positions in government were as Secretary of State Colin Powell's Chief of Staff (2002-05), Associate Director of the State Department's Policy Planning staff under the directorship of Ambassador Richard N. Haass, and member of that staff responsible for East Asia and the Pacific, political-military and legislative affairs (2001-02). Before serving at the State Department, Wilkerson served 31 years in the U.S. Army. During that time, he was a member of the faculty of the U.S. Naval War College (1987 to 1989), Special Assistant to General Powell when he was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (1989-93), and Director and Deputy Director of the U.S. Marine Corps War College at Quantico, Virginia (1993-97). Wilkerson retired from active service in 1997 as a colonel, and began work as an advisor to General Powell. He has also taught national security affairs in the Honors Program at the George Washington University.  He is currently working on a book about the first George W. Bush administration.