Strategic Problem Solving

Critical skills for organizational success


Of all the skills needed to succeed in work and life, research shows that complex problem solving is critical. But, for most of us, solving difficult problems and selling the solutions does not come naturally. In this engaging and highly interactive seminar, we show you how to become a better problem solver and solution seller. The goal is to guide you through each step of the 4S method – from how to state, structure, and solve problems to how to sell the solutions. During the seminar, you will apply the method and toolkit to a pressing organizational problem you face. You will leave with a greatly improved understanding of how you can create value by helping your organization crack the problems that matter most.

Key Benefits and Takeaways

  • Understand how to overcome the cognitive biases and pitfalls of problem solving
  • Develop the discipline and confidence to tackle difficult problems outside your expertise
  • Define problems using the TOSCA framework
  • Learn how to structure a problem
  • Solve problems deductively using an analytic approach
  • Discover design thinking through an overview
  • Develop a persuasive report or presentation to sell the solution

This program is designed for managers, executives, engineers, and entrepreneurs who need a toolkit for innovation. Participants will learn how to provide more impactful, advanced, and sustainable solutions to complex problems in the business world.


The registration fee includes facilitation by our highly rated faculty members, comprehensive workbooks, results-oriented exercises, seminar supplies, meal service (breakfast, lunch and breaks), and a certificate of completion from the McGill Executive Institute.


The registration fee includes facilitation by our highly rated faculty members, a comprehensive digital workbook, results-oriented exercises, and a certificate of completion from the McGill Executive Institute.

Topics covered in this course

  • The power and pitfalls of problem solving
  • Introduction to the 4S method
  • Use TOSCA to state the problem
  • Problem statement exercise
  • Problem-structuring with issue trees
  • Problem-structuring with hypothesis pyramids
  • Problem-structuring exercise
  • Prioritize potential solutions
  • Solution prioritization exercise
  • Solution analysis planning
  • Solution analysis exercise
  • Brief foray into design thinking
  • Sell using the pyramid principle
  • Alternative pyramid constructions
  • Solution selling exercise – pitch construction

Course Leaders

Don Melville


Don Melville

Don Melville is an expert in strategy and competitive advantage. In his prior roles as Director at Secor and Senior Consultant at CapGemini, he led a number of activities aimed at achieving strategic excellence for multinational corporations. He is currently a faculty member in the areas of finance, strategy and organization at McGill’s Faculty of Management and teaches on a variety of senior executive education programs. He also holds an MBA degree from McGill University.