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, course materials, results-oriented exercises, meal service (continental breakfast, lunch and breaks)*, and a certificate of completion from the McGill Executive Institute.

*Meal service is included for in-person programs only.

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

headshot of Don Mellville

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 Desautels Faculty of Management. He also teaches on a variety of senior executive education programs. Don holds an MBA degree from McGill University.


McGill Management Consulting Program

This seminar is part of the McGill Management Consulting Program: a three-part series designed for managers and individual contributors who are looking for the skills and tools to effectively define complex problems and develop innovative solutions like management consultants.

Learn more about the McGill Management Consulting Program


Upcoming Sessions

Get notified of upcoming sessions

There are currently no upcoming sessions for this program. Contact us to be notified when this program becomes available.