Executive and Professional Development

Critical Thinking and Strategic Problem Solving

Organizational success requires leaders with exemplary problem solving skills - leaders who are adept at examining problems and opportunities critically, and implementing solutions that increase competitiveness and improve performance.

This seminar introduces you to a systematic and flexible approach for tackling challenging leadership issues. Drawing on cutting-edge best practices, the program offers a step-by-step process for problem solving, exploring alternatives, and generating highly creative solutions, applicable in any area of your business. Based on Alex Lowy's best-selling business book No Problem, the seminar provides examples, processes and approaches that enable managers to quickly cut to the heart of strategic and organizational decisions.

Participants will receive a copy of Alex Lowy's best-selling business book No Problem.

PRE-SEMINAR PREPARATION: Prior to the course you will receive some readings and a letter from your instructor. We ask that you read the material and come prepared to discuss it.

Receive 14 PDUs towards your PMI® Continuing Certification Requirements.

DATES - 2 Day Seminar

November 16 - 17, 2015
April 25 - 26, 2016

 $1,275 + HST
Facilitator: Alex Lowy, BA, MES
Location: Saint Mary's University Campus, 4th Floor Sobey Building, 903 Robie Street

Program Content

Understanding the Problem Solving Hierarchy

CriticalThinkingImage1The three basic levels of business challenge: making decisions, solving problems, managing dilemmas
  • The 'Decisions to Dilemmas Model'

Making Effective Strategic Business Decisions

  • The three main barriers to strategic problem solving: faulty definition; wrong level of complexity; negative bias
  • Following a structured decision process

Structured Problem Solving Techniques

  • Solving problems that can be solved
  • Using Rational Analysis tools to problem solve
  • The art of Creative Envisioning to address underlying issues

Managing Dilemmas: When Problems Can't Be Solved

  • Draw on applied dialectical reasoning to resolve,highly complex challenges
  • Using the Five-Step Dialectical Solutions Method™ (DSM) 
    • Step 1: Issues and Challenges
    • Step 2: Core Dilemma Definition
    • Step 3: Strategic Modeling
    • Step 4: Gap Analysis
    • Step 5: Resolution Planning

Critical Thinking Skills

  • Principles of critical thinking
  • Recognize and overcome the eight most common critical thinking errors
  • How to effectively frame, explore and reframe strategic issues

Overcoming Organizational Barriers to Success

  • Eight typical dilemmas facing leaders
  • Navigating internal roadblocks that derail great solutions

What You Will Learn

  • Today's best practices in critical thinking, decision making and problem solving
  • How to quickly identify the three basic problem levels
  • How to effectively define and frame organizational problems requiring solutions
  • How to use advanced planning tools to manage highly complex strategic challenges
  • How to engage key stakeholders and team members
  • How to apply new problem solving skills to your own strategic, organizational and leadership issues
  • Gain skills to train others in effective problem solving and decision making

Who Should Attend?

You will benefit from this seminar if you:

  • are a senior manager, VP or director
  • are a corporate-level manager from any department
  • are an operations or administrative officer
  • are a project manager who must solve complex projects
  • are a sales and marketing team member who must respond to new competitive threats

YorkImageThis program is delivered in partnership with Schulich Executive Education Centre at York University.