Frame your problem, think critically and engage with your stakeholders

As a manager or aspiring leader, you know that to rise through the ranks requires strong and creative problem-solving skills. To get to the top, business leaders need to act and react to the priorities set for the organization.

They must exercise their critical thinking capabilities and decide which issues to focus on and when. So, what are the essential elements of effective problem-solving that you can apply to your particular scenario?

The program is structured into five units, covering the following topics:

Unit 1: Use an integrative process

  • Learn to recognize when a problem requires a systematic approach
  • Articulate how the process works and how each part contributes
  • Understand why engaging stakeholders is critical throughout the process

Unit 2: Identify your problem

  • Learn how to develop an SCQ sequence and how to frame your problem
  • Apply the Holding Hands, Dolly the Sheep and Watson rules to the SCQ sequence to make it robust

Unit 3: Understand your problem 

  • Learn how to map out all the possible problem causes using a WHY map
  • Identify which causes are at the root of the problem
  • Update the SCQ sequence to integrate new information
  • Learn how to apply MECE thinking

Unit 4: Create a high-impact solution 

  • Identify and organize all the potential solutions using a HOW map and
    determine which are feasible
  • Identify a set of criteria that represents your stakeholders’ views
  • Create a decision matrix to rank the attractiveness of the options

Unit 5: Align actions and convince stakeholders

  • Craft a storyline to defend your thinking while being empathetic to stakeholders
  • Learn when it makes sense to use other frameworks
  • Know how to see the big picture and plan your next actions
Research & knowledge

IMD's faculty and research teams publish articles, case studies, books and reports on a wide range of topics including the Strategy, Negotiation and Digital Transformation.

7 signs it will happen to your business

The oldest travel company in the world, Thomas Cook, has collapsed following failed negotiations and stranded more than half a million travelers.

Behavioral economics in the digital world

As engagement with customers increasingly moves online, cognitive biases offer new opportunities for marketers.

Learn to collaborate for a better world

One of the things that becomes apparent working in an institution like IMD, is the powerful impact that is created when diverse people are brought together.

The reasons why and the art of how

What exactly is a transformation journey, and how could it benefit your organization and your people? 


IMD complies with applicable laws and regulations, including with respect to international sanctions that may be imposed on individuals and countries. This policy applies to all applications for IMD programs from individuals or organizations, and any commercial or non-commercial partnerships.

IMD business school rankings

Our executive education programs are ranked highly by the world's most influential business publications.

Ranking item 1
Ranking item 2