Sauder School of Business

Critical Thinking and Problem Solving for Public Service Leaders

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About the course

This workshop explores concepts and skills for critical thinking, solution-oriented problem solving and effective presentations in a public sector setting. Sharpen your ability to unpack problems and opportunities, and make well-informed decisions. Coach your staff to bring you ideas rather than problems. Increase your chances of success when offering recommendations to top decision makers.

The program focuses on your real-world issues. You will be guided through a process carefully linked to applicability in your government or non-profit sector agency.


  • Enhance your facilitation techniques to gain ideas from others
  • Fine-tune team decision making to multiply your options
  • Use proven frameworks to customize your situational problem-solving approach
  • Enhance your organization’s decision-making capacities
  • Manage a structured solution-seeking process to foster public service innovation
  • Adapt your presentations to public sector stakeholders and decision maker needs
  • Apply effective presentation skills for public service leadership success

Program content

Prior to the program, you will identify issues you are currently facing. You will then lead an in-class “issue statement to decision” process for dealing with it. You will receive personalized feedback on your facilitation and presentation efforts, and leave the program with new tools and ideas for effective leadership action.

  • Leveraging behavioural and leadership styles in a public service setting
  • Diversifying your facilitation methods: encouraging open dialogue among public sector actors and interests, focusing discussions to arrive at decisions
  • Analyzing group dynamics: process preparation and assessment, success criteria for group development, remedial strategies for group dynamic challenges
  • Seeking practical solutions: customizing your approach to public service issues, remedies for problem-solving challenges, four-step structure to guide problem-solving processes
  • Preparing effective recommendations: assembling information required of public service decision makers, analyzing public service agency decision-making processes
  • Making powerful presentations: assessing elected and appointed public service executive needs, effective presentation techniques, guided practice
  • Decision-making follow-up: learning from experience, ensuring successful implementation of decisions

Who should attend

This program is for senior managers and elected or appointed officials in federal, provincial, local, regional and First Nation government agencies. It is also for those in non-government organizations who are interested in enhancing their personal and organizational excellence.

Trust the experts

Gordon McIntosh

Gordon McIntosh has 37 years of management, educator and consultancy roles with local government. As President of the Local Government Leadership (LGL) Institute, he provides governance development, strategic facilitation and leadership training services. He has conducted 1,200 workshops involv...


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