Problem Solving Leadership

A workshop with Esther Derby and Don Gray

Manage Change and Practice Innovation by Becoming a Problem Solving Leader

Learn and practice a leader’s most valuable asset: the ability to think and act creatively—to solve problems, and to create the environment for teams to succeed.

Leadership is the key to building a healthy organization that can deal effectively with problems and change.

Leadership isn’t limited to those who have formal leadership roles, titles, or personal charisma. You can lead as a team member or team lead. If you have a management or leadership role, you can learn to lead more effectively. We teach that leadership is the ability to create an environment that enables everyone to contribute productively.

We focus on personal and system effectiveness rather than prescriptive strategies….so you can solve new problems rather than grinding out the old pat answers.

But the effective problem solver faces a paradox: personal effectiveness, if not properly handled, can impede the ability to lead others in solving problems. Those who grow as problem solvers often block their own path to leadership. Those who become leaders often sacrifice their skills as problem solvers.

The “Problem-Solving Leadership” workshop has been growing and changing since 1974 to meet the changing needs of people in the workplace. The fundamental principle, however, remains the same: a leader’s most valuable asset is the ability to think and act clearly, creatively, and congruently. This is what we teach.

Develop your own problem solving style

PSL is built on sound principles of adult learning theory, general systems thinking, group process concepts, creativity and congruent human interaction. This will show you how to:

  1. Increase your own problem solving effectiveness.
  2. Enhance your ability to lead others in more effective problem solving.
  3. Harness the energy in the potential conflict between the first two goals.

The simulations and other activities are designed to involve you totally in the experience of improving your problem solving effectiveness. You will take away an increased awareness of your own problem solving style and an understanding and appreciation of the styles of others. You will see how valuing differences can enhance innovation and increase, rather than constrain, your problem solving options.

Work on issues of most interest to you…and your organization.

We have designed this workshop to be practical and applicable to the modern workplace. Your problems and concerns provide a frame of reference for all the workshop activities. At the end of the workshop, when you review your original learning objectives, you will discover that you have reframed the original problems and gained insight into the actual issues.

wealth of personal awareness

It provided me with a wealth of personal awareness of how my leadership style affects my teams’ working environment.

Jeff Preager - Delivery Manager

designed to challenge you and your concept of leadership

PSL is a workshop designed to challenge you and your concept of leadership in a way that is centered in empathy and growth.

Evan Youngblood, VP, Customer Experience

an opportunity to learn more about ways of approaching problems (and yourself!)

This workshop is an opportunity to learn more about ways of approaching problems (and yourself!) than should be possible in a week.

Pavel Brodsky, Engineering Manager


You Will Discover:


  • How to be a leader while being a member of a team
  • How to focus your thinking while in chaos
  • How to make change a productive, creative event
  • How to build truly effective teams


  • How to design projects people really want to work on
  • How to observe exactly what is happening
  • How to use tools of effective communication
  • How to handle conflict in problem solving groups


Senior leaders, managers, technical/team leads, coaches/consultants and those wanting their groups to be more effective benefit from participating in PSL. PSL participants come from leading software, technology, healthcare, insurance, and consumer goods companies, among others.

The Workshop

Please join us to continue your leadership journey. The next Problem Solving Leadership Workshop will be held May 12 - 17, 2024 in Albuquerque, NM, USA.

The fee for PSL is $2995. Participants are responsible for their own travel, meals, and lodging. We will have a favorable negotiated rate at the hotel where we hold the workshop.

PSL is strictly limited to 24 participants. In order to ensure many perspectives, we only take four people from a specific organization.

If you would like to register, please email us. You’ll receive a link to an online registration form and instructions.