McKinsey: How to ace collaborative problem solving

Welcome to the McKinsey guide to problem solving. In this series, we’ll offer insights and advice from leaders around the world on ways you can develop your problem-solving skills. Bookmark this page for the latest, and stay tuned for posts on how to develop a problem-solving mindset, how to solve problems in uncertain times, problem solving with AI, and much more.

About Liz

Liz Hilton Segel is McKinsey’s chief client officer. She leads McKinsey’s ten sector groups and 22 global industry practices and oversees the firm’s client service. As chief client officer, Liz is responsible for McKinsey’s client service functions, which include client experience, offerings, development, and analytics. Liz sits on the firm’s 15-person global leadership team, and is a member of McKinsey’s Shareholders Council, our board of directors equivalent. She was previously the managing partner for McKinsey in North America, the managing partner of the Growth, Marketing & Sales Practice in the Americas, and also the managing partner of our New York office.

In her client work, Liz counsels CEOs and aligns with their teams and broader organizations to build new capabilities and new businesses with a focus on growth and performance transformation.

Liz serves on the board of the Partnership for New York City and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the American Marketing Association’s Marketing Hall of Fame academy. She is also a founding member of the HBS Women’s Association of Greater New York. Liz was recognized by Working Mother magazine as the 2018 “Working Mother of the Year” and was included in Crain’s New York Business’s 2019 list of “Most Powerful Women” and its 2018 list of “Notable Women in Accounting and Consulting.” Previously, she served on the board of ClickFox, a customer-journey analytics technology company, and two not for profits: Central Park Conservancy and Prep for Prep.

A native New Yorker, Liz and her husband are the proud parents of two children. She has a bachelor’s from Harvard University and MBA from Harvard Business School.

Published work

Six CEO priorities for 2023,” McKinsey & Company, April 2023

What’s your superpower? How companies can build an institutional capability to achieve competitive advantage,” McKinsey & Company, March 2023

What matters most? Six priorities for CEOs in turbulent times,” McKinsey & Company, November 2022

What matters most? Five priorities for CEOs in the next normal,” McKinsey & Company, September 2021

Five ways to design a better mental-health future for a stressed-out workforce,” McKinsey & Company, November 2020

Positive leadership in uncertain times,” McKinsey & Company, April 2020

The future of work in America: People and places, today and tomorrow,” McKinsey & Company, July 2019

Building an engine for growth that funds itself,” McKinsey & Company, May 2018

Setting an agenda for organic growth in the digital age,” McKinsey & Company, October 2017

The roots of organic growth,” McKinsey Quarterly, August 2017

Mastering three strategies of organic growth,” McKinsey & Company, August 2017

Invest, Create, Perform: Mastering the three dimensions of growth in the digital age,” McKinsey & Company, March 2017

Playing offense: What it takes to drive growth,” McKinsey & Company, March 2017

The ten things marketers can do to become a profit center for the business,” McKinsey & Company, January 2017

The power of points: Strategies for making loyalty programs work,” Chief Marketing & Sales Officer Forum, June 2013


Harvard Business School

Harvard University
AB, economics

Activities and Interests

Partnership for New York City
Member, board of trustees

The Conference Board
Member, board of trustees

Central Park Conservancy
Member, board of trustees

Council on Foreign Relations

American Marketing Association
Member, Marketing Hall of Fame Academy

April 30, 2023

They say two heads are better than one, but is that true when it comes to solving problems in the workplace? To solve any problem—whether personal (eg, deciding where to live), business-related (eg, raising product prices), or societal (eg, reversing the obesity epidemic)—it’s crucial to first define the problem. In a team setting, that translates to establishing a collective understanding of the problem, awareness of context, and alignment of stakeholders. “Both good strategy and good problem solving involve getting clarity about the problem at hand, being able to disaggregate it in some way, and setting priorities,” Rob McLean, McKinsey director emeritus, told McKinsey senior partner Chris Bradley in an Inside the Strategy Room podcast episode. Check out these insights to uncover how your team can come up with the best solutions for the most complex challenges by adopting a methodical and collaborative approach.

Want better strategies? Become a bulletproof problem solver

How to master the seven-step problem-solving process

Countering otherness: Fostering integration within teams

Psychological safety and the critical role of leadership development

If we’re all so busy, why isn’t anything getting done?

To weather a crisis, build a network of teams

Unleash your team’s full potential

Modern marketing: Six capabilities for multidisciplinary teams

Beyond collaboration overload

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