Join getAbstract to access the summary!

Bulletproof Problem Solving

Join getAbstract to access the summary!

Bulletproof Problem Solving

The One Skill That Changes Everything


15 min read
8 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

The world needs people who can fix complex issues. Learn this seven-step problem-solving approach to empower yourself.

Editorial Rating



Faced with the complex challenges of the 21st century, organizations all over the world are, increasingly, seeking workers with strong problem-solving abilities, argue Charles Conn and Robert McLean. Yet such people remain in short supply. The authors share the seven-step problem-solving approach they developed at McKinsey & Company that can help you transform your life, your organization and the world around you. Fueled by the belief that problem-solvers are “made not born,” they aim to empower you to tackle problems of all scales with creativity and confidence.


Complex problem-solving is the single most important 21st-century skill.

The World Economic Forum ranks complex problem-solving as the number one critical skill for the 21st century, yet schools and universities often fail to properly develop this capability in students. As the pace of change and technological disruption accelerates, and humanity faces more multifaceted problems on a bigger scale than it has ever faced before, people across industries must embrace a systemic approach to problem-solving. Organizations today need problem-solvers who can make decisions amidst uncertainty and complexity. These individuals must understand how to rule out obvious solutions and arrive at those that will yield the most desired outcomes. 

Charles Conn and Robert McLean developed the seven-step “Bulletproof Problem Solving” approach at McKinsey & Company. Their approach empowers you to improve your life – whether you hope to get a new job or boost your performance at work – drive change within organizations and create high-level change within complex systems. Problem-solving is a high-stakes activity. It can save lives, transform...

About the Authors

Charles Conn is a co-founder of Monograph Capital and the former CEO of Oxford Sciences Innovation. Rob McLean is McKinsey & Company’s director emeritus. 

Comment on this summary