Rotman School of Management

Main Content

Rotman's Strategic Decision Making Program

Get ahead in a VUCA world with military insights

Dates: TBA
Location: Rotman School of Management, 105 St. George Street, Toronto, Ontario
Fee: $4,250 CAD + HST


Leaders devote time to thinking about decisions but spend not nearly as much time practicing how to actually make decisions. Feeling pressured or paralyzed by choice in high-stakes situations, many managers and executives project false confidence and rashly make uninformed decisions.

Rotman's Strategic Decision Making program will help leaders learn how to map out risks, rewards and a variety of outcomes so they can properly assess potential choices and make more profitable decisions using military insights. Organizations like the Canadian Forces use wargaming simulations as part of their operational planning processes in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) world.

Utilizing an interactive wargaming simulation based on military practices, case studies, and discussions, participants will practice Rotman's decision-making process with real-life examples of business challenges. A team of military experts will guide participants through a method for framing nearly every major professional decision leaders might face.  Assess possible choices in volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous environments while learning a system that will predict possible outcomes while quantifying risk and reward.

The role of directors and executives is to make the best decisions for their organizations on behalf of their stakeholders, capitalizing on opportunities and executing the operational art through their staff.  The processes taught in Rotman's Strategic Decision Making program apply equally to corporations as well as for not-for-profit or governmental entities, and are suitable for when leaders need to make the hard calls alone or with a team. This program provides leaders with the opportunity to practice decision making and better integrate innovation.


At the end of the program, participants will be equipped to lead and support their organizations by:

  • ensuring that operational control and strategic management are maintained during the development phase of a plan;
  • conducting informed risk analysis and risk management;
  • translating strategic objectives into operational and tactical-level objectives for directors and business units;
  • standardizing a planning process within their organization for improved levels of efficiency and accountability;
  • guiding development of plans including synchronization of operational business units/departments;
  • maximizing the CEO's/senior executives' creative and critical thinking and associated thought processes;
  • developing the skills to drill down and fully articulate all possible choices and their consequences and
  • gaining confidence in their own ability to defeat cognitive biases

How Does It Work?

Wargaming simulations provide the opportunity for participants to practice making tough decisions, analyze their decision-making processes, and review the outcomes within a military framework.

Participants will be divided into two teams and prepare plans based on a set scenario. By directing their forces against the other team and making decisions in line with their team's values and goals, participants will gain experience leading teams, processing and managing information, delegating responsibility, and analyzing the relationship between actions and outcomes.

Actions taken in the simulation can represent periods of time from days to months or years, and instructors will judge the results based on the rules and their extensive professional experience.

A discussion or seminar will follow each wargaming simulation, examining the actions taken and allowing all players to generate insights about themselves, their opponents, and how they can improve their decision making processes. By practicing making decisions within a university setting, participants will better understand each other's perspectives as well as the strengths and weaknesses of the chain of command. This kind of practice can encourage greater initiative and innovation down the chain, providing colleagues with the ability to independently take action.

Who Should Attend

Leaders from a wide range of industry backgrounds who need to make strong decisions despite risk and uncertainty across all functional areas are encouraged to attend, including:

  • corporate directors and officers
  • experienced public administrators in federal, provincial and municipal government
  • national, regional and international business unit managers
  • executive directors of associations and NGOs
  • professional services executives
  • senior, experienced police officers


Day 1

Planning process
Allocation of resources
Procedural roles and responsibilities

Day 2

Orientation outputs
Course of action (COA) development

Day 3

Simulation/COA comparison
Decision briefing
Recap and Business Management Planning Process (BuMPP) example


The application process for this program is currently closed. If you would like to receive more information about the program or speak to our Learning Advisors, please fill in the form below.

Questions?We’re here to help

Our Learning Advisors: Joanne and Giordano

Speak to Joanne and Giordano, our expert Learning Advisors about choosing the right program for you or your organization.

Tel: 416.978.8815

Customize this program

To customize this program, contact Matt Cass. For any other questions, reach out to a Learning Advisor.

© Rotman School of ManagementAASCB