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Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
In Playing To Win, Roger Martin teams up with A.G. Lafley to explain the process of creating strategic decisions told through the story of the strategic decision making at P&G while A.G.Lafley was CEO and Roger Martin was his chief outside strategic advisor. At a time when many executives would synonymise strategy with financial planning, or creation of yearly goals, Lafley and Martin remind us that strategy boils down to two questions: ‘where to play?’ and ‘how to win?’ and then making specific choices. In Martin and Lafley’s words:
“A strategy is a coordinated and integrated set of where-to-play, how-to-win, core capability, and management system choices that uniquely meet a customer’s needs…it is only through making and acting on choices that you can win. Yes, clear, tough choices force your hand and confine you to a path. But they also free you to focus on what matters.”
In the penultimate chapter, Martin and Lafley describe in detail their techniques to think through strategic issues in a way that leads to real decisions, not rafts of analyst reports and is the only method Martin now uses. I won’t spoil what is perhaps the most valuable part of the book, but suffice to say that once I started this chapter I could not put down the book and despite a long week, read late into the night.Read more ›
I am reviewing an advanced pre-publication copy of this book. I have been involved in small business and business development for years and I realise how important strategy planning is. SO I was egar to review this book.
The scope of the book.
This book is written by two heavyweights in the strategy field so it's worth paying attention to them as they have used, defined and refined business strategy systems all their careers - Google them to see a huge business pedigree.
Structure and approach.
The book starts off by explaining what strategy is and how different businesses interpret it. This is very useful reading for any business student or business person looking to modify or change strategy and who wants or needs the basics again. The book looks largely at Procter and Gamble and how they have used strategy to compete in a global market place. To me it made very interesting reading and it is obvious by adopting a strategy led approach they are still going today.
Each chapter reads much like a book on gambling but I suppose torn down to its basics all strategy is a gamble but with a lot of research, planning and decision making built-in. The chapters develop the various parts of the strategy equation and I personally found the explanations excellent and very useful. There are a few diagrams and tables used to highlight how to reduce risk and maximise reward.
Is this book the only book on strategy you will ever need ?
It depends on how much and how far you want to go with strategy. If you want a no holds barred grounding then this book will give it to you. If you want highly detailed development you will probably need more input and case studies. But as a standalone text this is as good as it gets.
According to the authors, strategy is the answer to five interrelated questions: (1) What is your winning aspiration? (2) Where will you play? (3) How will you win? (4) What capabilities must be in place? and (5) What management systems are required? In chapters 2 through 6 of this book, the authors explain the nature of the choices to be made, provide a number of examples of each choice, and offer advice for making the choice given a context. These five choices comprise the "strategic choice cascade", the foundation of their strategy work. Organizations of all kinds, esp. individuals would further unlock value by identifying the choices outlined in this readable volume. Decent stuff!
Having worked for Unilever myself (way, way back in the day) it was endearing to be reminded by this book how brands, when treated as a real persona and taken seriously, are able to deliver huge rewards. Anecdotes aplenty about Tide, Olay, Febreze, etc., are used to explain their framework of: Where to play? How to win; What capabilities are needed and what management systems are required.
The book has its limitations obviously, yet it's clearly and concisely written. It makes many valuable points simply and unobtrusively. Since its practical for most and treats strategy with respect - I loved it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
ok as a book but tended to focus mainly on two or three case studies. The general principles and diagrams were great. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
Really good book for bring clarity to your strategy and being able to communicate this across an organisation. 2 more wordsPublished 5 months ago by Keego
Very easy to read with lots of really useful content. The approaches outlined are applicable to all industries not just FMCG. Read morePublished 8 months ago by P. Watt
This takes a simple look at developing strategy based around answering five (not so easy) questions:
1) What do you want to achieve? Read more
I thank the distinguished authors for making their unique knowledge available to us. It is a rare treasure because it brings together the essential foundations and drivers of... Read morePublished 10 months ago by MR SAMIR TOUAT
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