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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Required reading if you are thinking how to grow or turn around your business
Every once in a long while you come across a thinker who has such a magnificent command of the facts, wide ranging intellectual creativity, but most of all clarity of expression that you simply think –‘of course – that’s amazing - why didn’t I think of that!’. Roger Martin is one of those thinkers who can review the world of business...
Published 22 months ago by Nathaniel Suda

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Useful enough if a little hollow at times
This is a useful enough handbook that's easy to read with some good anecdotes. It focuses on Proctor & Gamble and the changes to it's structure and product over the past ten years or so and it is honest enough to point out the failures as much as the successes.

As with many business books these days it does repeatedly state the obvious though, such as...
Published 20 months ago by Zipster Zeus


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Required reading if you are thinking how to grow or turn around your business, 17 Feb 2013
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This review is from: Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works (Kindle Edition)
Every once in a long while you come across a thinker who has such a magnificent command of the facts, wide ranging intellectual creativity, but most of all clarity of expression that you simply think –‘of course – that’s amazing - why didn’t I think of that!’. Roger Martin is one of those thinkers who can review the world of business and strategy with intellectual rigor and convey it in such a clear, convincing way you remember his key arguments years later.

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.

Playing to Win: How strategy really works is nothing short of brilliant, and if you are a strategist, or just a manager trying to figure out how to grow or turn around your business you should have a dog-eared copy on your bookshelf next to Michael Porter’s Competitive Strategy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As good as a single book can get on the subject, 16 Oct 2013
By 
RJP the Book Boy "Book boy" (UK) - See all my reviews
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Playing to win. The only strategy book you'll ever need by A.G Lafley and Roger L. Martin

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.

Finer detail.

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.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars winning in strategy at P&G, 26 Jan 2013
By 
J. DOUGLAS "Johnny Douglas" (Nr London, England) - See all my reviews
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This is strategy meets organisational change. It converges on the transformation journey of Procter & Gamble over ten years. They wrestle with principles and practice of strategy. Navigating the temporary and the timeless with wisdom and impact. The authors discuss that although many good strategic choices were made, the company also had its share of disappointments and failures. And also vitally earth it in the truth-telling that in business:-"no strategy lasts forever".

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!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lots of small words adding up to several big ideas., 20 Feb 2013
By 
Clarke (Linlithgow, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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For me, the clever thing about the book is how clearly the ideas are written. The language (full of examples) is very clear and conscise. It's a pleasure to read. The fact that it's cowritten by two of our times great thinkers and doers helps too...

In short: it's excellent.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars P&G is the example to win is to be successful. Strategy is the key., 28 Nov 2013
By 
Jack Chakotay "Ender Brazil" (Northern Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This is a neat little book that relies extensively on the Proctor and Gamble cooperation for various examples and illustrations of its key points. As the author was a former CEO, he sticks to what he knows and presents the case very well. In defining a strategy he breaks it down to a very logical

1) winning aims
2) field of play
3) techniques to win
4) putting in place capabilities
5) coordinating the system through management.

There is lots of high-powered decision making being at P&G fleshing out these points. While this can be a bit dry, success speaks for itself and it is up to the reader to apply individual conditions and scale to these ideas.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Direct and clear, great book on the subject, 20 Nov 2013
By 
B. Bello (Stourton) - See all my reviews
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Published by the Harvard Business Review Press and co-authored by a former CEO of Proctor & Gamble and dean of a School of Management who have worked both together and separately, the main theme of this book is to assist companies to make strategic choices which will dramatically increase their chances of success.

This book builds a practical route to avoid the blunders which can lead companies down the path of settling for false approaches in an easy to negotiate and down to earth way.

Although written in an easy going style – it addresses a complex strategies systematically and clearly.

A great book if you feel your company may not be performing to its optimum in an ever changing business environment.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent example of its kind, 3 Sep 2013
By 
D. P. Mankin (Ceredigion, Wales) - See all my reviews
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This is a practical guide to strategic management. It is written in a clear, lucid fashion and uses some topical examples to support the various prinicples (essentially revolving around five key questions). Everything is well explained and it is apparent that the two authors know what they're talking about. In effect, they have gone back to first principles. Or back to basics, as it were. Then used these principles as a solid foundation to build upon. The overall effect is impressive: this is an excellent example of this type of management text. If you don't want to get bogged down in detail but still want an informed understanding of strategy then this is the ideal book. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Straightforward and effective book on strategy, 16 Aug 2013
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This review is from: Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works (Kindle Edition)
This book does not bother with the potential frivolity the subject of strategy often draws out of academics. The partnership between one of the best CEOs of the past decade and a leading academic is a refreshing and informative one - with endless practical examples underpinning the theoretical framework. Recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!, 6 Aug 2013
One of the best book I've read about the strategy. Great examples. Well-written and easy to read.
Definitely worth buying.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Some good ideas for organisational change.. Worth a read, 25 July 2013
By 
MGreviews "matt0007" (UK) - See all my reviews
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With many companies having organisational restructures to help adapt to today's challenges. This book is a great reference to how one of the biggest companies in the world made similar decisions to help keep it at the front of its industry. What I like about the book is that it uses real like examples that show that it can work. For any entrepreneurial business man this is a good book to read and see how it was done and how it can still be done.
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