Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works Hardcover – 5 Feb 2013
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One of the best books on Strategy is Roger Martin and A. G. Lafley's "Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works." "TIME" magazine
Winner Thinkers50 Best Book Award 2012 and 2013. Thinkers50 (thinkers50.com)
"Playing to Win" is a rare tale from the front lines of business and from two of its smartest minds. "Washington Post"
["Playing to Win"]: "How Strategy Really Works" may be the best business and strategy book I ve read since Michael Porter. There is plenty of practical advice, including the fact that business people often confuse a vision for a strategy. Instead, the authors claim winning through distinctive choices is the always-and-forever job of every strategist. Jonathan Becher, SAP via Forbes.com
Lafley and Martin have artfully combined two virtues that don't often mix: rigor and brevity. Winning strategy doesn't come from inspirational happy-talk; it comes from deeply substantive hard thinking, and they tell us how it's done, with many examples. The book is short, crisp, a pleasure to read. "Fortune"
I doubt there are two more intelligent business minds out there than Lafley and Martin. "Playing to Win" meets the high expectations raised by those two names, and is the best business book I ve read so far this year. Jack Covert, 800 CEO READ
clear and effective WSJ.com (Wall Street Journal)
Read their book. They, in turn, are sure to inspire you. Forbes.com
"I hate CEO books...[but]...this book totally rocks. It's a beautiful manual...a triumph. Tom Keene, Bloomberg TV
This is a fascinating tale, featuring a cast of familiar brands, including Pampers, Tide and Olay, each of which went through a transformation under Mr. Lafley s eye. "The Economist"
this new offering by former Procter & Gamble CEO Lafley (coauthor of "The Game-Changer") and Martin (dean of the Rotman School of Management and author of "Fixing the Game") is a clear standoutThis collection of insights and captivating examples about strategy is a must-read for leaders at any level in the for-profit or not-for-profit world. "Publishers Weekly"
Strategy lessons, 101 a manual for strategy practitioners. "Financial Times"
The many stories from one of the biggest consumer goods firms in the world, with its many successes (and some failures too) along with the framework of the strategy to win, make this an interesting read. livemint.com
a highly readable book that provides the reader with a very good understanding of the process and the real building blocks of value creation. "Ottawa Business Journal "
"Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works"written by an impressive duo: former Procter & Gamble CEO A.G. Lafley and Dean of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto Roger Martinis not just an insiders tale of the workings of a successful global corporation. It s the story of how you can do what top brands do: Create and execute stellar strategy well. Lots of books are published about business strategy, many of them either badly written or not relevant to associations, or both. This one is an exception. "Associations Now" (ASAE: American Society of Association Executives)
interesting and thought-provoking work on business strategy "Business World"
The best practitioner-focused strategy book I have ever read, and all the more useful for the fact it is concise, well-structured and compelling, with almost no jargon. Strategic Management Bureau
Unlike many management texts, which read as if written for CEOs of multi-billion-dollar businesses, these tales from the fast-moving consumer goods front are useful for acquiring, extending or defending market share at any size of company. "The Deal" The Australian Business Magazine
I wish this book had been available to me earlier it would have been invaluable during my tenure at Britannia! Sunil K. Alagh (Ex-CEO, Britannia Industries Ltd.) in Outlook Business
You re unlikely to find a more comprehensive guide to what strategy actually means and how to use it to your company s advantage. "HR Magazine"
As a mere student of life and an avid readers of business literature that is grounded in the practical and realistic realms, I found this (book) is a must read. Jonathan Yach (CEO, PropCare Mall Management) in "Business World" (India)
The book offers many inside stories about how P&G tackled strategy in various arenas, including examples of when it failed. That gives an even more practical flavour to this practical look at strategy, from two savvy strategy practitioners. "The Globe & Mail"
Sure to be a strategy classic. Book of the Month. Strategic Management Bureau
Set to become a classic text on strategy. Decision (Ireland)
a full vindication of P&G s strategic nous Marketing Ireland
Two of today s best-known business thinkers get to the heart of strategy. The stories of how P&G repeatedly won by applying [Lafley and Martin's] method to iconic brands such as Olay, Bounty, and Gillette, clearly illustrate how deciding on a strategic approach--and then making the right choices to support it makes the difference between just playing the game and actually winning. "Expert Marketer Magazine"
a must-read book American Express Open Forum
the book can be used by any business to help mesh everyday operations with long-term strategic objectives. "Fort Worth Star Telegram"
"Playing to Win" clearly elevates the discussion of strategy. It gets to the heart of what s important for a business leader. "Business Standard"
The book delivers on the title. It s a unique and nuanced view of strategy and its implementation. Highly recommended. Business Traveller (businesstraveller.com)
just about everyone trying to market anything these days could profit from this careful, well-done text on how to craft a strategy. Marketing Daily
an important addition to every decision-maker s library. "Success" magazine
Pick up the book to know how to create a triple crown: a win in China, a win in India, and a win at home; and to understand the differences and similarities between China and India. "Business India"
This valuable book is based on the two authors years of experience working together and separately at P&G and Rotman School of Management. It is rich in examples and practical advice that show how organizations of all sizes can move beyond visions and plans to create judiciously plotted winning strategies. Developing Leaders
ADVANCE PRAISE for "Playing to Win"
Daniel H. Pink, author, "Drive and A Whole New Mind"
Reading "Playing to Win" is like having prime seats at the Super Bowl of strategy. You ll learn the strategies consumer goods powerhouse Procter & Gamble uses to get its innovative products into millions of homesplus tested methods for winning your own marketplace contests. If you re a marketer or a leader, you need to read this book.
Sir Terry Leahy, former CEO, Tesco
This is the best book on strategy I have ever read. Lafley and Martin get to the heart of what s important: how to make choices in order to control events rather than allowing events to control your choices. Everyone wants to win; this book sets down with calm authority the steps you must take to turn aspiration into reality.
Clayton M. Christensen, Kim B. Clark Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School; author, "The Innovator s Dilemma"
Lafley and Martin teach us how to develop and then how to deploy strategy. Their recommendations apply at every levelcorporation, business units, products, and teams. This is a great book.
Chip Heath, coauthor, "Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work"
Most authors conduct research before they write a book. Lafley and Martin went out and did something. They used their simple, subtle frameworkWhere will we play? How will we win?to double the value of one of the world s greatest businesses. And now they re showing you how to do the same. Read this book. . . before your competitors find it.
Jorgen Vig Knudstorp, CEO, Lego Group
"Playing to Win" is a rare combination of depth of thinking and ease of use. It clearly explains what business strategy is and isn t, and how to develop it. Lafley and Martin distill their hard-won experiences and offer insights, practical hands-on tools, and tips that will inspire and allow you to think strategically in new ways about your own business.
Jack Welch, former Chairman and CEO, General Electric
A great CEO and a renowned educator join forces to create a must-read for anyone thinking about strategy.
Scott Cook, cofounder and Chairman of the Executive Committee, Intuit
Here is business strategy through the eyes of the man who led Procter & Gamble s stunning turnaround and success in the 2000s and the strategist who advised and worked with him. Lush with insights that show the what and the how of two master strategists.
James P. Hackett, President and CEO, Steelcase Inc.
Lafley and Martin have invested their respective careers in understanding the complexity of strategy. What has emerged in this seminal work is a simple and rich framework that can help business leaders think through strategic choices. It is an eminently helpful guide to choice making, which is the most essential part of leadership.
Jim McNerney, President, CEO, and Chairman, Boeing
"Playing to Win" is an insightful do-it-yourself guide that demystifies what it takes to craft, implement, and continuously improve effective business strategies. Using relevant, real-world examples, Lafley and Martin offer proven techniques for competing and winning in today s challenging global business environment.
Thomas Tull, founder and CEO, Legendary Pictures
I love this book; it is thought provoking and acts as a catalyst to ask questionsabout ourselves and our business life course. In a day and age when information and instant communication are relentless components of business and our lifestyle, A. G. Lafley and Roger Martin suggest we take an important pause to actually question our strategic road maps and the associated plans we need in order to succeed in this marketplace.
About the Author
A.G. Lafley has been named the new Chief Executive Officer, President, and Chairman of Procter & Gamble, where he previously served as CEO from 2000-2009. Under Lafley's leadership, P&G's sales doubled, its profits quadrupled, its market value increased by more than $100 billion, and its portfolio of billion-dollar brands--like Tide, Pampers, Olay, and Gillette--grew from 10 to 24 as a result of his focus on winning strategic choices, consumer-driven innovation, and reliable, sustainable growth. Roger Martin is Dean of the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management and an adviser to CEOs on strategy, design, innovation, and integrative thinking. In 2011, Roger was named by Thinkers50 as the sixth top management thinker in the world. This is his eighth book; he also contributes regularly to Harvard Business Review, the Financial Times, and the Washington Post, among others. He holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and an AB in economics from Harvard College.
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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 ›
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!
1) What do you want to achieve?
2) Where are you going to play?
3) How can you win?
4) How to improve/develop the core capabilities needed to win?
5) What management system is needed to make sure you win and to keep everything aligned?
I think it's excellent that this approach can be summarised down to one piece of paper with these answers since it helps to focus on the dynamics on strategy and the importance that the answers fit together. As one answer develops, it can mean changing the previous answers so that the strategic intention evolves through various iterative loops.
To help you to answer the questions, the book introduces the strategic logic flow analysis which starts with looking at the environment and customer segments, then what the customers and channels value, then at internal capabilities and costs before considering how competitors will react. Again it's recognised that answers in one part may need you to go back to an earlier stage. Again the authors are reinforcing the idea that strategy is not a simple step 1, step 2, step 3... here's the answer process.
The book contains plenty of long examples from Proctor & Gamble, the huge fmcg company and this is both a strength and a weakness.
First, the approach is grounded in the real world and some readers may be aware of the history of some of the brands from their own experiences as buyers. Unfortunately others will find it hard to relate to P&G and their resources and capabilities for customer research, marketing communications, channel distribution, innovation and economies of scale.Read more ›
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 9 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 10 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 13 months ago by P. Watt