The only strategy book you’ll ever need
If strategy is about creating a competitive advantage that allows a firm to win, then pinpointing your strategy to a few critically important choices will dramatically increase your chances of success. This is especially true in the volatile and complex environment that has become the norm for all of us. Yet the authors of Playing to Win, A. G. Lafley, the former CEO of Procter & Gamble and one of the most successful business leaders of the last century, and Roger Martin, Dean of the Rotman School of Management, say most firms shy away from these difficult strategic choices, settling instead for false approaches that can lead to irreversible blunders. Among the most common:
Mistaking tactics for strategy
Using "the world is changing" excuse to make it up as you go
Tweaking outdated plans to minimize disruption
Leaning on strategy consultants to make the tough choices
Don’t be most firms. Drawn on their years of experience working together and separately at P&G and the Rotman School of Management, Lafley and Martin present a deceptively simple set of exercises and questions that can guide the decisions of anyone in an organization. The book helps you and those who work with you to figure out the relationship of the day-to-day work to larger strategic goalssomething woefully lacking from many strategy books but also from the real world.
There are plenty of books written by CEOs that champion the work that, truthfully, only they could do, in their unique circumstances with their considerable resources. Playing to Win is different. It's a strategy book for everyone, that works everywhere. Once you open it you'll see why it's the only strategy book you'll ever need.
A.G. Lafley is the former Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer of Procter & Gamble. With Lafley at the helm, sales doubled, profits quadrupled, and the company’s market value increased by over $100 billion dollars, making P&G among the most valuable companies in the world. He has authored numerous Harvard Business Review articles and is co-author, with Ram Charan, of The Game-Changer: How You Can Drive Revenue and Profit Growth with Innovation (2008). Roger Martin is dean of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto and a professor of strategic management at the school. He authored The Responsibility Virus, The Opposable Mind, The Design of Business, Fixing the Game and many articles in leading business publications including Harvard Business Review, BusinessWeek, Fast Company, and Barron's.
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.”
Jørgen 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.”