PLAYING TO WIN – How Strategy Really Works
– A.G. Lafley and Roger L. Martin
Recommendation: HIGH – a practical guide through the five strategic choices you need to make to get ahead of your competitors.
Key Comment: “Are you just playing – or Playing to Win?”
“Don’t Let Strategy Become Planning” is a poignant point that captured my eye when reading this book for the first time. Developing a strategy can be challenging because it forces people and organisations to make specific choices about their future.
A.G Lafley is the former Chairman, President and CEO of Proctor & Gamble (P&G), the powerhouse global consumer goods company with brands like Tide, Pampers, Olay, and Gillette. Roger L. Martin is a Professor Emeritus at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto and, in 2017, was named the world’s #1 management thinker by Thinkers50.
This book takes you through the Strategy Choice Cascade (pictured below), five essential and integrated strategic choices that Lafley and Martin recommend will move you ahead of your competition – when implemented effectively (I added the last bit).
A plethora of case studies and examples from P&G demonstrate the strategic choices which need to be made at a corporate and brand level as you move through the decision-making model. I particularly like the case study referenced throughout the book that follows the revitalisation of Olay. It shows the strategic choices made which tool the old-fashioned, low priced ‘Oil of Olay’ brand and transformed it across mass and prestige markets into a global powerhouse. It involved changing consumer perceptions across a multitude of different touchpoints from product to sales channel, pricing, product innovation and more.
Play to Win also provides some tools to help you make those decisions. The Strategic Logic Flow is a great one to help choose where to play and how to win.
- INDUSTRY: What is the structure of your industry and the attractiveness of its segment?
- CUSTOMERS: What do your channel and end-customer value? Channel customers for P&G refer to retailers; you may have different channel customers. If you don’t provide value to your channel customers, you may not have a channel to reach your end customer (or consumer).
- RELATIVE POSITION: How does your company’s capabilities stack up against your competition? How do you leverage strengths and address gaps?
- COMPETITION: What will your competition do in reaction to your chosen course of action?
Chapter Eight – ‘Shorten Your Odds’ is my favourite because it’s all about increasing the chances of implementation success. Anyone who’s followed me or read our book, Strategisation, will know I’m a big fan of mobilising people for success. This chapter provides an approach that generates buy-in by asking the right question when making strategic choices.
The book is well written, with DO’s and DON’T’S at the end of each chapter. I originally read the digital version but then invested in a hardcover which I use as a reference book, bookmarking pages to help me find key points quickly.
I’d thoroughly recommend ‘Playing to Win’ to any leader at any level in an organisation who is responsible for developing strategy or contributing to it.
You can buy it at Amazon or any good bookstore. Link below:
Amazon Australia: Playing to Win