Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works - A Book Review
If you are looking for a practical and proven guide to creating and executing winning strategies, you should read Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works by A.G. Lafley and Roger Martin. This book is based on the authors' experience of transforming Procter & Gamble from a struggling company to a global leader in consumer goods.
In this book, Lafley and Martin reveal the five essential strategic choices that every leader must make to achieve success: what is our winning aspiration, where will we play, how will we win, what capabilities must we have in place to win, and what management systems are required to support our choices. They also provide a toolkit for applying these choices to any type of organization, industry, or situation.
Playing to Win is not just a theory, but a practical and tested method that has worked for some of the world's most celebrated brands and products. The book is full of examples and stories that illustrate how Lafley and Martin used this approach to double P&G's sales, quadruple its profits, and increase its market value by more than $100 billion.
Whether you are a CEO, a manager, an entrepreneur, or a student, Playing to Win will help you learn how to think strategically and make better decisions that lead to winning outcomes. You will also discover how to avoid common pitfalls and mistakes that can derail your strategy.
Playing to Win is a must-read for anyone who wants to master the art and science of strategy. It is available in Kindle, audiobook, hardcover, and audio CD formats from Amazon.com. You can also find more information about the book and the authors on their website: https://www.playingtowinbook.com/.
What is Strategy
Many people confuse strategy with vision, mission, goals, plans, or tactics. But strategy is not any of these things. Strategy is about making specific choices to win in the marketplace. It is about answering two fundamental questions: where will you play and how will you win there
Where to play defines your target customers, segments, products, channels, geographies, and stages of production. It helps you to focus on the most attractive and profitable opportunities for your organization.
How to win defines your unique value proposition, capabilities, and activities that will enable you to deliver superior value to your chosen customers and outperform your competitors.
Strategy is not a one-time exercise or a static document. It is a dynamic and iterative process that requires constant testing, learning, and adaptation. It also requires alignment and commitment from the entire organization to execute it effectively.
The Strategy Choice Cascade
Lafley and Martin propose a simple but powerful framework for developing and implementing strategy: the strategy choice cascade. It consists of five interrelated choices that form a coherent whole:
What is our winning aspiration This is the purpose of your organization, the reason why it exists, and what it seeks to achieve.
Where will we play This is the scope of your strategy, the markets, segments, categories, channels, and geographies where you will compete.
How will we win This is the competitive advantage of your strategy, the unique value proposition and capabilities that will allow you to win in your chosen markets.
What capabilities must we have This is the set of skills, systems, processes, assets, and resources that are essential to execute your strategy.
What management systems are required This is the structure, culture, incentives, measures, and controls that will support and reinforce your strategy.
The cascade helps you to make clear and explicit choices that are logically connected and mutually reinforcing. It also helps you to communicate your strategy effectively to your stakeholders and align your actions with your strategic goals.
The Strategy Playbook
To apply the strategy choice cascade to your organization, you need a strategy playbook. This is a practical guide that walks you through the steps of developing and executing your strategy. Lafley and Martin provide a detailed playbook in their book, which includes:
The Strategy Logic Flow: A tool to test the logic and coherence of your strategic choices.
The Reverse Engineering Process: A tool to analyze your competitors' strategies and anticipate their moves.
The Consumer Benefit Ladder: A tool to identify and articulate your value proposition to your customers.
The Capability Systems Matrix: A tool to map out and prioritize your key capabilities.
The Activity System Map: A tool to visualize how your activities fit together and support your strategy.
The Strategy Realization Model: A tool to monitor and measure your strategy execution and performance.
The playbook also provides tips and examples on how to overcome common challenges and pitfalls in strategy development and implementation. aa16f39245