“The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do.” — Michael Porter
I am pleased that A.G. Lafley has co-authored another book, with Roger Martin, after previously co-authoring The Game Changer with Ram Charan. Whereas in the first the focus is on how to drive revenue and profit growth with innovation, the focus in this book is on how strategy really works. Most of the time it doesn’t and reasons vary. However, Lafley and Martin identify these familiar troublemakers:
1. Defining strategy as a vision
2. Defining strategy as a plan
3. Denying that the long-term (or even the medium-term) strategy is possible
4. Defining strategy as the optimization of the status quo.
5. Defining strategy as following best practices
Rather, Lafley and Martin suggest that a strategy “is a coordinated and integrated set of five choices: a winning aspiration, where to play, how to win, core capabilities, and management systems.” In this context, I am reminded of two recently published books. In Judgment Calls, Tom Davenport and Brooke Manville offer “an antidote for the Great Man theory of decision making and organizational performance”: organizational judgment. That is, “the collective capacity to make good calls and wise moves when the need for them exceeds the scope of any single leader’s direct control.” In Martin’s brilliant book, The Opposable Mind, he calls this “integrative thinking.” Winning the game (whatever its nature and extent) would thus require a strategy that is both inclusive and collaborative.
In Paul Schoemaker’s latest book, Brilliant Mistakes, he observes: “The key question companies need to address is not `Should we make mistakes?’ but rather `Which mistakes should we make in order to test our deeply held assumptions?’” The mistakes to which Schoemaker refers are deliberate. Their purpose is to help achieve strategic objectives. Those who play to win cannot be risk-averse. That is, play not to lose. If strategy is a set of choices “that uniquely positions the given enterprise so as to create sustainable advantage and superior value relative to the competition,” and I believe it is, then quality of judgment is imperative, not only when making a specific choice but throughout a continuous and cohesive decision-making process.
These are among the dozens of passages I found to be of greatest interest and value, also listed to suggest the range of subjects covered during the course of the book’s narrative:
o How to Win (Pages 24-29)
o Playing to Win (39-43)
o The Importance of the Right Playing Field, and, Three Dangerous Temptations (57-65)
o Differentiation Strategies (83-88)
o Gillette and the Strategic Choice Cascade (107-112)
o Understanding Capabilities and Activity Systems (112-119)
o Systems for Making and Renewing Strategy (129-136)
o Systems to Support Core Capabilities (144-149)
o Customer Value Analysis (167-171)
o Generating Buy-In: The Traditional Approach (183-200)
o The Importance of the Right Playing Field, and, The Dangerous Temptations Six Strategy Traps, and Six Telltale Signs of a Winning Strategy (214-216)
When concluding their book, A.G. Lafley and Roger Martin acknowledge, “All strategy entails risk. But operating in a slow-growing, fast-changing, intensely competitive world without a strategy to guide you is far riskier. Leaders lead, and a good place to start leading is in strategy development for your business. Use the strategic choice cascade [Pages 17-18 and 33-34], the strategy logic flow [161-177] and reverse engineering of strategic choices [186-200] to craft a winning strategy and sustainable competitive advantage for your organization. Play to win.”
No brief commentary such as mine can possibly do full justice to the scope of material that A.G. Lafley and Roger Martin provide in this volume but I hope that I have at least suggested why I think so highly of their book. Also, I hope that those who read this commentary will be better prepared to determine whether or not they wish to read the book and, in that event, will have at least some idea of how an enriched and enlightened understanding of what strategy is — and isn’t could perhaps be of substantial benefit to their professional development as well as to the success of their organization.
Monday, February 18, 2013 Posted by Bob Morris | Bob's blog entries | "an antidote for the Great Man theory of decision making and organizational performance, "the collective capacity to make good calls and wise moves when the need for them exceeds the scope of any single leader's direct control, a winning aspiration, A.G. Lafley, Brilliant Mistakes, Brooke Manville, core capabilities, Harvard Business Review Press, how to win, integrative thinking, Judgment Calls, management systems, organizational judgment, Paul Schoemaker, Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works, Ram Charan, Roger Martin, The Game-Changer, The Opposable Mind, Tom Davenport, where to play | Leave a Comment
December Charity Sponsor
CitySquare exists to fight the root causes of poverty by partnering with those in need. Working together as a community, we feed the hungry, heal the sick, house the homeless and renew hope in the heart of our city.
- First Friday Book Synopsis in DallasDecember 6th, 2013The big day is here.
- Mary Barra, New CEO of GM, Gets It – We live in a “Rollout; Find Bugs; Fix Bugs” Era
- Holiday Business Book Gift Suggestions
- Four Books to Help You Choose the Right Talent to “Up Your Game” for Everyone Around
- Niraj Dawar: An interview by Bob Morris
- Maybe Doug Parker, CEO of American Airlines, Needs to Rethink His Word Choice – (A Reminder: Think about Your Customer!)
- Malcolm Gladwell – He is Interested in Testing and Pressing Against Received Wisdom
- I will be at the Grand Lodge of Texas in Waco this week. 1 week ago
- Gender Stereotypes in Action in Recent Best-Sellers: wp.me/pmm68-89I via @randy1116 2 months ago
- Lucy Wins Best Comedy Television Scene on NBC Show - But Books Don't Say She Was the Best!: wp.me/pmm68-82t via @randy1116 3 months ago
- August Charity Program is Great Success - Thank You!: wp.me/pmm68-82k via @randy1116 3 months ago
- King's Speech was Great - But Not the Greatest!: wp.me/pmm68-82g via @randy1116 3 months ago
- The 12 cognitive biases that prevent us from being rational lnkd.in/bS-_dSf 4 hours ago
- True Alignment: A book review by Bob Morris lnkd.in/beZb2AX 4 hours ago
- The Do’s and Don’ts of Dealing With a Slacking Co-Worker lnkd.in/bafDzsJ 4 hours ago
- The Washington Generals face better odds than the other five finalists do of upsetting the Florida State quarterback foxsportssouth.com/fox-sports-net… 59 minutes ago
- Mary Barra, New CEO of GM, Gets It - We live in a "Rollout; Find Bugs; Fix Bugs" Era: wp.me/pmm68-8tE 1 hour ago
- Does Your Audience Find You Trustworthy? -- 4 Components Of Ethos: wp.me/pmm68-1Y4 1 hour ago
Recent visitor count
- 755,729 visits
- Site created and maintained by Dallas website design company bigDwebsitedesign.com
Site infoFirst Friday Book Synopsis
The Andreas04 Theme.