Playing to Win
A review of

Playing to Win

How Strategy Really Works

A Strategy Classic

by David Meyer

Answer five strategic questions to beat your rivals, say A.G. Lafley and Roger L. Martin in the classic that set a new standard in strategic thinking.

This “playbook for winning” by A.G. Lafley, legendary former CEO of Procter & Gamble (now P&G), and Roger L. Martin, former dean of the Rotman School of Management, explains that strategy demands making tough choices in the business world’s stressful, volatile environment. Their tone is businesslike and direct. They don’t waste time complimenting themselves, and it’s hard to argue with their experience.

When Lafley joined P&G in 1977, he discovered decision-making drift that led to unsuccessful choices. In 1986, after P&G’s “first major restructuring and write-off,” it called in strategic help, including guru Michael Porter. Lafley welcomed the famous consultant, but the results didn’t change P&G’s culture. The firm reverted to haphazard acquisitions and flawed products. By 2000, when Lafley first became CEO, P&G was in trouble. He believed only rigorous, superior strategy could help.

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