Episode 190: Roger Martin – Playing To Win: Strategy Is A Choice

Roger Martin’s research work is in Integrative Thinking, Business Design, Strategy, Corporate Social Responsibility and Country Competitiveness. He writes extensively and is a regular contributor to: Harvard Business Review’s The Conversation blog, the Financial Times’ Judgment Call column, and the Guardian Sustainable Business. He has written 24 Harvard Business Review articles and published 10 books: Getting Beyond Better; (Playing to Win (with A.G. Lafley); Fixing the Game; The Design of Business; The Opposable Mind; The Responsibility Virus; Canada: What It Is, What It Can Be; and Diaminds, and The Future of the MBA. In addition, he co-edited Rotman on Design

In 2013, Roger placed 3rd on the Thinkers50 list, a biannual ranking of the most influential global business thinkers, moving up from 6th in 2011 and 32nd in 2009. In 2010, he was named one of the 27 most influential designers in the world by Business Week. In 2007 he was named a Business Week ‘B-School All-Star’ for being one of the 10 most influential business professors in the world. Business Week also named him one of seven ‘Innovation Gurus’ in 2005. (RogerLMartin.com)

Roger Martin is the Institute Director of the Martin Prosperity Institute and the Michael Lee-Chin Family Institute for Corporate Citizenship at the Rotman School of Management and the Premier’s Chair in Productivity & Competitiveness. From 1998 to 2013, he served as Dean. Previously, he spent 13 years as a Director of Monitor Company, a global strategy consulting firm based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he served as co-head of the firm for two years.

Episode 190: Roger Martin – Playing To Win: Strategy Is A Choice

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The Learning Leader Show

“Strategy is about making specific choices to win in the marketplace.  It requires making explicit choices to do some things and not others.”

In This Episode, You Will Learn:

  • Common themes of leaders who sustain excellence:
    • Relentlessly look at the future
    • They have a curious mindset… Always asking questions
    • They ask: “Is what we’re doing sustainable?”
  • Why A.G. Lafley was such a great strategic leader
  • You should always ask the question, “How can I put myself out of business?  And think to innovate based on that answer
  • Marrying innovation and strategic thinking: the dangers of doing this
  • What era does all of our data come from?  The past… Think carefully about that
  • You cannot always “prove” innovation.  You can’t always base the future on the past.
  • Aristotle — Brought us analysis… How to prove/demonstrate something is true
  • You can’t ever analyze how to change the world… Steve Jobs would say “Imagine the possibilities.”
  • “Strategy is a choice.  Where to play and how to win.”
  • Roger explains how to test if you have a real strategy
  • Best advice he’s received and given:
    • 1) “Don’t start on the easy stuff.  Do the hard tasks first.  If you work on the hardest problems, you’ll find that the easier ones seem to disappear
    • 2) Less is more.  Figure out one thing you do really well and focus on it.
    • 3) “Don’t intellectualize people.”  “Don’t try to fool them, treat them as people… As you would want to be treated.”
  • Highly successful people make a list of the Top 10 things to do that day and tackle the toughest problems first
  • Managing what matters most — Must have a strategy to know what’s most important
    • Peter Drucker’s work — The Effective Executive

“Too often CEO’s will allow what’s urgent to crowd out what’s really important.  It’s wrong to define strategy as following best practices.  This creates sameness and sameness is not a strategy.  It’s a recipe for mediocrity.”

Continue Learning:

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Episode 078: Kat Cole – From Hooters Waitress To President of Cinnabon

Episode 071: Nate Boyer – Green Beret, Texas Football, The NFL

Episode 179: How To Sustain Excellence – The Best Answers From 178 Questions

Episode 107: Simon Sinek – Leadership: It Starts With Why

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Episode edited by the great J Scott Donnell

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