Director of the Martin Prosperity Institute at the Rotman School
"Managers everywhere should be grateful."—Fortune Magazine
"This collection of insights and captivating examples about strategy is a must-read for leaders at any level in the for-profit or not-for-profit world."—Publishers Weekly
"Instead of focusing on what exceptional leaders do," Roger Martin says, "we need to understand and emulate how they think." And, if you study them closely, many of today's exceptional leaders—from AG Lafley of Proctor and Gamble to Meg Whitman of eBay—practice Martin's form of Integrative Thinking; a big picture approach which takes into account the fact that, at top levels of management, problems rarely fall neatly into segregated categories. He's also an advocate of Design Thinking—a concept that balances analytical thought processes with intuitive thinking. With Martin's expert guidance, these two schools of thought can be successfully learned and implemented.
Since joining Rotman in 1998, the school has rocketed up worldwide MBA rankings, while never being surpassed. The late Peter Drucker said, "What the Rotman School is doing may be the most important thing happening in management education today." Martin was named one of the Top Ten Business School Teachers in the World by Business Week.
Play to Win: Improve the Architecture of Your Strategic Choices
Roger Martin is devoted to helping senior management teams improve the architecture of their strategy choices. They often find themselves struggling to determine what choices really need to be tackled to advance the cause of their organizations. And when they tackle whatever choices they think important, they tend to struggle to make the choices and even more to see those choices convert to action. As a result, there is perceived to be a crisis of "implementation" in organizations. Martin sees the problem as one of how strategic choices are made. In this talk, he shares his process of Strategic Choice Structuring, designed to help management teams focus on high-value choices, making inspired choices, and making them in a way that leads to productive action. It is a process used by major companies like Procter & Gamble and Dun & Bradstreet.
Martin also shares five essential strategic choices that will move your company ahead of your competitors: (1) What is our winning aspiration? (2) Where will we play? (3) How will we win? (4) What capabilities must we have in place to win? and (5) What management systems are required to support our choices? The result is a playbook for winning.
In this keynote, Roger Martin shows how successful businesspeople engage in what he calls Integrative Thinking: creatively resolving the tension in opposing models by forming entirely new and superior ones. He describes how integrative thinkers are relentlessly diagnosing and synthesizing by asking probing questions. "What are the causal relationships at work here?" "What are the implied trade-offs?" He also presents a model for strengthening your integrative thinking skills of by drawing on different kinds of knowledge, including conceptual and experiential knowledge. Integrative thinking can be learned, he says, and this talk is the first step in helping audience members master this vital skill.
Fixing the Game: What Capitalism Can Learn from the NFL
In this keynote, Roger Martin reveals the culprit behind the sorry state of American capitalism: our deep and abiding commitment to the idea that the purpose of the firm is to maximize shareholder value. This theory has led to a massive growth in stock-based compensation for executives and, through this, to a naive and wrongheaded linking of the real market—the business of designing, making, and selling products and services—with the expectations market—the business of trading stocks, options, and complex derivatives. Using the National Football League as his primary example, Martin illustrates that it is possible to take a much more thoughtful and effective approach than we now do to seize American capitalism from the jaws of the expectations market and plant it firmly in the real market—and he presents the steps we must take now to do so.
Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works
Playing to Win, a noted Wall Street Journal and Washington Post bestseller, outlines the strategic approach A.G. Lafley, in close partnership with strategic adviser Roger Martin, used to double P&G’s sales, quadruple its profits, and increase its market value by more than $100 billion when Lafley was first CEO (he led the company from 2000 to 2009). The book shows leaders in any type of organization how to guide everyday actions with larger strategic goals built around the clear, essential elements that determine business success—where to play and how to win.
Lafley and Martin have created a set of five essential strategic choices that, when addressed in an integrated way, will move you ahead of your competitors. They are: (1) What is our winning aspiration? (2) Where will we play? (3) How will we win? (4) What capabilities must we have in place to win? and (5) What management systems are required to support our choices? The result is a playbook for winning.
The stories of how P&G repeatedly won by applying this method to iconic brands such as Olay, Bounty, Gillette, Swiffer, and Febreze clearly illustrate how deciding on a strategic approach—and then making the right choices to support it—makes the difference between just playing the game and actually winning.
Playing to Win outlines a proven method that has worked for some of today’s most celebrated brands and products. Let this book serve as your new guide to winning, as well.
Canada: What It Is, What It Can Be
Canadians have achieved an enviable balance of economic prosperity and civic harmony, but as emerging countries like China, India, and Brazil take their place alongside developed economies, we cannot be complacent. Our high paying jobs, world-class learning and research institutes, excellent health care, and social safety nets exist only to the extent that we are innovative and competitive globally.
Canada: What It Is, What It Can Be provides an incisive examination of this country's increasing prosperity gap—the difference in value between what we do create and what we could create if we performed at our full potential. As Roger Martin and James Milway demonstrate, although we are proud of our trading prowess, we do not participate as aggressively in world markets with innovative products and services as we could. While we want to take risks to achieve success, our business strategies and economic policies need to set the bar higher to achieve the success we want for Canada.
Written in an accessible style that helps general readers understand complex economic concepts, Canada: What It Is, What It Can Be exposes the myths currently guiding our public policy, and provides ground-breaking new approaches for realizing our full prosperity potential.
Fixing the Game
American capitalism is in dire straits, caught in a perilous pattern of increasing volatility, decreasing investor returns, and ongoing bad behavior by executives. And it's getting worse. Since the turn of the twenty-first century, we've seen two massive value-destroying market meltdowns and a string of ethics breaches, including accounting scandals, options-backdating schemes, and the subprime mortgage debacle. Just what is going on here? Is it the inevitable decline of the American economy? Is it the new normal in a technology-enabled global marketplace? Or is it possible that the very theories we've embraced to underpin our capital markets are actually producing these crises?
In Fixing the Game, Roger Martin reveals the culprit behind the sorry state of American capitalism: our deep and abiding commitment to the idea that the purpose of the firm is to maximize shareholder value. This theory has led to a massive growth in stock-based compensation for executives and, through this, to a naive and wrongheaded linking of the real market-- the business of designing, making, and selling products and services-- with the expectations market-- the business of trading stocks, options, and complex derivatives. Martin shows how this tight coupling has been engineered and lays out its results: a single-minded focus on the expectations market that will continue driving us from crisis to crisis-- unless we act now. Using the National Football League as his primary example, Martin illustrates that it is possible to take a much more thoughtful and effective approach than we now do to the intersection of the real and the expectations markets and to governance in general in the capital markets.
Martin shows how we can act to end the destructive cycle. Concise, hard-hitting, and entertaining, Fixing the Game advocates seizing American capitalism from the jaws of the expectations market and planting it firmly in the real market-- and it presents the steps we must take now to do so.
The Design of Business: Why Design Thinking is the Next Competitive Advantage
Most companies today have innovation envy. They yearn to come up with a game-changing innovation like Apple's iPod, or create an entirely new category like Facebook. Many make genuine efforts to be innovative-they spend on R&D, bring in creative designers, hire innovation consultants. But they get disappointing results. Why? In The Design of Business, Roger Martin offers a compelling and provocative answer: we rely far too exclusively on analytical thinking, which merely refines current knowledge, producing small improvements to the status quo.
To innovate and win, companies need design thinking. This form of thinking is rooted in how knowledge advances from one stage to another-from mystery (something we can't explain) to heuristic (a rule of thumb that guides us toward solution) to algorithm (a predictable formula for producing an answer) to code (when the formula becomes so predictable it can be fully automated). As knowledge advances across the stages, productivity grows and costs drop-creating massive value for companies. Martin shows how leading companies such as Procter & Gamble, Cirque du Soleil, RIM, and others use design thinking to push knowledge through the stages in ways that produce breakthrough innovations and competitive advantage. Filled with deep insights and fresh perspectives, The Design of Business reveals the true foundation of successful, profitable innovation.
The Opposable Mind: Winning Through Integrative Thinking
If you want to be as successful as Jack Welch, Larry Bossidy, or Michael Dell, read their autobiographical advice books, right? Wrong, says Roger Martin in The Opposable Mind. Though following best practice can help in some ways, it also poses a danger: By emulating what a great leader did in a particular situation, you'll likely be terribly disappointed with your own results. Why? Your situation is different.
Instead of focusing on what exceptional leaders do, we need to understand and emulate how they think. Successful businesspeople engage in what Martin calls integrative thinking creatively resolving the tension in opposing models by forming entirely new and superior ones. Drawing on stories of leaders as diverse as AG Lafley of Procter & Gamble, Meg Whitman of eBay, Victoria Hale of the Institute for One World Health, and Nandan Nilekani of Infosys, Martin shows how integrative thinkers are relentlessly diagnosing and synthesizing by asking probing questions including: What are the causal relationships at work here? and What are the implied trade-offs?
Martin also presents a model for strengthening your integrative thinking skills by drawing on different kinds of knowledge including conceptual and experiential knowledge.
Integrative thinking can be learned, and The Opposable Mind helps you master this vital skill.