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The Game-Changer: How You Can Drive Revenue and Profit Growth with Innovation Hardcover – April 8, 2008


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The Game-Changer: How You Can Drive Revenue and Profit Growth with Innovation + Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works + HBR's 10 Must Reads on Strategy (including featured article “What Is Strategy?” by Michael E. Porter)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Business; 1 edition (April 8, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307381730
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307381736
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.4 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #345,328 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Blessings to Procter & Gamble—or, more exactly, its chairman and CEO, A. G. Lafley. Together with Charan, author of Know-How (2007) (and the most probable successor to management guru Peter F. Drucker), he defines, describes, draws examples of, and delineates how innovation became a part of not only the behemoth consumer-packaged-goods company but also part of Lego and Nokia (among others). Lafley is remarkably candid; the story of his “surprise” ascent to CEO-dom in 2000, taking over from Durk Jager, is the story of transformation. A number of commandments accompanied the company’s innovationcentric strategy: the consumer is boss, inside and outside cocreation is encouraged, the innovation process is tangible (and must be followed), and risks can be managed. Most important is his emphasis on human interaction as the key; even better, the last section focuses exclusively on developing a culture of innovation, from promoting the rules of brainstorming to the desired attributes for employees and leaders: courageous, connected and collaborative, curious, open. Sidebars are worthy of posting on a bulletin board; in fact, this is a sustainable reference on innovation that will be hard to beat. --Barbara Jacobs

Review

“A. G. Lafley has made Procter & Gamble great again.”
—The Economist

“Of all the firms on the 2007 ranking of the ‘World’s Most Innovative Companies,’ few are more closely associated with today’s innovation zeitgeist than . . . Procter & Gamble . . . now famous for its open approach to innovation.”
—BusinessWeek

“Lafley brought a whole lot of creativity and rigor to P&G’s innovation process.” —Fortune magazine

“A. G. Lafley has reenergized a venerable giant . . . with a style and energy that will be the subject of business school cases for years to come.” —Chief Executive magazine

“The proof of Lafley’s approach is plain enough. . . . P&G has not only doubled the number of new products . . . but also more than doubled its portfolio of billion-dollar brands and its stock price.”
—U.S. News & World Report

“Ram Charan is the most influential consultant alive.”
—Fortune magazine

“Ram has this rare ability to distill meaningful frommeaningless.”
—Jack Welch

“Among the world’s most sought after CEO advisers.”
—BusinessWeek

“Ram Charan is my ‘secret weapon’ . . . constantly providing depth to issues, not just answers.”
—Ivan Seidenberg, chairman and CEO of Verizon Communications

“Ram Charan knows more about corporate America than anyone.”
—Dick Harrington, CEO of The Thomson Corporation

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Customer Reviews

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The book is very informative and it motivated me to do better at work.
Christian Villapaz
I like this book and can recommend it to anyone involved in innovation- or marketing processes or strategy in his/her organization.
Christian Thun
The book was easy to read, and the case studies were interesting and thorough.
Win2Win

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Thomas M. Loarie VINE VOICE on April 8, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Authors A.G. Lafley and Ram Charan in "The Game-Changer" make the case that innovation - the conversion of a new idea into revenue and profits - does not have to follow conventional wisdom that small companies are better innovators because they are nimbler and have a more coherent sense of purpose. Lafley and Charan alternate throughout the book with Lafley, the operating executive, providing the "how' in how he turned around Proctor & Gamble by operationalizing innovation, and Charan, the organizational and business researcher, providing the "why" of its spectacular success.

Lafley admits to some truth in the small company stereotype but he believes larger companies can be just as innovative as small companies, if not more so. Big companies have significant advantages - scale, management capability, and resources to take risks - that should facilitate innovation. But these advantages are wasted due to layers of management that stretch decision cycle times, internal vested interests to maintain the status quo, and the lack of a growth-through-innovation process.

"Game-Changers" outlines the principles(1) of innovation Lafley developed, the how and why innovation changed P&G's game, and the steps Lafley took to operationalize innovation which has led to the consumer-industry's leading organic sales growth rate. He believes that a disciplined innovation process, like that at P&G, can be central to growth for any company, in any industry. He cautions, though, that one size does not fit all, and each company must adapt the principles to their unique circumstances.

Having spent the past 20 plus years in Silicon Valley shepherding innovative medical technologies to the market, I can personally attest that the acceleration of change today is unprecedented.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Ken Shortt on May 14, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I purchased the audio CDs to listen to in the car. It's a four or five CD set. I stopped after the second CD as it got very repetitve.

Most of it is Business 101. Get close to the customer, enable your org to innovate, leverage the existing brand when innovating.....that's about it. The rest of the book is a good run down on Proctor and Gamble. If you want to learn a lot about consumer marketing and branding then there is some good stuff in it.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By B. Aho on August 29, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I started my career at P&G in brand management. And while the learning was extraordinary, I always felt the company was old, bureaucratic and stodgy. I had the opportunity to work with A.G. Lafley quite a bit in my first assignment, as we were both in laundry brands. He always seemed to me outside the traditional Procter mold--wicked smart but a thoughtful, open-minded and really nice guy.

Fast forward 25 years and what A.G. has done as CEO is incredible. Procter is one battleship that I didn't think could turn, much less on a dime. But reading Game-Changer one begins to appreciate what leadership and commitment can do, even in the largest and most traditional organizations.

Game-Changer is an enlightening read. Lafley and legendary author, consultant and scholar Ram Charan often tag-team the writing, each bringing a unique point of view. Sometimes this gets awkward, as the P&G story is interrupted by examples from other companies (which skew a bit from India, making a noticeably unusual sample). But that's relatively minor criticism compared to the richness of the transformation story at Procter, which has become a leader in commitment to innovation and has reaped significant financial rewards as a result.

The beauty of Game-Changer is that, unlike many business books, it is relevant to both mid-sized companies and corporate giants. For the Fortune 500, P&G's experience is a powerful example that radical and dynamic change is possible (see also GE, Whirlpool and IBM). For smaller companies, change is a lot easier, and the P&G model is full of ideas for potential initiatives.

This is a quick and easy read that never comes across as arrogant or self-serving. It does present itself as an arresting example of a new era in corporate management.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By J. Cheema on June 18, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Reading his every book, one can observe that Ram Charan is a very passionate advocate of organic growth of businesses through operational efficiency and healthy cash flow. Each one of his books takes up a specific management concept to explain how excelling in that area can lead to profitable growth. For example in "Execution" (Co-authored with Larry Bossidy & Charles Burck), Charan has very eloquently explained the role of flawless planning and execution of strategy in healthy business growth. In "The Leadership Pipeline" (Co-authored with Stephen Drotter, and James Noel), Charan spotlighted the role of leadership in making businesses profitable. Similarly, "Know-How" described how a business can make efficient use of knowledge to stay ahead of competition and witness faster and profitable expansion. Charan's book "The Game Changer" (Co-authored with A G Lafley) focuses on innovation as a core competency in the business world. Reading the book twice and hearing it a few times, I have optimistically mixed feelings about different aspects of this book.

"The Game Changer" is a well-written, well-narrated and well-organized book in describing the academic concepts of innovation and correlating them to the success cases from leading companies like 3M, Nokia, and Allied Signals. The most appealing phrase to me in the whole book had been the description of difference between performance review meeting and innovation review meeting; the former being "a review of past" while latter being "a review of future". If someone wants to promote and manage a cutting-edge innovation program in his / her organization, then this is the book to read, especially the second half.
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