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The Game-Changer: How You Can Drive Revenue and Profit Growth with Innovation [Hardcover]

A.G. Lafley , Ram Charan
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 8 2008
How you can increase and sustain organic revenue and profit growth . . . whether you’re running an entire company or in your first management job.

Over the past seven years, Procter & Gamble has tripled profits; significantly improved organic revenue growth, cash flow, and operating margins; and averaged earnings per share growth of 12 percent. How? A. G. Lafley and his leadership team have integrated innovation into everything P&G does and created new customers and new markets.

Through eye-opening stories A. G. Lafley and Ram Charan show how P&G and companies such as Honeywell, Nokia, LEGO, GE, HP, and DuPont have become game-changers. Their inspiring lessons can help you learn how to:

• Make consumers and customers the boss, not the CEO or the management team
• Innovate to grow a mature business
• Develop higher growth, higher margin businesses
• Create new customers and new markets
• Revitalize a business model
• Reach outside your own business and tap into the abundant brainpower and creativity of the world
• Integrate innovation into the mainstream of your managerial decision making
• Manage risk
• Become a leader of innovation

We live in a world of unprecedented change, increasing global competitiveness, and the very real threat of commoditization. Innovation in this world is the best way to win—arguably the only way to really win. Innovation is not a separate, discrete activity but the job of everyone in a leadership position and the integral, central driving force for any business that wants to grow organically and succeed on a sustained basis.

This is a game-changing book that helps you redefine your leadership and improve your management game.

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“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

About the Author

A. G. LAFLEY is the chairman and CEO of P&G, which is consistently recognized as one of the most admired companies in the world and a great developer of business leaders. A.G. was named CEO of the year in 2006 by Chief Executive magazine and serves on the boards of GE and Dell. His first opportunity to manage a business came when he was in the Navy and in charge of retail and services businesses for ten thousand Navy and Marine Corps people and their families. After the Navy he went to Harvard Business School, and then joined P&G following graduation. He started as a brand assistant for Joy in 1977 and was appointed CEO in June of 2000.

RAM CHARAN is the coauthor of the bestseller Execution and the author of What the CEO Wants You to Know, Know-How, and many other books. Dr. Charan grew up in India, where he first learned the art and science of business in his family’s shoe shop. After earning his M.B.A. and D.B.A. from Harvard Business School, he taught for a number of years at both Harvard and Northwestern. He now advises the leaders and boards of companies around the world, including GE, DuPont, Nokia, Verizon, and the Thomson Corporation. What people around the world proclaim are Ram’s practicality and the value he provides in helping them solve business problems. For more information on Ram Charan and his work, visit www.ram-charan.com.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
"For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth;
And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind." -- Isaiah 65:17 (NKJV)

How you react to The Game-Changer will be largely determined by what your experience with innovation has been. Most larger organizations employ one of two methods:

1. Technologists come up with new "cool" characteristics and then the rest of the organization tries to figure out how to make some money from the breakthroughs.

2. Marketers develop new offering concepts and ask the rest of the organization to help find ways to deliver the benefits at the heart of the concepts.

By contrast, in start-ups and smaller companies, there is more likely to be a balance between finding opportunities, using technology in new ways, and creating new business models (improved ways to deliver value to customers, users, and other stakeholders).

If you have experience with the first method, you'll love this book. If you use instead the second method, you'll be less excited. If you in the start-up and smaller company group, you may be wondering what all the fuss is about.

This book works best as a combination of case histories looking at how to make large companies accomplish more through innovation (especially business-model innovation) and change management.

The key elements are described by former P&G CEO, A.G. Lafley, and Ram Charan (ubiquitous chronicler of large company practices with celebrity CEOs) are:

Putting in customer-centric innovation as a core process for driving forward the organization's top- and bottom-line performance by employing

1. Motivating purposes and values
2. Stretch goals
3. More engaged decision making about innovation strategies and projects
4.
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By Robert Morris HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Innovative thinking is required to change the rules of a well-established "game" as well as to change how to play that game. In the business world, change initiatives are certain to encounter all manner of barriers, many of them the result of what James O'Toole so aptly characterizes as "the ideology of comfort and the tyranny of custom." Winners are those organizations whose innovative thinkers who come up with breakthrough ideas, not only about products and services but also in terms of how those products and services are designed, produced, marketed, and distributed. A.G, Lafley and Ram Charan call them "game-changers." In this book, they focus on P&G (of which Lafley now serves as chairman & CEO as well as on DuPont, GE, Honeywell, Lego Group, SAMSUNG, Target, and 3M. These and other "game-changers" demonstrate how to "drive revenue and profit growth with innovation."

This is a seamless collaboration, with Lafley's "voice" generally dominant and Charan's perspectives suggesting the broader implications and applications of lessons to be learned from P&G. (The same is true of Execution that Charan co-authored with Larry Bossidy, former CEO of AlliedSignal/Honeywell.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  30 reviews
35 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Game Changer: The Next "Big Thing" in Operational Excellence? April 8 2008
By Thomas M. Loarie - Published on Amazon.com
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. There are many more opportunities today for teams like mine to disrupt and create obsolescence for larger companies. It appears that Lafley and Charan have got the principles right, and P&G appears to have gotten their application right. The remaining questions are: Will this be sustainable? Transferable? Will game-changers(2) become the next "big thing" in operational excellence?

Footnotes:
1. The principles of innovation include: motivating purpose and values; stretching goals; choiceful strategies; unique core strengths; enabling structures; consistent and reliable systems; a courageous and connected culture; and inspiring leadership.
2. A game-changer is: a visionary strategist who alters the game his business plays or conceives an entirely new game; a creator who uses innovation as the basis for sustaining profitable organic growth and consistently improving margins; a leader who understands that the consumer or customer - not the CEO - is boss; a catalyst who uses innovation to drive every element of business from strategy to organization, and from budgeting and resource allocation to selecting, rewarding, and promoting people; an integrator who sees innovation as an integrated end-to-end process, not a series of discrete steps; a breaker of chains of commoditization who creates differentiated and value-added brands and businesses through innovation; and a hardheaded humanist who sees innovation as a social process and understands that human interaction - how people talk and work together - is the key to innovation, not just technology.
21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars OK but not the cure for everything May 14 2008
By Ken Shortt - Published on Amazon.com
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.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It Can Be Done! Aug. 29 2008
By B. Aho - Published on Amazon.com
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. I would have never guessed that would have come from Procter & Gamble. In fact, here's the thing. P&G has had a legendary track record over its 170-year history. But frankly, it was never considered a great place to work, at least for the brand management folks. Even more impressive than the reignited financials, the company's commitment to innovation and change make it sound like a really terrific place for a smart marketer to ply his/her trade. Now that's an innovation that will pay long-term dividends.
Bill Aho, [...]
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting read but every case discussed may not be innovation June 18 2009
By J. Cheema - Published on Amazon.com
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. The authors explain every aspect of innovation management from risk & reward to sources of funding, to selling the idea to top management and at marketplace; it covers the whole gamut of innovation in a very articulate way. "The Game Changer" is a book worth reading (or listening).

On the miniscule downside of "The Game Changer"; the boundaries of innovative concepts have been stretched too far citing Proctor & Gamble cases. I had a few soliloquies listening to this book on "a dark desert highway" and asked myself several times if feature enhancement or repositioning a product to attract younger population could be considered innovation.

In a case of innovation at P&G, disinfectants were added to feminine hygiene products to protect against infections, but is it true innovation? If I were to judge this change by Akao's standards (Dr. Yoji Akao of Voice of Customer - VOC fame), it is simply fulfilling an unmet customer need. That reminds me of a very similar case from Toyota; when Toyota introduced ionic breezer in Toyota Camry's air-conditioning system in 2006 and touted it to be an innovation in automotive architecture; they were vehemently rebuked by Asahi Shimbun (leading Japanese Daily) on the grounds that use of a better air treatment system in a car could not be considered innovation.

In another case of innovation about a skincare product, the "Oil of Olay" or the "Oil of Old Lady" as the authors call it. P&G redefined Oil of Olay to appeal to younger women and enlarge the population of women using it. I wondered again if repositioning the product to appeal to more people could be called innovation. Ironically, a very similar example can be cited from Toyota again. Historically, Toyota Avalon is considered an AARP car and the median age of an Avalon buyer in US had been 62 years. In 2003, the Chief Engineer of Avalon program Shigeki Terashi was asked to add some flare to Avalon styling and bring the median age of Avalon buyer down to 46 years. When Toyota ran the ad about re-birth of 2005 Avalon through "innovation" they faced very harsh criticism from Yomiuri Shimbun (another respected Japanese Daily) for misusing the term "Innovation".

VERDICT - "The Game Changer" is worth buying and reading / listening book when you have time!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Innovative Innovation Ideas and Process July 12 2008
By Walter H. Bock - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
In the early years of business on the web, I was on a panel that addressed marketing in the then mostly new Digital Age. There was a senior executive from Proctor and Gamble on that panel who told the assembled marketers that P & G wasn't going to change because "we've got it all figured out."

As we were packing up, one of the other panelists said, "I don't know about you guys but I'm going home and sell my P & G stock. Any company with an executive that high up who thinks they've got it all figured out is going to go down sooner or later."

I remembered that incident while reading Game-Changer: How you can drive revenue and profit growth with innovation by A. G. Lafley and Ram Charan.

Lafley is the Chairman and CEO of Proctor and Gamble. Charan is neck-and-neck in the race with Warren Bennis for "Most Books Co-Authored by a Guru." Each writes parts of the book in his own voice. They are very different voices.

Lafley's voice is practical and down to earth. Here's a quote from chapter 1. "The Game-Changer is about what I have learned over the course of a lifetime in business, but particularly since I became CEO of P & G."

Charan has a more buzzword-rich style. "P & G is one of the few companies that has been able to break the chains of commoditization and create organic growth on a sustainable basis through implementing and managing the integrated process of innovation."

This is a book about the turnaround at P & G. Since Lafley took over, in June of 2000, the company has tripled profits, and improved revenue growth, cash flow, and operating margins. The stock price has more than doubled.

A significant part of the turnaround was the development of a process for managing innovation at P & G. This book is about that process and how it works.

Those are both Lafley's stories. But this is a better book because Ram Charan adds commentary and examples from other firms.

If you want to learn the back story, chapter one will set the stage for you. After Charan's comments in chapter two, Game-Changer is organized into three parts.

Drawing the Big Picture sets the stage for the other parts. The chapter titled The Customer is Boss is one of those chapters you copy so you can re-read it often.

Every company says they are customer-focused. P & G has been known as a customer-focused company for most of its history. And yet it was easy for the customer to slide from the center of the business to periphery.

Chapter three is the best explanation I've seen of what it means to put the customer at the center of your company. I'd love to see P & G or the publisher put this chapter out as a pamphlet.

Part Two is about the innovation process itself. It begins with a chapter on organizing for innovation. This chapter is one of several that include excellent material on innovation at other companies.

If you're not at a consumer products company, you'll get ideas about how innovation looks in other industries. If you don't think a P & G practice will work at your company, the book gives you some other models.

The next chapter, on integrating innovation into your routine, is one of the best in the book because it concentrates on a key point. For innovation to be a real game-changer, it can't be bolted on to day-to-day operations and responsibilities. It has to be part of the routine, even as it challenges the routine. There's great material here on how ideas get killed and the importance of a regular, social mechanism for approving ideas.

After a chapter on the risks of innovation, the authors move to the final part of the book which discusses the culture of innovation. You'll learn how innovation is a team sport and how a leader's job should include innovation.

This is an idea book, not a how-to book. If you want an innovation manual, pass this book by.

But if you want lots of ideas and examples to hold up against the way you do business now, plunk down your money. Even if you only read the chapter on putting the customer at the center, you'll get lots of return on your investment in this book.
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