Playing to Win


This is a book about strategy which means, in essence, choices. What you do, what you don’t do. Strategy is where and how to play to win to create an enduring competitive advantage

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Key Takeaways

  1. What is strategy?
    1. Strategy is about making specific choices that helps one win in the marketplace – a conscious way to behave differently than one’s rivals to deliver unique value. Strategy is discipline choice about what to do and what not to do. In short, strategy is choice. More specifically, strategy is an integrated set of choices that uniquely positions a company in its industry so as to create sustainable advantage and superior value relative to the competition.
    2. Strategy is not vision
    3. Strategy is not a plan. it is part of strategy, but not the whole thing
    4. Strategy requires medium and long-term thinking (not purely emergent, short-term strategy)
    5. Strategy is not optimization of the status quo
  2. Don’t allow what is urgent outshine what is important
  3. Strategy is an interconnected group of 5 core choices – winning aspiration, where to play, how to win, core capabilities and management systems. This is a choice cascade. The first question ripples down to the second and so forth. Choose what you’ll do and not at each stage. This is an iterative and interconnected process
    1. Winning aspiration – seems obvious, but make sure you’re playing to win rather than simply playing to play
      1. Winning aspirations has to be customer focused and not product focused
    2. Where to play – which channels, geographies, categories, customers you’re going after
    3. How to win – how will you win within the channels chosen above?
    4. Core Capabilities
    5. Management systems

What I got out of it

  1. Strategy is choice

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