May 13, 2008
Jack Covert Selects: Jack Covert Selects - The Game-Changer
The Game-Changer: How You Can Drive Revenue and Profit Growth with Innovation by A.G. Lafley and Ram Charan, Crown Business, 336 pages, $27.50, Hardcover, April 2008, ISBN 9780307381736 Ram Charan has written some of the finest business books in the genre--most notably Execution, which he coauthored with former Honeywell Chairman Larry Bossidy. In this new offering, he teams up with another executive, Chairman and CEO of Proctor and Gamble A.G. Lafley. When Lafley took over P&G, the company was in trouble, trying to respond to the quick changes of the global economy and not meeting stakeholders' expectations. In Lafley's words, the company was "trying to do too much, too fast, and nothing was being done well." This book documents P&G's turnaround. It is a practical, nuts-and-bolts guide to innovation, written in three parts. In the first part, "Drawing the Big Picture," Charan and Lafley stress that the customer is always the boss of any company, and discuss how to shore up an organization's core strengths and choose the right goals and strategies for future growth accordingly. This part of the book inspires reflection, and you'll immediately start forming a view of what you want the future of your business to look like. The second part gives you the tools to design innovation structures into everything you do. In "Making Innovation Happen," the authors show you how to funnel outside ideas into your company effectively, and how to create innovation teams within your existing structure. This phase is when you design your organizational structure, consumer products and interaction. Throughout the book, Charan and Lafley stress that "innovation is a social process." In the third part of the book they give you a view of what "The Culture of Innovation" looks like--and not only within your company, but also with your customers, suppliers, retailers, and even competitors. Lafley made a change to put P&G back on the right track--putting the customer in their rightful spot as boss--but he has also did some remarkable things in that pursuit, such as sharing propriety technology in a joint venture with Clorox, a key competitor for over 20 years, to develop a new line of GLAD products. Every chapter in The Game-Changer ends with great takeaway questions to "Ask Yourself Monday Morning." But with the combined talents of Charan and Lafley at your disposal, you'll find that you'll be thinking about this book every day of the week.