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A must read book The Game-Changer by A. G. Lafley and Ram Charan

The Game-Changer

How You Can Drive Revenue and Profit Growth with Innovation
A. G. Lafley and Ram Charan

Filled with real-business examples of successes, failures and keen insights, the newly released “The Game-Changer” explains how managers at all levels can deliver sustainable growth by making innovation a discipline within their companies. Co-authored by Procter & Gamble Chairman of the Board and CEO A.G. Lafley, and Management Consultant Ram Charan, “The Game-Changer” is being released to North American bookstores April 8.

“The Game-Changer” focuses on the role innovation plays in sustainable growth. It shows how innovation can be managed as an intentional and disciplined, reliable and repeatable business process. Lafley particularly focuses on the social nature of innovation, and the qualities of a strong innovation culture: open-minded, curious and courageous, connected and collaborative Throughout the book, both authors cite examples from P&G and other companies from around the world — including GE, Honeywell, LEGO®, Apple, Wal-Mart® and HP — demonstrating how innovation can be managed as an intentional and disciplined, reliable and repeatable business process.

“Companies that wait for ‘Eureka’ moments may well die waiting,” Lafley writes. “To succeed, companies need to see innovation not as something special that only special people can do, but as something that can become routine and methodical, taking advantage of the capabilities of every employee.”

Published by Crown Books, the book is winning early praise as the next great business book. Editors at U.S. News & World Report said: “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.”


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.

Rules of Brainstorming

1. Get a facilitator. This is the traffic cop of the session, and should be an outsider. An insider brings baggage that can inhibit the free flow of ideas. HR consulting organizations are one possible resource; if you are working with a design firm like IDEO or Continuum, they may be able to help. If bringing in an outsider is difficult for some reason, the second best option is to bring in someone from a different group inside the company. Facilitators need to be skilled at group dynamics, able to read when the team is flagging or when it is hitting on all cylinders. They have to be patient, yet willing to exercise discipline if one person can’t stop talking or is becoming aggressive. It is more a matter of personality than formal training, but it can’t hurt to bring in people to watch a well-run brainstorming session to see how it works.

2. Be prepared. The Boy Scouts have it right. Preparation is a key to success. In terms of brainstorming, this means two things. First, the topic needs to be well understood. Balance is required here. The subject needs to be specific enough for good answers to be possible (a session on the theme of “new ideas for cleaning” is going to be deadly) and general enough to provide room for creativity (“industrial abrasives for stainless steel sinks” is not going to get anyone excited). What could work: Well, IDEO did a useful session with P&G on “how to reinvent bathroom cleaning.” The topic needs to be defined in terms of either the market or of consumer needs and habits; all the participants need to know what it is, and also have a little time to think about it. You want them to bring something to the party; this can be the glimmering of an idea, a competitor’s product, a color pattern, a series of useful words or images, or an interesting question. Something — anything — to get to the launch pad.

3. Relax. Fear blocks both the generation and expression of ideas. Not every company or team will be comfortable with this, but consider doing some kind of word game or ice-breaking exercise to loosen people up (e.g., the improv circles at Clay Street). Discourage negative comments; as the session goes on, it is going to become apparent which ideas have any kind of future — bad ones do not have to be shot down on sight. At Clay Street, the buzzwords are “Yes, and . . . ” Not “Yes, but . . . ” Trust is the word here; people need to believe that they can say what they think without the risk of being ridiculed.

4. Leaders should follow. The whole idea of a brainstorming session is that it be open and freewheeling. But everyone at the table is going to be aware of who else is there, and where each person sits in the corporate hierarchy. There is going to be the usual human desire to please one’s superiors. Consciously or not, some people some of the time will try to do so by agreeing up the ladder. So leaders should be careful about when and how they talk. General Peter Pace, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, says when he wants to get an honest opinion, he asks a question neutrally and then gives his opinion last. If he gives his thoughts first, that colors the entire discussion. The whole point of brainstorming is that everyone participates, so we are not suggesting that leaders simply shut up; but they should think carefully about how they join in. Don’t close down discussion; don’t be the first to weigh in on everything; do tap into other people’s ideas; ask questions.

5. Get everyone to contribute. This should be obvious, but group dynamics are such that it does not always happen. And it won’t if people are intimidated or the tone is brutal (see rules 2 and 3). The wrong way to get everyone involved is to go around the table or to single people out — that can be scary. The right way is for the facilitator to know why each person has been selected to be in the room and try to play to each individual’s expertise. Discourage interruptions; not only can this be rude, but it can silence those who lack the personal style to persevere through them.

6. Keep track of ideas. Obvious, but essential. Use a whiteboard or a big sheet of paper so that everyone can see what has been said and make connections between ideas. Allow people to write down their own ideas; it lets them refine them as they go along and also gets them out of their chairs, which can be rejuvenating. Discourage taking notes. If necessary, tape and transcribe meetings; or bring in someone to do so. If people have their head down writing what has just happened, their mind is not in the moment. Number new ideas as they occur for easy reference; this also builds a sense of accomplishment as the number accumulates, or as incentive for action, if it doesn’t. Quantity matters in brainstorming.

7. Think ahead. Done right, brainstorming can be fun, sort of like a college bull session, but with full pay. Of course, that is not the point. Brainstorming is supposed to be a start of something, not an end in itself. At the end of the meeting, the participants should figure out what to do next to refine the insights generated. Brainstorming is itself a kind of Connect and Develop; generate ideas, then connect them, and repeat. This is not the time for considering practicalities, but for simply exploring ideas on a conceptual basis.

8. Use props. One of the reasons for rule 6 is that some people think visually; putting stuff up for them to see is a way to engage their mind. Others think best with their hands. So bring in prototypes of related things, versions of current (or competitive) products, even just bits and pieces that seem relevant — a color wheel, say, or advertisements, or a deconstruction of what you are talking about. Anything to get people thinking in practical terms about what you want to achieve. And again, this helps to keep them awake and interested. IDEO brings things like foam, duct tape, glue, straws, and markers to make models or just get the physical juices stirring.

9. Go outside the lines. Consider the metaphor contained within the word brainstorm. A storm is wild, volatile, and often random; it is weather with a passion. But it also has a beginning and an end. A good brainstorm should be something like that; without a degree of impulsiveness, of something very like whimsy, it will end up as a puddle, not a storm. And that is a waste of time. So let people stray into odd territory and let others follow; this just may lead in the direction most likely to get you to the ultimate destination. The facilitator needs to have the judgment, though, to reel people in if they are too far gone or go on for too long.

10. Follow the rules. From the outside, a brainstorming session may look chaotic; in fact, it has its own discipline. If this is not adhered to, people might have fun, but they will not produce ideas worthy of their time.

ALAN G. (A.G.) LAFLEY bio (Profile)

Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive
The Procter & Gamble Company

A.G. Lafley was elected Chairman of the Board of Directors in April 2002, effective July 1, 2002, in addition to his current responsibilities as President and Chief Executive.

Mr. Lafley joined P&G in 1977 in Marketing. He held a variety of positions in P&G’s laundry and cleaning business before being named group vice president in 1992. He delivered record sales and profits through the introduction of major product innovations, including Liquid Tide and Tide with Bleach, and by focusing on building strong brand franchises.

In 1995, Mr. Lafley was named executive vice president with responsibility for Asia. During his three years leading that business, he laid the foundation for a return to growth in Japan, helped build the business in China from less than $90 million to nearly $1 billion, and successfully led the Asia business through major currency and economic upheaval, as well as the impact of the Kobe, Japan earthquake.

In 1999, Mr. Lafley was named president of P&G’s global Beauty Care business and the North America market development organization. Under his leadership, P&G’s North America business achieved all time record high net sales. During that time, he also laid the foundation for a comprehensive global strategy to revitalize P&G’s beauty business. He placed major focus on innovations in both product and marketing, driving renewed growth across P&G’s Hair Care business, particularly Pantene.

In 2000, Mr. Lafley was elected President and Chief Executive of P&G. Since then, he has put P&G back on track to deliver its long term goals by focusing on top brands, countries and customers, superior consumer value, and improved cost and cash management. Further, he has set a clear vision for future growth, including the acquisition of Clairol in 2001 and the acquisition of Wella, the company’s largest acquisition to date. P&G’s stock price more than doubled since June of 2000, which led to the company’s decision to split P&G stock 2-for-1 in May, 2004.

A native of Keene, New Hampshire, Mr. Lafley graduated from Hamilton College with a BA in History and from Harvard Business School with a Master’s in Business Administration. Before joining P&G, Mr. Lafley also served in the U.S. Navy for 5 years.

His local and national activities include: member, Board of Trustees, Hamilton College, member, Board of Directors, United Negro College Fund, member, Board of Directors, General Electric Company, Board of Directors, Dell Inc.; chairman, Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation (3CDC); member, American Society of Corporate Executives, and The Business Roundtable; member, Board of Trustees-US Council for International Business; member, The Business Council; The Lauder Institute Board of Governors (Wharton School of Arts & Sciences), and member, Board of Trustees, Grocery Manufacturers of America.

Mr. Lafley is past member, Board of Directors, General Motors Corporation, Board of Trustees, Xavier University, Board of Trustees, Cincinnati Fine Arts Fund, American Chamber of Commerce in Japan; past member, G100 (formerly the M&A Group), Board of Trustees, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Board of Trustees, The Seven Hills School, Medical Center Fund of Cincinnati, and past member, Board of Trustees – Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park.

DATE OF BIRTH: June 13, 1947

PLACE: Keene, New Hampshire

EDUCATION: Hamilton College, A.B., 1969

Harvard Business School, M.B.A., 1977



1977 – Brand Assistant, Joy
1978 – Sales Training, Denver Sales District
1978 – Assistant Brand Manager, Tide
1980 – Brand Manager, Dawn & Ivory Snow
1981 – Brand Manager, Special Assignment & Ivory Snow
1982 – Brand Manager, Cheer
1983 – Associate Advertising Manager, PS&D Division
1986 – Advertising Manager, PS&D Division
1988 – General Manager, Laundry Products, PS&D Division
1991 – Vice President-Laundry and Cleaning Products, Procter & Gamble USA
1992 – Group Vice President, The Procter & Gamble Company, and President-
Laundry and Cleaning Products, Procter & Gamble USA
1994 – Group Vice President, The Procter & Gamble Company, and President-Procter & Gamble Far East
1995 – Executive Vice President, The Procter & Gamble Company, (President-Asia, Procter & Gamble Asia)
1998 – Executive Vice President, The Procter & Gamble Company, (President-North America, Procter & Gamble North America)
1999 – President-Global Beauty Care and North America
2000 – President and Chief Executive
2002 – Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive

Member, Board of Directors, General Electric Company
Member, Board of Directors, Dell Inc.
Member, The Business Council
Member, The Business Roundtable
Member, Board of Directors, Grocery Manufacturers of America
Member, Board of Trustees, Hamilton College
Member, Board of Directors, United Negro College Fund
Member, American Society of Corporate Executives
Member, The Lauder Institute Board of Governors (Wharton School of Arts & Sciences)
Member, Board of Trustees, U.S. Council for International Business
Chairman, Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation (3CDC)
Past Member, Board of Trustees, Xavier University
Past Member, Board of Directors, General Motors Corporation
Past Member, G100 (formerly The M&A Group)
Past Member, American Chamber of Commerce in Japan
Past Member, Board of Trustees, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
Past Member, Board of Trustees, The Seven Hills School
Past Member, Board of Trustees, Medical Center Fund of Cincinnati
Past Member, Board of Trustees, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park
Past Member, Board of Trustees, Cincinnati Fine Arts Fund

RAM CHARAN bio (Profile)

Ram Charan is a highly acclaimed business advisor, speaker, and author. Ram has coached some of the world’s most successful CEOs. For 35 years, he has worked behind the scenes at companies like GE, DuPont, EDS, Ford, Duke Energy and Verizon.

Ram started his business career as a teenager working in the family shoe shop in India. He went on to earn an engineering degree and then MBA and doctorate degrees from Harvard Business School. He graduated from Harvard with high distinction and was a Baker Scholar. He then served on the Harvard Business School faculty.

Ram is a favorite among executive educators. He won the Bell Ringer (best teacher) award at GE’s famous Crotonville Institute. He won similar awards at Wharton and Northwestern. He was among Business Week’s top ten resources for in-house executive development programs.

Ram has written several books: (1) What the CEO Wants You to Know, (2) Boards at Work, (3) The Leadership Pipeline, and (4) Every Business is a Growth Business. He also tailors his books for specific client companies. He did one for Gateway, one for Ford, one for EDS. His articles have been published in Harvard Business Review, Fortune, Time, Director’s Monthly, and USA Today.

Ram serves on two corporate boards ¾ Austin Industries and Biogenex. He is also on the editorial review board of Human Resource Planning. He was elected a Fellow of the National Academy of Human Resources. He serves on the Blue Ribbon Commission on Corporate Governance. Ram is based in Dallas, Texas.

Ram Charan is a highly sought after business advisor and speaker famous among senior executives for his uncanny ability to solve their toughest business problems. For more than thirty-five years, Dr. Charan has worked behind the scenes with top executives at some of the world’s most successful companies, including GE, Verizon, Novartis, Dupont, Thomson Corporation, Honeywell, KLM, Bank of America, and MeadWestvaco. He has shared his insights with many others through teaching and writing.

Dr. Charan’s introduction to business came early while working in the family shoe shop in the small Indian town where he was raised. He earned an engineering degree in India and soon after took a job in Australia and then in Hawaii. When his talent for business was discovered, Dr. Charan was encouraged to pursue it. He earned MBA and doctorate degrees from Harvard Business School, where he graduated with high distinction and was a Baker Scholar. After receiving his doctorate degree, he served on the Harvard Business School faculty.

Dr. Charan is well known for providing advice that is down to earth and relevant and that takes into account the real-world complexities of business. Among his recommendations for achieving profitable growth, for example, are to search for “singles and doubles” as well as home runs and to develop what he calls a “growth budget” to instill discipline on growth initiatives. Identified by Fortune as the leading expert in corporate governance, Dr. Charan is helping boards go beyond the requirements of Sarbanes-Oxley and the New York Stock Exchange by providing practical ways to improve their group dynamics. Boards, CEOs, and senior-most human resource executives often seek his advice on talent planning and key hires.

Many people have come to know Dr. Charan through in-house executive education programs. His energetic, interactive teaching style has won him several awards. He won the Bell Ringer award at GE’s famous Crotonville Institute and best teacher award at Northwestern. He was among BusinessWeek’s top ten resources for in-house executive development programs.

Over the past decade, Dr. Charan has captured his business insights in numerous books and articles. In the past five years, Dr. Charan’s books have sold more than 2 million copies. These include the bestseller Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done and Confronting Reality, both co-authored with Larry Bossidy, What the CEO Wants You to Know, Boards at Work, Every Business Is a Growth Business, Profitable Growth, and Boards That Deliver. A frequent contributor to Fortune, Dr. Charan has written two cover stories, “Why CEOs Fail” and “Why Companies Fail.” His other articles have appeared in the Financial Times, Harvard Business Review, Director’s Monthly, and Strategy and Business.

Dr. Charan has served on the Blue Ribbon Commission on Corporate Governance and was elected a Distinguished Fellow of the National Academy of Human Resources. He is on the board of Austin Industries and Tyco Electronics. Dr. Charan is based in Dallas, TX.

About the AuthorProfessional

Amarendra is the Chief Executive Officer and Editorial Director at CEOWORLD Magazine, and is responsible for all business management, company operations, finance, and social advertising operations.

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