Roger Martin on thinking differently about how to think

In his latest book, A New Way to Think: Your Guide to Superior Management Effectiveness, Roger Martin shares his thoughts about how to think differently about how to think. Years ago, Albert Einstein said that the thinking that created problems cannot be expected to solve them. More recently, Charles Kettering suggested, “If you’ve always done it the same way, you’re probably wrong.”

Martin acknowledges that all of the now dominant models make sense but need to be re-evaluated from time to time. He focuses on fourteen of what he characterizes as “new or different models” that can provide any organization “a better likelihood” of achieving better results “than the model it replaces. And I would welcome the next thinker who will improve on each of my models.”

Each is based on a core principle:

1. Competition happens at the front line where there is interaction with customers, not at the head office.
2. To actually create shareholder value, put customers before shareholders. That leads to organizational success…and enrichment of shareholders.
3. Unconscious habit is a much more powerful driver of customer behavior than is conscious loyalty.
4. In strategy, what counts is what would have to be true — not what is true.
5. Creating great choices requires imagination more than data.
6. You can only change culture by altering how individuals work with one another.
7. You must organize knowledge work and workers around time-bound projects, not jobs.

8. Corporate functions need strategies to be effective to the same extent that operating businesses do.
9. Recognize that an effective strategy selects goals and risks rather than try to control them on an uncertain path.
10. Accept that “execution” is essentially the same as “strategy.”
11. Treat each talented employee as an individual with unique needs and desires as the key to attraction and retention.
12. The design process for approving and launching an innovation is as important as the innovation itself.
13. Treat an asset as what it is worth immediately after conversion from unfettered to embedded capital…and calculate its ROI based on that embedded value.
14. A key goal in any acquisition should be to provide more value to the acquired entity than the corporation receives from the entity.

He thoroughly explains each in a separate chapter, anchoring them in real-world situations wth which most readers can readily identify.

A New Way to Think was published by Har vard Business Review Press (May 2022).



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