Playing to Win
Playing to Win
Playing to Win

Roger Martin

Playing to Win

Roger Martin is a Canadian-born thought leader and former dean of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto.

Roger Martin: The Execution Trap

Roger Martin: Playing to Win

Roger Martin

He is the author (with Procter & Gamble’s A.G. Lafley) of the best-selling book Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works, which won the Thinkers50 Best Book Award, and he was recently appointed the third most influential management thinker by the Thinkers50.

Business School Dean of the Year 2013

In the 15 years that Martin led the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, he transformed the institution from a small Canadian B-school to a global player. Martin’s transformational accomplishments earn him Dean of the Year honors from Poets&Quants for 2013, and the first dean who is no longer in the job to be given the accolade.

Implement Consulting Group has worked closely with Roger Martin for several years starting with his appearance as guest speaker at Implement Thought Leaders in 2011 and continuing with the training of Implement’s consultants in his approach to strategic thinking.

Making Playing to Win work 

On 20 November 2014 Roger Martin and Implement hosted a Global Learning Lab in New York with the purpose of making Playing to Win work.

Strategy as design

The Learning Lab brought together leading US and European companies to exchange experiences and create collective insight into how Playing to Win can improve the way we answer complex strategic questions. Read more about the event Playing to Win – Global Learning Lab New York.

At the 2013 Implement University, Roger Martin facilitated a 1-day workshop where clients and consultants from Implement were mixed together in groups to co-create solutions to challenges that had been identified in the clients’ organisations.

On a very intensive day, alternating between theory and practical work, Roger Martin’s approach of the five strategic questions to be answered was applied to the challenges of the clients.

  • What is our winning aspiration?
  • Where will we play?
  • How will we win?
  • What capabilities must we have in place to win?
  • And what management systems are required to support our choices?

Watch the video clip 'Roger Martin: Playing to Win' from the session above.

Learn more about Roger Martin on his own website.

  • Playing to Win

    Playing to Win Roger Martin

  • Fixing the Game

    Fixing the Game Roger Martin

  • The Design of Business

    The Design of Business Roger Martin

  • The Opposable Mind

    The Opposable Mind Roger Martin


  • The Big Lie of Strategic Planning

    If you are entirely comfortable with your strategy, there’s a strong chance it isn’t very good. You’re probably stuck in one or more traps. You need to be uncomfortable and apprehensive: True strategy is about placing bets and making hard choices. The objective is not to eliminate risk but to increase the odds of success.

  • Bringing Science to the Art of Strategy

    Strategic planners pride themselves on their rigor. Strategies are supposed to be driven by numbers and extensive analysis and uncontaminated by bias, judgment, or opinion. The larger the spreadsheets, the more confident an organisation is in its process. All those numbers, all those analyses, feel scientific, and in the modern world, 'scientific' equals 'good.'

  • The Execution Trap

    The idea that execution is distinct from strategy has become firmly ensconced in management thinking over the past decade. So much so, in fact, that if you run a Google search for 'A mediocre strategy well executed is better than a great strategy poorly executed', you will get more than 42,600 references.

Harvard Business Review