A New Way to Think - Live with Harvard Business Review Press

AmCham in association with Harvard Business Review Press is bringing you top writers of management books. At this on-line event Roger L. Martin introduced the key insights from his new book A New Way to Think.

Guide to Superior Management Effectiveness

We are in the midst of a great reboot, with business leaders navigating the uncertainty of a world forever changed by the pandemic. In a new book, Roger L. Martin – one of the greatest business thinkers of our time – argues that in order to solve their most pressing challenges, leaders must first rethink their models.

Over the last 40 years as a trusted adviser to CEOs of some of the world’s top companies, Martin has seen the dominant models of management fail leaders time and again. In his new book, A New Way to Think, he urges leaders to abandon the old ways of thinking, and instead try new models in every domain of management – from competition and customers to strategy, data, culture, talent, M&A and everything in between.

Martin life’s work has been to question dominant models, understand why they fail to meet the needs of the problems they were designed to address, and find new, more powerful ways to think about the problems. Each chapter compares a dominant but flawed model to a new, better way of thinking across the entire breadth of the management landscape, including:

  • Competition. It happens at the front line, where customers are served, not at the corporation level. This new model flips the traditional hierarchy so that the job of every corporate level is to help the level below it to serve that customer better.
  • Data. The dominant model – that leaders must make data-based decisions – is flat-out wrong. Creating great choices often requires imagination more than data.
  • Culture. Most culture change efforts fail because you can’t change culture by mandate. You can only change culture indirectly by altering how individuals interact.
  • Knowledge work. The dominant model produces a destructive hiring and firing cycle. As leaders compete for top talent in the Great Resignation, they must organize knowledge workers around projects, not jobs.
  • Talent. The most important thing leaders need to know about recruiting and retaining top-end talent right now: feeling special is more important than compensation.
  • M&A. Despite the M&A and SPAC boom, most fail. Why? Acquiring companies take more value than they give.

Martin notes that when leaders get stuck, they almost automatically assume that the model they used wasn’t applied rigorously enough, so they try again, but more vigorously. But typically, the leader is not at fault; the model that guided their actions simply wasn’t up to the task. In his book Martin poses a critical question to leaders: do you own your models, or do your models own you? If you blame yourself yet keep trying to use a model more effectively, then your model owns you. If, instead, you hold your model accountable for producing the results that it promises and jettison it when it comes up short, then you own your models – and you will be a more effective leader because of it.

  • November 22, 2022
  • 16:30h - 18:30h
  • Webinar
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About the author

Roger L. Martin is Professor Emeritus at the Rotman School of Management at University of Toronto, where he served as Dean from 1998 to 2013, and as Institute Director of the Martin Prosperity Institute from 2013 to 2019. In 2017, he was named the world's number one management thinker by Thinkers50. He has published 12 previous books including When More Is Not Better and Playing to Win (with A. G. Lafley), which won the award for Best Book of 2012-13 by Thinkers50. Martin is a trusted strategy adviser to the CEOs of many global companies. He holds a BA from Harvard College and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

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