The Place To Win Systemhome

How Strategy Really Works is a book about strategy, written by A.G. Lafley, former CEO of Procter & Gamble, and Roger Martin, dean of the Rotman School of Management. The book covers the “transformation” of P&G under Lafley and the approach to strategy that informed it.

This approach grew out of the strategy practice at Monitor Company and subsequently became the standard process at P& G. Over the course of our careers, we worked to develop a robust framework around our strategic approach, a way to teach the concepts to others, and a methodology for bringing it to life in an organization. … Ultimately, this is a story about choices, including the choice to create a discipline of strategic thinking and strategic practice within an organization.

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What is Strategy?


Really, strategy is about making specific choices to win in the marketplace. According to Mike Porter, author of Competitive Strategy, perhaps the most widely respected book on strategy ever written, a firm creates a sustainable competitive advantage over its rivals by “deliberately choosing a different set of activities to deliver unique value.” Strategy therefore requires making explicit choices— to do some things and not others— and building a business around those choices. In short, strategy is choice. More specifically, strategy is an integrated set of choices that uniquely positions the firm in its industry so as to create sustainable advantage and superior value relative to the competition.

Too often CEO’s allow the urgent to cloud out the important. “When an organizational bias for action drives doing, often thinking falls by the wayside.”

Rather than develop strategies, many leaders tend to approach strategy in one of the following ineffective ways:

  1. they define strategy as a vision;
  2. they define strategy as a plan;
  3. they deny that long-term strategy is possible;
  4. they define strategy as the optimization of the status quo; and
  5. they define strategy as following best practices.

“These ineffective approaches,” Lafley and Martin argue, “are driven by a misconception of what strategy really is and a reluctance to make truly hard choices.”

While everyone wants to keep options open as long as possible, only making and acting on choices allow you “to win.” Great organization choose to win — tough choices force your hand but, if you let them, they also focus your organization.

When a company sets out to participate, rather than win, it will inevitably fail to make the tough choices and the significant investments that would make winning even a remote possibility.

Playing to win, however, means you might be wrong.

The Playbook

In our terms, a strategy is a coordinated and integrated set of five choices: a winning aspiration, where to play, how to win, core capabilities, and management systems. … The five choices make up the strategic choice cascade, the foundation of our strategy work and the core of this book.

Specifically, strategy is the answer to these five interrelated questions:

  1. What is your winning aspiration? The purpose of your enterprise, its motivating aspiration.
  2. Where will you play? A playing field where you can achieve that aspiration.
  3. How will you win? The way you will win on the chosen playing field.
  4. What capabilities must be in place? The set and configuration of capabilities required to win in the chosen way.
  5. What management systems are required? The systems and measures that enable the capabilities and support the choices.

As you can imagine, in small organizations a single choice cascade might exist, whereas in large organizations multiple “levels of choices and interconnected cascades.” Nested cascades means that choice happens at almost every level in the organization.

Winning Aspirations

The Place To Win System Homeschool

Aspirations are statements about the ideal future. At a later stage in the process, a company ties to those aspirations some specific benchmarks that measure progress toward them. … Aspirations can be refined and revised over time. However, aspirations shouldn’t change day to day; they exist to consistently align activities within the firm, so should be designed to last for some time.

Where to Play

The winning aspiration broadly defines the scope of the firm’s activities; where to play and how to win define the specific activities of the organization— what the firm will do, and where and how it will do this, to achieve its aspirations.

Where to play represents the set of choices that narrow the competitive field. The questions to be asked focus on where the company will compete— in which markets, with which customers and consumers, in which channels, in which product categories, and at which vertical stage or stages of the industry in question.

How to Win

Where to play selects the playing field; how to win defines the choices for winning on that field. It is the recipe for success in the chosen segments, categories, channels, geographies, and so on. The how-to-win choice is intimately tied to the where-to-play choice. Remember, it is not how to win generally, but how to win within the chosen where-to-play domains.


… To determine how to win, an organization must decide what will enable it to create unique value and sustainably deliver that value to customers in a way that is distinct from the firm’s competitors. Michael Porter called it competitive advantage— the specific way a firm utilizes its advantages to create superior value for a consumer or a customer and in turn, superior returns for the firm.

Great strategies allow a certain fit between the where-to-play and how-to-win choices that make the company stronger.

Core Capabilities

Two questions flow from and support the heart of strategy: (1) what capabilities must be in place to win, and (2) what management systems are required to support the strategic choices?

Management Systems

The final strategic choice in the cascade focuses on management systems. These are the systems that foster, support, and measure the strategy. To be truly effective, they must be purposefully designed to support the choices and capabilities.

Summing Up

[S]trategy is an iterative process in which all of the moving parts influence one another and must be taken into account together.

The heart of strategy, according to Lafley and Martin, is deciding where to play and determining how you will win there.

The place to win system homeschool

What business are you in?

Most companies, if you ask them what business they’re in, will tell you what their product line is or will detail their service offering. Many handheld phone manufacturers, for example, would say they are in the business of making smartphones. They would not likely say that they are in the business of connecting people and enabling communication any place, any time. But that is the business they are actually in— and a smartphone is just one way to accomplish that.

The book was an excellent read and the kindle edition is only $7.99!

Still curious? See A Primer on Strategy.

Security cameras are an important part of protecting your home, but successfully using a security camera requires putting it in the right spot. That can be more difficult than it sounds.

There are a number of things you can keep in mind when you place your camera, and there are a number of ways you can strategically place your camera so that you not only capture any evidence of a burglary that could occur, but actively reduce the risk of a burglary happening.

Win a new home

But knowing where and how to place your camera can be difficult, so we’ve rounded up the 10 best places to help get you started.


Common security camera mistakes to avoid.

Before you go placing your camera, there are a number of things you should keep in mind. These are common mistakes people make when installing or placing their camera, and they can hurt your camera’s ability to do the job you need it to do.

Put the camera up high, but not too high.

When you’re looking for places to put your camera outdoors, you want it to put your camera up high. Aim for around 9 to 10 feet up. This way it’ll be high enough up that a tall person roughly 6 feet tall wouldn’t be able to damage or steal your camera.

This height is also short enough that your camera remains visible, which is important for an outdoor camera.

83% of burglars look for signs of a security system before deciding on robbing a place, with 60% opting to not rob a place if there is a security system in place, according to UNC Charlotte’s Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology.

Think about your camera’s goal.

You shouldn’t just place your camera somewhere without thinking about what you want that camera to keep an eye on. For instance, if you put a camera near the front of your house, you need to consider what you want it to record.

Do you want it to keep an eye on your car in the driveway, or would you rather have it look out for people approaching your front door?

The more you consider what you want your camera to look at, the more effective it can be. You can then decide whether you want a camera that has a narrower field of view or a more advanced camera with a high resolution that can capture everything.

Don’t place it too far from potential subjects.

One of the reasons it’s important to think about what you want your camera to capture is because you want to avoid the instinct to place your camera far enough away that it captures everything.

It seems like a good idea, as you’re trying to capture as much visual information as possible, right?

Unfortunately, placing your camera far away can lead to bad footage, with subjects so small that it’s difficult to identify what’s happening. This is bad for potential evidence, as turning over such footage to the authorities could yield no results.

It’s best to put your camera close enough where it can clearly see its subjects.

Get a good quality camera.

Similarly, you’re going to want to get a camera with good video quality. At the very least, you’re going to want an HD camera with crystal-clear video. Be sure to take a look at a camera’s spec sheet before you buy it. At the very least, you’re going to want a 1080p camera with HDR.

You’re also going to want to look out for a camera that is good in low light and doesn’t give you noisy video that looks blurry if it’s an extra cloudy day.

Make sure it has night vision.

You’re also going to want to make sure your camera has night vision. This will ensure that your camera will work at night, especially if the power goes out and any ambient lighting is gone. This way, you’ll still be able to keep track of what’s going on.

This is important if you plan on using your night vision security camera for surveillance, whether it’s outside or inside your home. It’s easy to get a camera that can take good footage in ideal conditions, like sunny days, it’s much more difficult to do the same at night, making night vision essential.

Check your local security camera laws.

Before you install your camera, it’s very important that you consult your local laws about what to do with security cameras. Often, security cameras are perfectly legal to install if they’re aimed at your property, but you’ll have to make sure they don’t inadvertently look at your neighbors property or another person’s domain, as this could violate privacy laws.

The 10 best places to put your security camera.

Now that you know what to avoid doing when placing your security camera, it’s time to learn the best places to actually put that camera. These places will maximize your security potential, help you reduce your chance of getting broken into, or increase your chance of helping the police find the burglar.

Front Door

This is the most essential entrance to protect, as 34% of break-ins occur via the front door. Placing a camera either above or next to the front door can go a long way to help protect your home. A camera placed here is easily visible, scaring off burglars, and it’ll also give you a good look at whoever tries to break into your home.

Back Door

Similarly, a back or side door is a major target for burglars. 22% of burglaries happen via a side door, and if you’ve got a backyard with an entrance, it’s likely that could be a major target as well. Placing a camera in a place that can not only watch your back yard, but keep an eye on whoever makes it through your back door is a must.

Off-street Windows

Burglars use first-floor windows to enter your home 23% of the time, and many of these windows aren’t the windows on the front of your house. Instead, they’re off-street windows on the side or back of your home.

These are windows that aren’t visible on the street, so passing cars and people likely wouldn’t see someone enter them. Placing a camera near these windows will help you eliminate the second-most used entrance for burglars.


Win Place Home

The garage is a potential entrance for burglars, with 9% of burglars choosing this way. However, it also doubles as a place that stores something valuable: Your car. Your garage also has other valuable things that can be pawned off for cash, like oil, parts and more.

Placing a camera either inside or outside your garage to keep an eye on who makes it through is a good idea.


Some basements have outdoor entrances on the sides of houses; these entrances are rarely used and rarely seen, but they can sometimes be used by burglars to enter your home – with 4% of burglars opting for this way.

Your basement likely also has valuable things you keep in storage, like antiques. Either place a camera at the entrance of your basement or inside at valuable items.


Your driveway is the road to your home. Whether it’s by car or by foot, most people make their way to your home via your driveway. Pointing a camera at your driveway can give you a good idea of who is even thinking of making their way to your home.

This also allows you to kill two birds with one stone – capturing who makes your way to both your front door and garage. Keep in mind that you don’t want to aim too far down your driveway though, or your camera won’t be able to pick up important details.


Inside your home, you might have a couple cabinets that are filled with valuable things you might not want people to touch. It can be essential medicines, liquor or even an extensive wine collection. Putting a security camera inside the cabinet can be a good way of keeping track of who opens your cabinet, especially if your camera has motion detection and Face Tag.

Living Room

The area in your home that’s used the most is your living room. It’s where you gather with friends and family, and probably play with your kids. They often cover a large space, which means that if someone has to get across your first floor, they have to pass through. This means that placing a camera here can be a good idea.

Not only can you use it for a potential evidence gathering, you can use it to check in with your kids or sitter. It’s also a better choice than putting cameras in bedrooms or bathrooms, which is a big no-no.

Second-floor Hallway

Many second-floors are largely just hallways that connect various rooms and bathrooms, often leading to a stairway to the first floor. Placing a camera in a corner of the hallway that lets it see access to most rooms can be a good way to collect potential evidence.


This location isn’t so much for evidence, but for keeping an eye on your baby. You can train your camera on your baby’s crib, letting you monitor your child while you’re away – or if you just wake up in the middle of the night and want to quickly check in without wandering into the nursery and accidentally waking them up.

Get a versatile camera.

One of the most difficult parts of buying a camera is that you need to consider where you need to put it. The more difficult part is that a lot of cameras are built for one use, either outside or inside, which makes buying more affordable bundles a non-starter.

A versatile smart camera is both weather resistant and wireless, so it can be placed outside and inside. You’ll also need night vision and 1080p with HDR for crystal-clear video day and night. Also look for built-in storage with cloud backup, so you can share clips with the police easily when needed.

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