A marketer-turned-leadership consultant, famous for his TedX Talks, Simon Sinek, has been transforming individuals, leaders and organizations with his ideas since 2009. Author of several books, aimed at transforming mindsets, has published yet another powerful book which will change the way in which leaders conduct their businesses today.
In this new book, “The Infinite Game”, published in October 2018, Simon Sinek discusses the leadership approach required to compete in today’s marketplace. The central idea is that business is an infinite game which most people are playing with a dangerously finite mindset. Their focus is on the short term: Beating rivals and meeting quarterly targets; whereas they need to adopt a longer-range approach, – an infinite mindset, “that will lead us to feel inspired every morning, safe when we are at work and fulfilled at the end of each day”.
Leaders need to understand that businesses do not have a finish line, the playing field is undefined, continuous and competitors change frequently, as does the business itself. The goal is to outlive your competition. Competitors drop out of the infinite game when they lose the will or resources to stop playing. Resources can be understood as capital, intellectual property, people, technology etc. Developing will-power, requires the following components:
- Just cause—More than the “why” or purpose, a just cause is what motivates one to outlive the competition and helps one sustain through hardship and adversity.
- Courageous leadership—Leaders need to champion the just cause above anything else. They must be willing to stand up to the pressures of the Management, Board, etc. and stay true to their cause. This may require all leaders in the organization unite to support this “ just cause”.
- Vulnerable team— Time and energy must be invested in building a culture in an organization where people feel safe to be themselves and can safely admit that they don’t know something or have made a mistake. They can take appropriate risks without fear of retaliation.
- Worthy adversary— Adversaries are acknowledged and treated with respect; however, success or failure isn’t measured against them. Ultimately leaders are competing against themselves, and success should be measured against the just cause. Competitors provide the impetus to improve products, services, marketing, etc.
- Open playbook— Organizations pursue a variable cause with a fixed strategy, rather than pursuing a fixed cause with a variable strategy. Having an open playbook means leaders and organizations are willing to have flexible plans that change as needed to pursue their just cause and strategies are made transparent, so all team members can be on the same page.
An infinite leader builds a culture so strong, that when the leader is no longer there, the culture lives on which is committed to fulfilling the leader’s just cause which lasts far beyond the time of the leader’s tenure. To build such a culture, inspire trust and innovation and build a sustainable business, leaders need to transform existing products and develop products which are beneficial for the buyers, take decisions for the betterment of not only themselves but also their stakeholders, and embrace technological advancements, organizational change and uncertainty.
1. Conley, Randy. “Simon Sinek’s 5 Steps for Mastering the ‘Infinite’ Game of Leadership.” Blanchard LeaderChat, 27 Oct. 2017, leaderchat.org/2017/10/27/simon-sineks-5-steps-for-mastering-the-infinite-game-of-leadership/.
2. Hill, Andrew. “Simon Sinek: the next Generation Must Test Leaders’ Finite Mindset.” Financial Times, Financial Times, 5 July 2019, www.ft.com/content/2a8e0080-96a4-11e9-9573-ee5cbb98ed36.
3. Rizwan, Maryam. “3 Tips to Up Your Game From The Book, The Infinite Game by Simon Sinek.” Learning Minds, 11 Sept. 2019, learningmindsgroup.com/3-tips-to-up-your-game-from-the-book-the-infinite-game-by-simon-sinek/.
– Written for LEADIN