In his latest book, Sinek applies the principles of game theory and infinite games for how companies approach their mission, strategy, and organizational development. This book builds on the earlier work of the philosopher James Carse, putting the spotlight on business and how an infinite game mindset can help business leaders stay true to their purpose and deliver greater long-term value to their stakeholders. This book builds on Sinek’s earlier works, Start with Why and Leaders Eat Last, further reinforcing the connection between leadership, employee experience, and customer experience.
The core idea is that in infinite games, where players come and go, the rules are changeable, and there is no defined endpoint, it is important to think about the concept of winning differently. Organizations that carry on as if they are playing a series of finite games underperform in many ways because they don’t build purpose-driven, innovative organizations. In contrast to finite games, in infinite games there are both known and unknown players and there is no clear end to the game. In an infinite game, the game goes on whether the original players are still in the game or not. You don’t need to always “beat” your competition, but certainly need to outlast them and learn from them.
In the book, Sinek lays out 5 principles to lead with an infinite mindset.
Advance a Just Cause. Share your north star vision, an unchanging point of reference by which you navigate along your journey towards becoming more customer-driven. Provide the context for your decisions so that employees can connect with your Why on a deeper level.
Build Trusting Teams. Hire well and empower your teams to contribute to your Just Cause. Listen to your employees and foster a more collaborative culture.
Study Your Worthy Rivals. Focus on improving yourself vs. taking a narrow view of “winning.”
Be Ready to Pivot. Like in The Lean Startup (see earlier blog about this other book on my top ten list), be open to purposeful, dramatic change, while staying true to your Just Cause.
Lead Courageously. Stay committed to long-term thinking and working towards your Just Cause. Avoid ego-driven thinking, which often leads to a finite mindset.
Sinek is a kindred spirit to many of the other authors of books on my initial top ten list. He even references his close friendship to Adam Grant, the author of the next book on my list.
For a selection of some of my own articles on related topics, please see this collection of links here on our website. I think you’ll find ROX^3: Boosting Returns on Leadership, Customer, and Employee Experience most aligned to the ideas in The Infinite Game.
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