“So many people go to work with an uncomfortable feeling—and that just can’t be the way work is supposed to be,” says Simon Sinek. Talking about the concepts in his latest book, The Infinite Game, he explains how things such as mass layoffs and shareholder supremacy (placing stock prices above a person’s worth) seem to be so common these days that we have come to accept them. Sinek believes this situation can change if leaders understand they are playing an infinite game.
A finite game has known players, fixed rules, and a clear end point, like baseball. But with infinite games such as business or politics, the players come and go, the rules are changeable, and there is no defined end point. There are no winners or losers in an infinite game—there is only ahead or behind.
Problems arise when leaders play an infinite game with a finite mindset. When this happens, there are no agreed-upon metrics, trust is destroyed, and, ultimately, cooperation and innovation suffer.
But leaders who operate with an infinite mindset want to leave the company better than they found it. They live their lives in service and foster people’s willingness to show up, work hard, and take care of each other. When people truly trust and depend upon each other, remarkable things happen.
In an infinite game, leadership happens at many levels because it isn’t about a title or rank. It’s about the leader accepting responsibility for taking care of their people. Authority doesn’t make someone a leader. Everyone has the opportunity to be the leader they wish we had. It can start at the grass roots level by creating teams of people who rally to the cause.
The one thing Sinek would like listeners to take from this podcast is that we all need to take care of each other. We are our own best hope.
For more about Simon Sinek, go to www.simonsinek.com or follow him on Twitter @simonsinek.
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