There are many things to keep in mind while doing business. The playing field, your competition, and who you’re catering to. Understanding the domain of business and organizational structure is crucial when you are building strategies. Before we dwell on this article, let us begin by understanding what an infinite game is and how different it is from a finite game.
In a finite game, there are known players, fixed rules, defined endpoints, and clear winners and losers. It’s sure that you immediately thought of football or basketball when this topic was brought up. Infinite games, on the other hand, allow players to come and go, rules keep changing, and there is no defined endpoint and no clear winner. The objective is to keep playing the game! Business and life are infinite games and should be played in such a way. When we play infinite games with a finite mindset, we set ourselves not only to lose the game, but we become unable to play it. What’s the solution? Simon Sinek suggests playing with an infinite mindset. How? Here are five different elements that can help you do that.
Join a Just Cause
A Just Cause is a specific vision for the future that does not yet exist. It is powerful enough that it makes people sacrifice for it. Now you might think it’s something like “world peace,” but it can be something like the story of CVS. CVS is a general store that wrestled with a decision to keep selling cigarettes or not. This single product brought in billions of dollars in revenue for them but deep inside, they knew that if they had to promote healthy lifestyles for customers and the world, they would have to make a difficult choice. The company took the risk and cut off all tobacco sales across the store. In the short term, it hurt their sales, but within months, they bought products that helped people quit cigarettes. Other health brands also joined CVS in pursuing health as they believed in their mission. A just cause will shape our finite goals and suggest a direction we should take as it matters that much. We can only achieve this cause if we can build trust in our teams, which brings us to element two.
In the late 90s, Shell wanted to build the most expensive and efficient oil rig the world had ever seen. For this project to succeed, they wanted to hire the best team in the world to run it. Although the group was exceptional, two drastically different people led it. Rick was a man’s man, and Clair was a holocaust survivor who believed emotions were essential and poles apart in personality. Clair made Rick and his team of grumpy men go through exercises they took part in reluctantly. This ultimately resulted in crafting the best and most efficient teams to date. This was because she challenged them emotionally and built relationships. Simon Sinek says that weak cultures rely on rules while strong cultures rely on relationships.” A trusting team is the backbone of an infinite mindset. However, being the best at what you do can get boring, but a worthy rival keeps it interesting. This brings us to the third element.
Most people use their energy to compare themselves with one another. It can be critical to use this energy to improve themselves. Apple has done this beautifully. From competing with IBM and Microsoft on every step of their rise, apple has defied all odds to emerge stronger.
When an apple executive was confronted with the fact that Zune was better than the iPad, he replied, “I’m sure it is.” They were not just competing with technology; they wanted to change the world with their products. They tried to change the world like how IBM did before them. They now compete with Google and Facebook. They keep looking for long-term rivals. Simon says, “a great rival helps us elevate our game, focus our process, clarify our cause and rally our people.”
Rivals look for followers, whereas competitors fight for customers. In an infinite game, both competitors can achieve everything they want without other players having to lose.
This is the fourth element, and Simon defines this as “the capacity to initiate an extreme disruption to the business model or strategic course to more effectively advance a just cause.” It’s the ability to change even when it seems like change is risky. Walt Disney’s journey to success can be an excellent example of this element. Even though his film company was wildly successful, he felt boxed in and thought he could bring more happiness to the world. He left his company and started a new one. Walt, along with dedicated and talented team members, built Disney Land. He wanted to bring what we saw in movies to life. He was not afraid to take a risk for things he believed in. You have to be willing to risk finite certainly for infinite possibility.
Courage To Lead
Just a few years ago, American Airlines gained a leader who brought an infinite mindset to the company. He helped every employee gain a raise. He wanted to show that a new leader cared about the team. However, several factors outside his control led him to make a costly decision. He could give his team another mid-contract raise which would cost his company billions, or he could make Wallstreet happy and refuse it. The CEO took a risk and gave his employees a raise. He established himself as someone who is playing the long game. It is crucial to know that this made American Airlines one of Warren Buffets’ favorite investments. Courage comes down to integrity, and being willing to follow the law and adhere to higher standards of ethics is critical.
Summing it Up
Simon tells us that we must be willing to lead a cause and not just run the company. These five elements of an infinite mindset will help you achieve a total game-changer attitude in your private and personal life. Learn more about business building and how to transform your napkin ideas to meaningful exits here https://project10k.com/pitch/