Leaders who embrace an
infinite mindset build stronger
organizations that have the
resilience to thrive in an
( startwithwhy.com) is
speaker and organizational consultant.
He is the author of the
upcoming book The
Infinite Game (Portfolio,
2019; not available
of the game
Playing the infinite game of
business requires an infinite
mindset in order to succeed
by SIMON SINEK
hings like business, education,
even life, are examples of infinite
games—situations where the rules
are always changing.
Sadly, too many people and organizations are playing the infinite game
with a finite mindset. They talk about
being No. ;, being the best or beating the
competition. The problem is that there is
no such thing as winning business. In an
infinite game, there is only ahead and
behind. The goal is not to win; the goal
is to keep playing.
To succeed in an infinite game,
we must learn to play with an infinite
mindset. And to do that, we need:
A just cause. We need a compelling
reason for our organization to exist or an
inspiring reason to want to keep doing
what we are doing.
Trusting teams. If we do not work
with a trusting team, too many of us are
forced to lie, hide and fake every day.
That entails hiding mistakes, never
asking for help and pretending to be the
person others want us to be for fear of
The companies that build
the strongest cultures
are the most innovative,
regularly outperform their
competition and tend to
be led by leaders with an
In contrast, companies
led by leaders with a finite
mindset tend to be overly
focused on short-term
results, obsessed with what
their competition is doing
and too frequently use
their people to balance the
books with annual rounds
getting in trouble or finding ourselves on
the shortlist at the next round of layoffs.
A worthy rival. We need another
player in the game whom we admire.
That rival’s strengths reveal to us our
weaknesses, and their very existence
pushes us to improve and become better
versions of ourselves. Worthy rivals can
be companies or individuals we want to
be more like.
A flexible playbook. We have to have
the ability to change course if we are to
continue to advance our just cause.
Sometimes that may mean a short-term
loss in exchange for a long-term gain.
The courage to lead. Playing in the
infinite game often means standing up
to outside pressure that is pushing us to
do what is expedient, and instead to do
what is right. It means prioritizing the
long term over the short term. And, most
important, courage means doing all we
can to ensure that those around us feel
like we have their back. That one act will
give them the courage to do the right
thing for the good of the whole.