The Infinite Game - Simon Sinek

The Infinite Game - Simon Sinek

How can it be possible to win an endless game? And what is the difference between triumph and achievement? Discover how the infinite way of thinking can change the manner you lead, manage, negotiate, stand out and live your life.

Simon Sinek says that there are two types of games: the Finite and the Infinite Games.

In Finite Games we know the players, the game rules, and we know what needs to be done to win. On the other hand, in infinite games, we don't know all the players, there are no set rules, nor an ultimate goal.

Basketball is a finite game. Business is an endless game.

Simon presents in his book "The Infinite Game" the value of having an infinite thinking, and shows how this concept took man to the moon, developed societies, generated great advances in science and medicine and made little companies become superpowers.

How we see and set our goals - in life and in business - have a lot in common with the way we lead, solve problems, seize opportunities, or fail.

Are you interested and want to understand in detail? So follow us on this Infinite Game that the knowledge is!

About the book "The Infinite Game"

"The Infinite Game" was published in 2019, it is developed based on the book by James P. Carse called "Finite and Infinite Games", but related to business and organizational structures.

With 11 chapters and 272 pages in its original version, Simon Sinek talks about topics such as the importance of knowing your mission, business responsibility, influence of trusted teams and how to learn from your concurrents.

About the author Simon Sinek

Born in 1973 in London, England, Simon Sinek is currently considered a reference for great leaders and entrepreneurs around the world.

He is mostly known for being a high-impact speaker to high performers and it's also the author of best-sellers such as "Start With Why", "Find Your Why", "Leaders Eat Last" and "Together Is Better".

He is also the founder of Start With Why, an institution with the objective of producing resources and tools to inspire people.

To whom is this book indicated?

The book "The Infinite Game" by Simon Sinek is suitable for leaders, entrepreneurs, and all those with the objective of continuous improvement in all aspects of their lives.

If you want to reach full realization, both professionally and personally, this book is for you!

Main ideas of the book "The Infinite Game"

  • The idea of contributing to a higher purpose encourages people more than any cash bonus;
  • Great leaders are those who think beyond the antagonism between "short term" and "long term";
  • The key to success and growth is to focus on being better than yourself, not better than your competition;
  • A company's true value is measured by the will others have to contribute to its to keep being successful;
  • The order in which a leader lists his priorities reveals his course. And that course will influence the choices he makes;
  • Trustworthy teams are essential for the regular and peaceful running of any organization;
  • Leaders are responsible for people, and people are responsible for results.

Ready to know the fundamentals followed by great organizations like Walmart, Apple and Disney? So let's go!

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[Book Summary] The Infinite Game - Simon Sinek

Finite and Infinite Games

Today, when you set goals, is your desire to reach victory or achievement?

According to Simon Sinek, when people have the goal of winning, they experience the thrill of competition, the need to reach the finish line, the wishing for the crowds that wait to cheer them on, but and then?

After the victory the game ends, and people return home not knowing their purpose.

On the other hand, people who wish for achievement have a long journey, the path needs to be careful, it is sometimes possible to stop to observe the landscape, the crowds join them on the way and, even at the end of their life, the same crowds will keep going on the journey.

The achievement is infinite, you can't win in friendship, or in relationships, just as you can't win in business. You just keep going on with it.

The Benefits of Infinite Mindset

The concept of infinite game is that if there is no end there is no reason to stop, and if there is no stop there is always growth.

The author tells us in his book that "The true value of a company is measured by the desire that others have to contribute so that it continues to be successful", this not only in the short term, but far beyond the present time.

Leaders with an infinite mindset always set their goals with the intention that their employees, customers and shareholders remain engaged to contribute with their knowledge, work and effort.

The ideology of the infinite game is constancy and the search for improvement. Simon Sinek makes it clear in "The Infinite Game" that the highest priority is self-improvement, not the desire to be better than the competition.

Simon also talks about the way finite mindset leaders waste time and resources trying to overcome their rivals, while rivals with infinite mindset leaders look for internal improvement and then stand out in their industry.

Companies like Amazon and Facebook, for example, made billions for having leaders with an infinite mindset.

What would have happened if Jeff Bezos were satisfied to sell only books online? Or would Mark Zuckerberg just accept to create a student network of connections?

Just Cause

In "The Infinite Game", the author classifies a Just Cause as "a specific vision of the future; a vision so attractive that people are willing to make sacrifices to help achieve it".

The difference between winning and having a just cause is that the feeling of winning is unsustainable, while a Just Cause lasts for years, even generations.

Simon also makes it clear that Just Cause is different from a Why, and while the why comes from the past, the cause is related to the future and where we are going.

Good causes are able to keep us focused against finite rewards like bonuses or individual gains.

True or False Cause?

The author wants us to know how to differentiate True Causes from False Causes.

True causes are timeless, durable and resilient, growth and development will be consequences.

Simon makes it clear that corporations with the right causes are not just looking for gain, and quote Henry Ford when he says, "A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business".

Responsibility in Business

In a simple way, "The Infinite Game" considers that the responsibility in business and of leaders is to use their desires and resources to accomplish a cause that is greater than the leader himself.

Basically, when a company finds its reason to exist and prosper accomplishing that purpose, protecting the people who work there and making money, it has found its true cause.

Wishes and Resources

Wishes and Resources will always be needed in all games, being they finite or infinite.

When talking about resources, Simon Sinek characterizes them as tangible and measurable things. In most cases, especially in business, "resource" is synonymous with money.

When it comes to wishes, the author classifies it as something intangible and difficult to measure. In this case, the wish is related to the feelings of the people who collaborate with an organization, for example.

Wishes and Resources are essential, leaders agree with this whether they have infinite thinking or not. The difference is, how different leaders prioritize both needs.

Good leaders know how to list their priorities and work to lead people with great wishes. People with great wishes work harder and better to get more resources.

According to the author, companies that make people feel valued have people united in a way that is not possible to obtain through money.

Trustworthy Teams

Through the book "The Infinite Game", by Simon Sinek, we understand that one of the main needs of big corporations is trust between the members of a team, mainly to generate a peaceful and regular operation.

When there is trust, there is no need to hide difficulties from the company or other employees, there is collaboration among colleagues, people feel free to point out problems and, as a result, the organization continues to play the infinite game.

Basically, this part of the book is about how in high-performance teams, trust between employees is more important than the performance itself.

Ethical Decline

In this chapter we get to know the concept of Ethical Decline, which is nothing more than a condition in a culture that allows people to act in an unethical way so that their interests are favored, most of the time, in place of other people's interests.

Meanwhile, people with Ethical Decline mistakenly believe they haven't hurt their moral principles.

In terms of enterprises, Ethical Decline can be exemplified as unfairly raising the prices of products or services, reducing salaries for employees in smaller sectors, or intentionally producing low-quality activities.

And how is this related to the Infinite Game?

Well, whoever plays the Infinite Game knows and supports their cause and, knowing that Ethical Declines have negative consequences, supporters of the cause will do nothing to spoil it.

Existential Flexibility

Simon Sinek brings to his book the concept of Existential Flexibility, which can be described as the ability to promote a major rupture in a business model or a strategic path to make the Just Cause advance in a more effective way.

In a simple way, the author discusses the need for organizations to accept the changes and evolutions that happen and, with that, create opportunities to develop in different ways.

What are Worthy Rivals?

We already know that Infinite Games have no winners, so it is possible to grow and develop without necessarily having our rivals losing.

For Simon Sinek, a Worthy Rival is another infinite game player with which it's worth comparing to.

The biggest characteristic of worthy rivals is that, at least in some way, they can do something better than us, whether it's a product or being a better leader, for example. Similarly, for sure, we will be better than them in other aspects.

The point is, when we recognize our rivals' strengths, we understand what we need to improve on and we are able to learn something from them.

Focusing on eliminating your rivals rather than getting better from them has already destroyed big corporations. Without a worthy rival, it is possible to lose our humility and agility.

How to have the courage to lead?

For Simon Sinek, there are three main conditions that need to be considered when deciding how we want to lead:

  1. It is not possible to decide whether a certain game is finite or infinite;
  2. It is possible to choose if we want to join the game or not;
  3. If we choose to join the game, we can choose whether we want to play with a finite or infinite mindset.

Therefore, all leaders with infinite mindset essentially needs:

  • Promoting a Just Cause;
  • Owning trustworthy teams;
  • Studying worthy rivals;
  • Being ready for existential flexibility;
  • Manifesting courage to lead.

Finally, Simon states that playing the Infinite Game requires courage.

When it comes to leading with an infinite mindset, he says that the inclination to completely change the perception of how the world works is the greatest base for high-performance corporations, enterprises and systems.

What do other authors say about it?

James C. Hunter, author of the book "The Culture", defends the idea that trustworthy teams, commanded by humble leaders and having the knowledge about their culture (so they can understand their major objective), are the ones that develop and stand out the most.

In the book "Strategy Safari", the authors highlight the importance of strategic planning and that, even so, it is always possible and necessary to search for improvements.

Last but not least, in the book "The Attacker's Advantage" by Ram Charan, we will better understand the need to be always anticipating the rival's movements. The author also evidences the importance of seeing opportunities in the until then unknown.

Okay, but how can I apply this to my life?

  • Define your just cause and let your entire team understand and follow it;
  • Keep an infinite mindset for every project in your life;
  • Make your company an trustworthy environment, where it is possible to discuss difficulties and mistakes;
  • Identify your rivals and learn from them;
  • Look for development and innovation because you want, not because you need.

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Want to keep learning about the Infinite Game and Simon Sinek's principles? You can find the full version of his book by clicking on the image below:

The infinite game Book

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