A few days ago, a good friend asked me what book I was currently reading. Embarrassed, I admitted that I had been recently hyper-focusing on my business and hadn’t read any books in the past couple of months.
It’s funny because I know that reading and lifelong learning are habits that most of the world’s most successful business leaders engage in.
For instance, did you know Warren Buffet reads 500 pages a day? Mark Cuban reads about three hours a day. Bill Gates, one of the most wealthy people in the world, reads 50 books a year.
I left that meeting and immediately purchased Simon Sinek’s latest release: The Infinite Game. It was published just the day before.
I want to share some of my thoughts on this new leadership work by the man who brought us Start with Why and Leaders Eat Last.
The Infinite Game
Sinek starts with the fundamental business question of “How do we win a game that has no end? Finite games, like football or chess, he explains, have known players, fixed rules and a clear endpoint. The winners and losers are easily identified,” he explains.
He further explains, “Infinite games, games with no finish line, like business or politics, or life itself, have players who come and go. The rules of an infinite game are changeable and infinite games have no defined endpoint. There are no winners or losers—only ahead and behind.”
So, the question this begs (particularly in West Virginia) is, how do we play to succeed in the game we’re in? Do we play with a finite mindset? Or an infinite mindset?
A Framework for An Infinite Mindset
Sinek offers a framework for leading with an infinite mindset. On the one hand, none of us can resist the fleeting thrills of a sale that closes or an outstanding quarterly profit, yet these rewards fade quickly. In pursuit of what Sinek calls in Chapter 2, the “Just Cause,” we can commit to a vision of a future world so appealing that we will build it week after week, month after month, year after year. Although we do not know the exact form this world will take, working toward it gives our work and our lives meaning.
Of note to West Virginians, in Chapter 8, “Ethical Fading,” is Sinek’s insight into how companies fall into this slippery slope of poor ethical judgment in business. He uses the Mylan / Heather Bresch / EpiPen pricing scandal as an example of how corporate executive incentives and other factors can lead to disaster. Fascinating reading, to be sure.
The Eastman Kodak Company is an American technology company that produces camera-related products - such as this antique “Brownie” camera in our InnerAction Media lobby. Did Kodak have an infinite mindset for their company - or a finite mindset?
Throughout this book, Sinek demonstrates how business leaders who embrace an infinite mindset build stronger, more innovative, more inspiring organizations. Leaders like Ford Motor’s Alan Mulally, Apple’s Steve Jobs and others.
Ultimately, they are the ones who lead us into the future. And might I add, this type of vision and leadership is something we need in West Virginia. Not only in business but from our political leaders as well.
There is a lot more to this book than the space I have here. I encourage you to pick it up and challenge your mindset – are you Finite or Infinite in your thinking?
As I continue on my mission to help people with their marketing and advertising across the Mountain State, I want to thank you for reading. If you have questions on this topic, I’d love to talk to you. Please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org