Simon Sinek’s latest book, The Infinite Game, provides another challenge to the status quo for leaders. Always thought-provoking, different, and inspiring, Simon Sinek asks leaders in business a fundamental question: What game are you playing?
Sinek describes how many corporate leaders judge their success based on how they win or lose at the game of business. Sinek though, says that business is not a win-able game because there is no end. He argues that business and service are, in fact, infinite.
Sinek reviews lessons from several successful businesses who are loyal to their “just cause,” a mission statement with a few extra parameters, in order to further prove his point. One example he gives is CVS’ decision to no longer sell cigarettes in their stores as part of their commitment to enriching community health.
One aspect of the book I really enjoyed was the inclusion of real life examples of how to lead in an infinite game. Sinek features leaders who rally for a cause, instead of simply trying to beat a competing organization. He gives examples of training leaders from the US Marine Corps Officer Candidate School. He discusses the Shell URSA oil rig as an example of a team that needed to establish psychological safety in order to ensure physical and environmental safety. He uses the Four Seasons Las Vegas as an example of an organization where leaders care for the employees, which leads to incredible customer service (Incidentally, this example about an associate named Noah, was my favorite part of the book).
Sinek writes much about the role of a CEO in an organization playing the “Infinite game,” suggesting that the CEO should really function more as a Chief Vision Officer or CVO.
Few authors are able to write with as much strong conviction on leadership topics as Simon Sinek. He is very critical of finite-minded CEOs, which in the book include Jack Welch (Former GE CEO) and Steve Ballmer (Former Microsoft CEO).
But the real magic of Sinek is his ability to illustrate that businesses that practice long-term thinking around a “just cause” benefit both the business itself and the broader community. For example, in the CVS example of ending the sale of cigarettes at their stores, he explained how the company’s stock price went down for only a matter of days, only to shoot back up even higher than it had been performing.
I agree with most of what Simon Sinek writes about and try to put his ideas into my own leadership practice. Whenever I have the opportunity to work with a team, I always stress the need for a clear vision that can be understood across the organization and for psychological safety to develop high-functioning teams. Like Sinek’s other books, this is the next in an excellent series of required reading for modern leaders.
KEY TAKEAWAY: Simon Sinek’s latest book doesn’t disappoint. It illustrates how to lead in an organization pursing a just cause and and infinite mindset. Implementing the ideas should be simple and are imperative for most successful teams.
The Infinite Game is available for purchase on Amazon for $28.00 (does not include Prime discount)