Successful leaders are ones that are able to adapt. They look at their organization in terms of an ebbing and flowing market that changes with the trends of the market or fluctuation of the economy. With this in mind, I would recommend the book The Infinite Game by Simon Sinek.
In 2009, Sinek became a well-known name in the professional community after his wildly popular TED Talk Start with Why. Today, Sinek is a touring public speaker and the author of multiple best-selling books, including Start with Why, Leaders Eat Last, Together is Better, and Find Your Why.
His latest book published in early 2019 centers around the idea of Infinite Games. He explains that in the professional arena, management styles are represented by known and unknown players and conducted using known and unknown rules. Managers that play what Sinek calls a ‘finite game’ have clear rules–a starting point and an ending. On the other hand, managers that lead using an infinite game mindset adapt the rules, players, and other aspects of their ‘game’ as they go along.
Finite and Infinite Initiatives in the Business World
The concept of Sinek’s book revolves around James Carse’s 1986 book called “Finite and Infinite Games.” Using anecdotes and real-world examples, Sinek explains that a manager’s goal should not be fixing rules, setting hard objectives, and using known players, but to have rules that are changeable, using known and unknown players. The objective is not to meet goals and complete objectives, it is to keep playing the game.
In terms of leadership, Sinek makes the point that if an organizational goal or mark is not hit (say, within the quarter or year – whenever the timeframe of the goal is set) leadership members must remember that a ‘long game’ is being played. “The minute you have senior executives obsessing about the short game,” says Sinek, “the game is lost.”
Throughout the book, Sinek identifies five leadership practices to adopt an infinite mindset:
- Advance in Just Cause
- Build Trusting Teams
- Study your Worthy Rivals
- Prepare for Existential Flexibility
- Demonstrate the Courage to Lead
For each of these steps, Sinek lays out an actionable path that organizations can implement within their leadership team. If you are looking to broaden your leadership horizons and keep your company on a modern path, this is a great read to add to your list.