010-2020 The Infinite Game

Title: The Infinite Game

Author: Simon Sinek

Good day fellow readers,

this is my first read of a book published by this author. Before, I had only watched a clip on Facebook where he was interviewed on a show where he discussed something about why the young generation today was failing with something. That some will blame it on the parents for not having raised their children the right way. But that in fact it wasn’t the kids or the parents who were to blame, because we are all growing up in a different kind of society (where technology dominates more of our lives than when our parents were raised) and that the parents therefore didn’t have an idea how to raise them in such a different society.

It was something great to listen to, and when I find it I’ll add the link right here.

Anyway, coming back to this book, I already had a good opinion of the author and was therefore excited for this newly released book of his.

The book first introduces you to the concept of ‘The Infinite Game’. A ‘Game’ that is actually our daily life among everyone else in society. Whereas a normal game as we know it has a time zone, a set of rules all players have to follow, and then at the end of the game one player wins. The Infinite Game is different because it is not bound by time or rules or players.

Then it jumps to the next page, where he wants to make you familiar with the concept in the business world. Since the business world is ongoing, it represents one such ‘Infinite Game’. There are new players that can enter at any time, and others that will leave if they don’t adapt. The way you conduct business is somewhat regulated by the laws of the country, however, they don’t restrict you or direct you on how and what you may sell…….. Are you seeing the pattern?

Next we’re getting into the real good stuff on what the book is really on to.

If you haven’t noticed it before, I hope you will notice it after this. Companies have for a very long time focused very much attention on solely making profits and high returns for their companies, more specifically their shareholders (the owners of the companies). However, there is a shift that has been going on for while in the business world. Companies are changing their business in that they have come to see it as a social responsibility to give back as well to the community, and not only create profits for their owners.

Have you noticed any of these social projects? One big one is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It’s quite a large one, but not the only one. Other smaller companies are also doing their part by doing community service and teaching children from poorer communities with some school subjects, or with computer technology.

If you ask me, this shift is one that comes at a good point in time since in many countries the inequality gap has advanced much too far, and in poorer countries the living conditions are truly troubling. So, companies that have made the decision to include such projects in their business model are true models for new entrants and current players of our age.

But, how could a company implement such a change in their business?

Step in, the book.

The book gives you great suggestions that the leadership teams can look at and think through, and use to develop one of their own social responsibility projects. You need to consider all of them, and in the order that the author has listed them, because I believe it’s crucial to clearly understanding how each of them comes together.

They are: 1) Find a Just Cause ; 2) Building Trusting Teams ; 3) Finding a Worthy Rival ; 4) Being open to a Existential Flex and 5) Having the Courage to Lead.

I don’t want to give too much away what each one is about, but I’ll give you few small bits to hopefully get you interested in this book.

  • Finding a Just Cause – this incorporates that your business doesn’t operate solely for the purpose of producing and selling products, but that generating money should be an enabler for you to be able to give back to society.
  • Building Trusting Teams – This concerns working with people who will help you advance the Just Cause, who have a stronger interest in helping the firm to achieve its goals than only receiving their monthly paycheck.
  • Finding a Worthy Rivals – Here, it concerns itself with finding a company, not to measure yourself against financially, but who challenge you to up your performance.
  • Being open to Existential Flex – This factor links closely with the last factor, because it is a one that can be quite significant. When your business is conducted, but slowly goes off the path that follows a Just Cause, your firm needs to consider changing its conduct to come back to the path it had initially laid out to follow.
  • Having Courage to Lead – This factor brings all of the factors together, because it is the leadership team that need to make decisions to keep up on the path of the Just Cause.

I hope that slowly more businesses will change their business models to all incorporate some social responsibility in their business conduct, and that more of society can benefit and maybe even advance to something better.

Summary:

This book introduces a powerful shift in the business environment that will hopefully make a lasting impact on all our societies. When a government is overwhelmed or not doing their work the private sector is showing that they can make an impact from their side.

The guidelines introduced by this book are true value adders, and are something that other businesses could consider looking at if they wish to implement such a project for their firm. The book for me gets a rating worth 4.8/5.

Until next time, happy reading!