Sinek has the 3rd most watched talk at TED.com and is the author of multiple best selling books including Start With Why (global best seller), Leaders Eat Last (New York Times and Wall Street Journal best seller), Together is Better (New York Times and Wall Street Journal best seller) and FindYour Why.
Finite vs. Infinite
Finite games are played in order to be won which is when they end.
Infinite games are played so you can keep playing.
America was a finite player against an infinite player in fighting the Vietnam War which cost 53,000 American lives vs. 3.7 million Vietnamese lives.
Our only competitor as an infinite player is ourselves.
How do we lead an infinite game?
- A Just Cause
- Trusting Teams
- Worthy Rival
- Existential Flexibility
- Courage to Lead
A Just Cause
A just cause is a cause that is so just that we would be willing to sacrifice for the advancement of this just cause.
We may never actually achieve this, but we will die trying.
Must be resilient, inclusive so that anyone can contribute, and must be service oriented.
Case Study: The American Declaration of Independence
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”
Effective leaders create the environment where people can become their best – a place where they feel the freedom to be honest when they need help.
People who do not feel safe in their job hurt the customer and the company for which they work.
An example of the finite game within the infinite game – getting travelers onto a flight in time is finite but keeping the company going is infinite.
A Worthy Rival
Competing with someone not against them.
In the infinite game, adversaries are acknowledged and treated with respect, but our success or failure isn’t measured against them. Ultimately we are competing against ourselves, and our success or failure should be measured against our just cause.
Case Study: Apple with Steve Jobs in the early days
In a conversation with an Apple Executive on making a radical design change on the Apple 3:
“We cannot make this change on the Apple 3! We will blow up our company!” – Apple Executive
“Better we blow up our company than someone else.” – Steve Jobs
This led to the Macintosh Computer
Massive pain in short run for long term benefits.
We need others to push us but we are our own competition.
We need to courage to live these out!
Our lives are finite but life is infinite.
Will we live by finite rules or the rules of the infinite game?
An infinite leader builds a healthy and strong culture so that when the leader is no longer there the culture lives on.
Hearing someone say: “I am who I am because you were in my life” is what it means to live an infinite life!
Consider: Are you playing the finite or infinite game?