The benefits of an infinite mindset
Do you talk about outplaying the competition? Beating your opponents? Securing wins?
It’s common to treat running your business like a sports match. Where success – and failure – can be measured against set parameters, goals and metrics. But is this ‘finite’ way of thinking really the best way to sustainable success?
In The Infinite Game, Simon Sinek thinks not, he says:
“The true value of an organization cannot be measured by the success it has achieved based on a set of arbitrary time frames. The true value of an organization is measured by the desire others have to contribute to that organization’s ability to keep succeeding, not just the time they are there but well beyond their tenure.”
So with an infinite mindset, your team will be concerned with the long game. Not racking up the quick victories and filling the trophy cabinet. Not constantly looking to be the winner – and making someone else the loser.
But why? What are the benefits of adopting this way of thinking?
The problem, or rather the reality of business – and lots of other areas of our lives – is that unlike a in sports where you have agreed rules, measures of success and positive and negative outcomes, what ‘success’ looks like could be any number of things.
The goalposts constantly shift, the finish line doesn’t really exist, the rules are changeable, and the players on your team and the opposition are changeable too. So in the end, no one really ‘wins’.
And when you’re operating with a finite mindset and no one wins, it results in a decline in trust, cooperation and innovation.
When you lead with an infinite mindset, playing the infinite game, we can change the rules, evolve our strategies and learn and grow as a team – rather than just trying to win for ourselves.
As Sinek puts it:
“A finite-minded leader works to get something from their employees, customers and shareholders in order to meet arbitrary metrics, the infinite-minded leader works to ensure that their employees, customers and shareholders remain inspired to continue contributing with their effort, their wallets and their investments.”
When you have a business that is something worthy of being carried on by others, not simply a vehicle for personal wins, you will inspire people to join you, stay with you, and support you.
Five ways to lead with an infinite mindset
Find your just cause
This is about your purpose, the cause that people will sacrifice themselves for and stay with your business for. You need a future vision that’s about more than the products or services you sell or purely financial gains.
An environment of trust makes people perform better and enjoy their jobs. It’s the job of leaders to create a culture where people can ask questions, admit mistakes and share ideas.
Co-exist with rivals
When you stop trying to crush worthy competitors you can use that energy to motivate you and your team to continually improve. Trying to beat competitors is a waste of resource, instead admire them and use them as inspiration to raise your game.
As we’ve seen over the past 12 months the rules may change, it might seem like the whole game has shifted and you need to be willing to make strategic shifts to stay in it.
Find the courage to be a long-term leader
As the name suggests having an infinite mindset isn’t about overnight success or immediate results. Sinek likens it to the gym – you’re never done, you’re always in the maintenance phase, but when you eventually look back, you’ll not just see achievements but a legacy that’s bigger than yourself.
Enjoy the journey
Not just in business but in many aspects of life, we’re often too busy looking for the instant win to enjoy the journey. If you’re focusing too much on the final destination there’s a good chance you’ll miss all the experiences along the way. The positives and negatives that we can learn from and become better versions of ourselves. By changing the way we play the game we can be in it for a good time, and a long time too.