Simon Sinek: Playing the infinite game

I had the distinct pleasure to listen to Simon Sinek’s keynote yesterday at WorkHuman18 by Globoforce.

I made these quick and dirty notes and publish them here for my learning, reference, and to solidify my long-term understanding. I thought you might enjoy the chance to compare your notes to mine.

If you attended this same keynote, let me know how your thoughts might differ from mine!

INFINITE VS. FINITE

Are you playing a short-term game? Or are you willing to take short-term losses to advance the cause for success in the long-term?

Think growth mindset verses fixed mindset.

WILL AND RESOURCES

The true key to success in any endeavor is to sustain the will to drive to success (and not lose steam along the way) and to maintain enough resources to get the job done.

Most lose the enthusiasm necessary to sustain the effort, and many run out of enough customers or money to get across the line in the end.

SACRIFICE FOR THE CAUSE (TO HAVE A JUST CAUSE)

Your organization must have a just cause to fight for and drive inspiration. It must be specific. It cannot be “growth,” it cannot be “to win” or to be “the best,” and it cannot be “to defeat the competition.”

Again, it must be specific.

And when you have that just cause, your people will make sacrifices to get there, and show up inspired to work.

INCENTIVIZE BEHAVIOR VS PERFORMANCE

We incentivize performance and results. Rather, we should also incentivize behavior.

We should reward devoted effort to unsuccessfully solve a problem, failure to successfully innovate, and to make honest mistakes.

Why? We want to encourage our people to try new things…to not be afraid to try, and to not hide from the potential ridicule of failure.

DISCRETION

You must free your people to use their discretion for when to make the right decision on behalf of the customer or to solve a problem.

Don’t trust your employees to follow your rules. Trust your employees to know which rules to break (and when).

HR SHOULD THINK PEOPLE FIRST, NOT EXECUTE EXECUTIVE DICTATES

HR departments spend more time executing the will of management (right or wrong), and not enough time exhibiting leadership to free and empower the people to do the important work to fight (and sacrifice for) the cause.

COMPETITION REVEALS OUR FLAWS

If you are solely focused on beating your competition, you will ultimately lose. And certainly not be inspirational.

No, the goal is to respect your competition, and learn from the things they are better at than you.

GOAL IS NOT TO BEAT THEM, BUT TO OUTLAST THEM

A nod back to having both the will and resources, again, your goal is not to directly beat your competition, but to have more will, more resources, and outlast them.

FIXED JUST CAUSE AND FLEXIBLE STRATEGY

Your just cause cannot change. It cannot be flexible. It is your purpose and destination.

But how you get there has to be flexible, adaptable to the roadblocks that will appear.

Too many organizations have a flexible just cause and will not budge on how they do things. This cannot work and leads to failure and frustration.

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Todd Schnick

Todd Schnick

Editor-In-Chief at intrepid.media
Founder and Editor-In-Chief of intrepid.MEDIA, Todd Schnick is a media + business strategist and talk show host + producer. He is a former marketing strategist, national political operative, and lobbyist. Todd has published five books, writes a business + lifestyle column, is a distance runner, and lives in Chicago with his wife Stephanie + family.
Todd Schnick
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The author

Founder and Editor-In-Chief of intrepid.MEDIA, Todd Schnick is a media + business strategist and talk show host + producer. He is a former marketing strategist, national political operative, and lobbyist. Todd has published five books, writes a business + lifestyle column, is a distance runner, and lives in Chicago with his wife Stephanie + family.

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