How do you win a game that has no end?
Finite games, according to James P. Carse, have known players, fixed rules and a clear end point. The winners and losers are easily identified, like in a game of football or chess.
In infinite games, like business or politics or life itself, the players come and go, the rules are changeable and there is no defined end point. There are no winners or losers in an infinite game. There is no such thing as “winning business” or “winning life,” for example, there is only ahead and behind.
The more I started to understand the difference between finite and infinite games, the more I began to see infinite games all around us. I started to see that many of the struggles that organizations face exist simply because their leaders were playing in an infinite game with a finite mindset. These organizations tend to lag behind in innovation, discretionary effort, morale and ultimately performance.
The leaders who embrace an infinite mindset, in stark contrast, build stronger, more innovative, more inspiring organizations. Their people trust one another and their leaders. They have the resilience to thrive in an ever-changing world, while their competitors fall by the wayside. Ultimately, they are the ones who lead the rest of us into the future.
In START WITH WHY, I wanted to show the value of starting with purpose in all we do. In LEADERS EAT LAST, I made a case for how leaders can build trust by creating Circles of Safety. Now, in this new book, I attempt to offer a framework to help us better navigate the game in which we are all players: The Infinite Game.
Read more in The Infinite Game. Now available!