How can HR win the 'infinite game'?

Simon Sinek is an unshakable optimist who believes in a bright future

How can HR win the 'infinite game'?

Simon Sinek is an unshakable optimist who believes in a bright future and our ability to build it together. A TED Talk legend and world-renowned author, Simon’s message of building great leaders through communication has inspired millions across the globe.

We caught up with Stephen Shedletzky, Igniter and Head of Brand Voice at Simon’s Sinek’s company Start With Why. He’ll be our Keynote speaker at HR Leaders Summit, regaling us all with the message behind Simon’s upcoming book - The Infinite Game.

“All of Simon’s work is semiautobiographical. He made a discovery about 11 years ago on purpose – which he called the ‘WHY,” prefaced Stephen. “An opportunity presented to write his first book – Start With Why – which is a manifesto on how great leaders and organizations inspire. Simon had lost all of his own passion in his career. He discovered his WHY and his levels of passion and clarity restored and reached new heights. As we all do when we find something we love, it’s fulfilling to share it with others who could benefit.”

“As Simon’s popularity grew, he began to encounter issues in who to trust and let into his Circle of Safety,” Stephen told us. “For example, people would begin to build relationships with him, appearing to be his friend, before dropping him if a business opportunity wasn’t picked up on. These relationships weren’t genuine, they were simply transactional.”

In reaction to this came something of a Machiavellian-style novel – Leaders Eat Last - which advises leaders on how to avoid sycophantic behaviour and build genuine bonds of trust.

Simon’s third book, and the book which will be debated at the upcoming HR Leaders Summit, is called The Infinite Game.

“It really does build off his previous work, looking at purpose and trust. Though it goes further than that exploring how we can operate with purpose and values while we’re under market pressures and uncertainty. How can we live through these environmental changes when the game is still so difficult to play?”

This third installment of Sinek’s analyses Game Theory – the strategic interaction between two or more players. Something every HR leader needs to understand.

“Simon posits that there are two types of game – finite and infinite. In finite games the players are known, the rules are fixed and the objective is to win – like chess, for example.

“Infinite games have known and unknown player, the rules are changeable, and the objective is to stay in the game – there are no winners or losers. There is only ahead and behind. If you’re playing an infinite game by finite rules you will end up in quagmire.”

“Business is an infinite game. There are known and unknown competitors. The criteria for success aren’t agreed upon, there’s often no ideal model or path to follow.”

“Employers don’t end a fiscal year claiming they’ve ‘won’, do they?” asked Stephen. “No, they keep moving forward. The majority of organizations and leaders play the infinite game of business by finite rules, saying they’ve ‘beat the competition’. Finite games are important – but it’s an infinite mindset that will help you run circles around your competition.”

Want to find out how to outlast your competitors and progress in the ‘infinite game’? Make sure to catch Stephen’s mind-blowing session at HR Leaders Summit.

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