Making Sense of The Infinite Game

Thinking Out Loud – Episode 20

This is the twentieth episode in a series called Thinking Out Loud. In these videos, Armando Lanuti, the President of Creative Works, shares some of his thoughts on business, leadership, growth, operations, and anything else on his mind. Below is a transcript of some of the points he discusses in the video.

Hey everybody.

I want to talk to you today about one of my new favorite books, “The Infinite Game” by Simon Sinek.

If you’re in business, I highly recommend you read this book.

Its basic concept is this idea that there are two types of games in the world. There’s a finite game and there’s an infinite game.

In the finite game, it’s similar to sports, and the everyday world we live in. You have a known beginning and a known end. You have known rules. You have a clear scoreboard that everybody can see at any given point in time. And you have known competition. And your goal at the end of the day is to win.

I’m lining up on the football field, across from the person in front of me. And I’ve got to win that matchup in the trenches. The quarterback’s gotta throw it, receiver’s gotta catch it. You know what the score is at the end of the game.

That said, that is not how business is played. There is no score to win at the end of the game, because there is no end of the game. It is infinite.

It has a known beginning, when you started your business, but there’s a lot of differences, even beyond that. The rules can change at any given point in time.

We’re all dealing with things in the economy right now. And with trade and other things, it can be affecting you both directly and indirectly in your business.

You can have known and unknown competition. You might know about the guy across town already that you’re competing with on some of your attractions. But you may not know about the guy that’s going to trade shows and events that’s trying to learn about how to become your competition. He could be completely off of your radar.

Or an entirely new product might come out that your competition buys before you do. And again, you don’t know that that’s going to happen before it happens.

So there’s a little bit of a difference. And with that difference, your goal in the infinite game is to play forever. And so you need to look at how do I set myself up as a business owner to play the infinite game. And how do I make sure I’m not making finite game decisions. You may be at different points “winning”, but that may not be forever.

There are gonna be points where you’re gonna be winning. There are points where you’re gonna be losing. But as long as you’re able to wake up that next day and still be in the game, that is your goal.

And an easy way to think about that for those of us that have been around for a little while think about something as simple as Blockbuster and Netflix.

Blockbuster was the dominant player. And at no point would they have ever thought that they could be taken down in the video rental business.

But as technology changed, this small time player called Netflix, who came out with this idea about renting DVDs to you, is now the largest video content provider outside of Google and YouTube. And Blockbuster is no longer.

So make sure that you are always trying to keep this eye on existential flexibility. How do I make sure that I will be relevant tomorrow, just as I am today.

Thanks and we’ll talk soon.

For more business and leadership tips, follow Armando Lanuti on Facebook and LinkedIn.