I know that Simon Sinek is polarizing in some ways and, therefore, not always appreciated as an example. Nevertheless, his lectures on the aspect of an “infinite mindset” have – from my perspective – a valid point.
In my professional career, I have, unfortunately, too often experienced people with leadership responsibility who mainly take a short-term perspective on their daily activities. That means short-term goals, short-term KPIs, and quick successes. At the same time, I have also experienced what happens in organizations when decision-making anxiety and a need for security meet a purely long-term perspective. In the corporate context, from my perspective, a suitable balance of both is needed: (short-term) goals oriented to the current (market) environment and learning culture oriented with a long-term and sustainable perspective. This is precisely where I consider Simon Sinek’s talks to be really exemplifying:
Simon Sinek – The Infinite Game: How to lead in the 21st century
Simon Sinek – Business is an infinte game
Organizations should, therefore, ensure that the short-term and long-term perspectives are considered. One model that I consider useful is the (Viable Systems Model). It helps to check the structures of an organization and the processes established in these structures for criteria like completeness, established processes, etc. From this, it can then be deduced whether the organization has structural potential. Then, matching this potential with the observable challenges in the organization and deriving possible change impulses from this has a promising chance of overcoming the challenges.
What I have also experienced is the focus of people with leadership responsibility on urgent issues. From my observation, this contradicts a long-term perspective and makes it enormously difficult to take this perspective. Stephen R. Covey describes the resulting dilemma in his book “The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People” (Stephen R. Covey, Sonngard Dressler). He writes that managers should focus not on the urgent (and therefore short-term) operational issues but on the important issues, which represent a broader time frame. The urgent issues should be delegated within the hierarchy. This often makes it possible for them to be dealt with by those with the greatest competence in this area, and it also creates space to focus on the actual core function of a leadership role – namely, to ensure orientation. Through the clarity in one’s actions and the necessary clear connection to the long-term perspective of a corporate context, an environment reinforces an “infinite mindset”. Furthermore, it ensures that everyone gets in contact with certain aspects of this environment daily. It thus becomes part of the actual corporate culture.
Many other aspects of the book, such as a holistic view of people in the work context, are beyond the scope of this post. In any case, the book is also a clear reading recommendation.