Playing the Infinite Game in a Healthy Organization Reaching for the Desired Future

At the EntreLeadership Summit (@EntreLeadership) of 2019, three of the speakers, Dr. Henry Cloud, Patrick Lencioni, and Simon Sinek spoke and their messages really coalesced into a unified message. As I listened and reflected to each of them, they were some of the best times that I’d heard them speak. Each presentation was excellent in [...]

At the EntreLeadership Summit (@EntreLeadership) of 2019, three of the speakers, Dr. Henry Cloud, Patrick Lencioni, and Simon Sinek spoke and their messages really coalesced into a unified message. As I listened and reflected to each of them, they were some of the best times that I’d heard them speak. Each presentation was excellent in its own right but I knew there was something more. I felt that put together, they would form part of a larger better message.

Below I’ve laid out a brief of each main point of each presentation. At the end, I then put together a matrix of how they all inter-related.

Dr. Henry Cloud (@DrHenryCloud)

I’ve heard Henry Cloud speak a number of times. This was, by far, the best presentation that I’ve heard him deliver. His topic was Desired Future:Vision or Fantasy.

The desired future of an organization is the compelling vision that the leader of the organization lays out for the team. There are Five Elements of a Desired Future:

1. A Strong Vision
2. Engaging the Talent
3. Executing a Strategy
4. Measurement and Accountability
5. Fix and Adapt to What I Find

To accomplish the desired future, there are several questions that must be asked:

  • Does everyone understand why we are here? (How compelling is our vision?)
  • Who is around the table who doesn’t fit the future?
  • How far do I let people stretch versus letting them down with the vision?

Patrick Lencioni (@patricklencioni)

Patrick Lencioni is one of my absolute favorite speakers. For my money, I would like to hear him speak at every leadership event I attend. He always brings something fresh for his audience. This session was no exception as he spoke on the four disciplines of a healthy organization which include:

1. Build a Cohesive Leadership Team
2. Create Clarity
3. Over-communicate Clarity
4. Reinforce Clarity

As you can see, clarity is important.

Simon Sinek

This was the first time that I had really heard Simon Sinek speak beyond a clip here or there on social media. He spoke on the concept of the Infinite Game. In the infinite game, the goal is to outlast your competition. He shared that the Vietnam war was an example of the infinite game where the U.S. lost the will to keep playing. In the infinite game, we consider how people achieve not just that they achieve. The infinite game has these characteristics:

  • known and unknown players
  • rules can change
  • new players can join
  • play to stay playing

The Infinite Game is what we do in our businesses, educational institutions, non-profits, etc. We “play to stay playing” and “outlast our competition.”
To lead within the Infinite Game, Sinek related that we must have the following things:

1. Just Cause: A cause so just you’d be willing to sacrifice your own interests to advance it.
2. Trusting Teams: Companies must trust their employees/team.
3. Worthy Rival: A worthy rival is one that shows you your weaknesses.
4. Capacity for Existential Flexibility: Flexibility to profoundly affect your organization (a profound shift in strategy and course).5. Courage to Lead: Willingness to recognize that the rules to win and the game we play are not necessarily aligned.

When you put all three of these addresses together, there are some interesting interactions. A Courageous Leader with a Just Cause in hand enters the Infinite Game yielding a Strong Vision supported by Clear Strategy. As a next logical step, the Courageous Leader Engages the Talent, Builds a Cohesive Leadership Team which yields Trusting Teams. With a Trusting and Trustworthy Team, Clear Strategy is implemented, over-communicated, reinforced, measured, made accountable, and updated (sometimes drastically) based on the measurement and the Worthy Rival showing improvements needed.

Free Download

Your Online Education Checklist

  • Discover what's holding you back from having profitable online programming
  • Learn the actions you need to take to attract more students
  • Avoid the common roadblocks that are the difference between success and failure in online programming
EE Assets EE Assets
Post thumbnail

Learning from the Negative

I can’t tell you how many times that I’ve had this conversation as a parent with my children.  Sometimes it has been about examples that are in front of my children as teachers or leaders. . .sometimes it’s about me.  I tell them as we’re reflecting on the situation and can find very little positive […]

Post thumbnail

Race to the Finish

In our household, the end of the year can be an extremely busy time (I’m sure we’re the only ones, right?!?). Not only do we have the normal holiday rush, my wife’s company often has rush work at the end of the year. As a result, there is always the likelihood that she will be […]

Post thumbnail

You Don’t Have to Know It All (and you can’t know it all)

One maxim that I share with team members here at InterLearn is that “you can tell clients that you don’t know.” That is, I want them to know that they don’t have to know it all.   According to some, the human knowledge base is currently doubling every 12 – 13 months.  The expectation is that […]

Post thumbnail

The Truths We Ignore about Faculty (and how to embrace those Truths)

I’ve seen it time and again…examples of exceptional teachers in higher education and some dismal failures.  We look to faculty to be the deliverers of our message and mission to the students at our institutions.  We hire them educated in their field of study and ask them to pass on the body of knowledge to […]

Post thumbnail

The Pessimist’s Dilemma

For most of my life, I’ve been an optimist.  In high school, I was even given a character award for it.  As an entrepreneur, I’m a rugged optimist…I think my ideas are good enough and better than what I see out in the field. . .and will succeed.  And if those ideas don’t work, I’m […]

Post thumbnail

Taking Back the Power

I recently had an interesting experience with my son.  He’d been participating in a club at school where the leader (a staff member) was generally demanding (and somewhat oppressive in my humble opinion) of those involved.  Meetings had been scheduled for every morning before school and a strict regimen was required of those involved.  For […]