Back in 2019, copies of Simon Sinek’s book The Infinite Game started showing up in the mail slots of the people on my floor at SAS. Simon Sinek was a new name to me at the time but I learned that he had written two other books – Start With Why and Leaders Eat Last.

Based solely on the titles of his previous books I was immediately interested in what he had to say. Then I started hearing Oliver Schabenberger mention the concept of The Infinite Game in both external and internal talks and in his LinkedIn posts. If that wasn’t enough, Simon Sinek keynoted Virtual SAS Global Forum 2020 last month and engaged in a “fireside chat” with Oliver.

Of course by now I have my own copy of The Infinite Game and many of the pages are already dogeared indicating passages that resonated with me. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the book, here’s how it’s described on Amazon and on the author’s web site:

  • “How do we win a game that has no end? Finite games, like football or chess, have known players, fixed rules and a clear endpoint. The winners and losers are easily identified. Infinite games, games with no finish line, like business or politics, or life itself, have players who come and go. The rules of an infinite game are changeable while infinite games have no defined endpoint. There are no winners or losers—only ahead and behind.Leaders who embrace an infinite mindset build stronger, more innovative, more inspiring organizations. Ultimately, they are the ones who lead us into the future.” [Amazon]
  • “The more Simon started to understand the difference between finite and infinite games, the more he began to see infinite games all around us. He started to see that many of the struggles that organizations face exist simply because their leaders were playing with a finite mindset in a game that has no end. The leaders who embrace an infinite mindset, in stark contrast, build stronger, more innovative, more inspiring organizations. They have the resilience to thrive in an ever-changing world, while their competitors fall by the wayside. Ultimately, those who adopt an infinite mindset are the ones who lead the rest of us into the future. The question is, how do we play to succeed in the game we’re in?” []

According to Simon, there are five essential practices for any leader who wants to adopt an infinite mindset:

  1. Advance a Just Cause
  2. Build Trusting Teams
  3. Study Your Worthy Rivals
  4. Prepare for Existential Flexibility
  5. Demonstrate the Courage to Lead

I consider myself blessed to work for a company that not only has an Infinite Game mindset but that is committed to Data For Good, a movement which encourages using data in meaningful ways to solve humanitarian issues around poverty, health, human rights, education and the environment. If you go to the SAS website you’ll see numerous examples of analytics being used to do important things that help humanity such as respond faster to disaster relief, evolve treatments for cancer patients, and protect the Amazon rainforest. I see a lot of commonality between Data For Good and Simon’s passion and optimism around Just Causes.

For those of you who have read the book you know that there are five standards for a Just Cause. It may not surprise you that I’m convinced that providing clean, affordable, reliable, and safe electricity to every human being on this planet is a Just Cause.

For those of you who haven’t read the book, I’ll be writing a series of articles like this one over the coming weeks in which I’ll go into detail on Simon Sinek’s definition of a Just Cause. In those articles I’ll share my thoughts on why global access to clean, affordable, reliable, and safe electricity is not only a Just Cause but a noble one as well.


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