The Infinite Game – a military perspective


Interesting article in the IoD magazine about Simon Sinek’s latest book ‘The Infinite Game’.

He argues that leaders need to switch from a finite mindset (thinking only within their own period of tenure and considering a business to be like a game with a set series of boundaries, team size, duration, pitch area, outcome etc) to infinite mindset (thinking beyond their tenure and where the rules are vague/unknown and the objective is to keep playing as long as possible). 

An infinite game has no end and no winner; Sinek argues that is closer to the reality of business but most leaders play the finite game.

It got me thinking about military command and how a military commander’s mindset might be different from a business-focused (finite) mindset.

As the Captain of the ship I knew my period in command was finite; I also knew that the ship’s continued success needed to be infinite. Yes, I wanted the ship to be successful while I was there but the over-riding aim was for the ‘bigger picture’ continued development of the ship and team.  A lot of my time was spent putting in place plans for events I knew would happen after I left.

Question – does the military leadership model tend more naturally towards the infinite game?  How might that mindset benefit ex-military led companies?


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