The premise of this book is the distinction between “finite” games that exist for a fixed period of time and have a winner and a loser, and “infinite” games, which last indefinitely and have no winner: there is only ahead and behind. The author suggests that this is mindset, which influences behaviour and decisions.
Organisations which adopt a finite mindset seek short term gain, but this comes at a cost. They tend to lag behind in innovation, discretionary effort and, ultimately, performance. By contrast, leaders who embrace an infinite mindset build stronger, more innovative and more inspiring organisations. Their people trust one another and their leaders. They have the resilience to thrive in an ever changing world, and their success is enduring.
The book has considerable significance for schools, and for school sport. The short term aim of winning matches does not build a stable programme. Regarding opponents as “worthy rivals” allows a lasting collaboration to mutual benefit, which enables the system to thrive and maintain stability. This approach makes the sector better, from which everyone gains, rather than the pursuit of shirt term victory, and the expense of others.
“The Infinite Game” will be of interest to educationalists looking to lead their schools or departments to lasting achievement, which is never completed. There is no winner in the game of education, because there is no final whistle.
Also recommended by the same author:
“Leaders Eat Last” and “Start with Why”