We don’t get to ignore Business Agility
29 April 2019
Posted by: Tamsin Fox-Davies
In his interview with Inc.com about his book The Infinite Game, Simon Sinek says:
We are all unwitting players in the Infinite Game. You don't get to choose whether you obey gravity today or not, you have to work within its bounds, and the Infinite Game is the same way.
The Infinite Game that he's talking about, in my opinion, is a view of Business Agility.
It's about how everything keeps changing and that we just must work with that - as individuals, business leaders and organisations.
Sound familiar? That’s the environment that means that being more agile is not optional any more.
Sinek posits that there is no such thing as winning in business, because it's not a finite game, so there can be no absolute winner. You can't 'be the best' at business. One business will be doing best today, but it will be someone else tomorrow.
It’s the same with Business Agility, because agility means that you are changing and adapting to events. It will mean times when you’re not winning, because it takes time and energy to pivot and transform.
I’d like to think that it also gives you permission not to be focussed on ‘winning’ the whole time. You (and your business) can focus on what Sinek talks about as a longer-term strategy of ‘leading in the infinite game’.
What’s the lesson?
My top takeaways from what Sinek says about how we lead in the infinite game of business have a lot in common with principles of the agile manifesto and also the agile leadership and agile culture work of the Agile Business Consortium.
The top two learning points for playing the infinite game that I took away are:
- Focus on people – you need the people in your organisation to be adaptable and flexible high performers. That doesn’t happen on its own though. You need to support and develop them to make it real, and foster a culture of learning and growth.
- Be ethical – Making the proverbial ‘quick buck’ normally occurs at the detriment of others and is short-term tactic. Long-term business sustainability will only really work if you operate in an ethical way, treating customers and suppliers fairly, and being dedicated to providing good value.
For me, both of those things are key to becoming truly agile. Agility is a long-term strategy. To use Sinek’s terminology, Business Agility is an ‘infinite game’, and you can’t ignore it.
If you’d like to watch the full video interview with Simon Sinek, it’s available here: https://simonsinek.com/discover/simon-sinek-explains-what-almost-every-leader-gets-wrong/.
About the author
Tamsin Fox-Davies is our Head of Brand. As well as directing brand strategy for the organisation, she leads Generation Agile – the Consortium’s campaign to embed agile skills into education for all ages and create a generation of agile talent.
When not at work, Tamsin is an avid reader, enthusiastic amateur gardener, and can’t stop collecting rescue dogs.