Business is an infinite game

By Charlie Britten
28 Nov 2019

Business may seem like a game, but according to ‘infinite’ theory, it’s not one with a final whistle. 

Imagine any game and the reality will be the same: whether it is the final whistle or hooter, the finish line, the last run or wicket, or checkmate: In each case there is a point where the contest is over and the winner declared.

Of course, for any competitive player, the next target will soon emerge: The next game, race or championship will be the focus until retirement. There is a bigger picture.

Is business the same? Are there short-term goals, the equivalent of 90 minutes on a football field or three sets of tennis, or is it about a bigger picture, of being top of the rankings but knowing someone is always going to come along to challenge for top spot?

Why should we not think of business as a finite game?

According to LinkedIn guest speaker Simon Sinek, business and the marketing efforts that go with it are part of an ‘infinite game’, one that never ends. This should shape perspectives and approaches to success and sustainability, he argues, but the reality is that most firms do not think this way. Theirs is so often an attitude of short-termism, like a sports team looking to achieve the ‘finite goal’ of winning today without a clear strategy to maintain success in the longer run. 



What should your priorities be?

The question, therefore, is what matters most to a firm:

  • To satisfy management and shareholders / partners right now by prioritising the bottom line this month, quarter or year, to the exclusion of any other thoughts.
  • To focus chiefly on short-term goals with a limited focus on longer-term planning, chiefly aimed at repeating the same short-term success again and again.
  • To be prepared to play the infinite game and worry less about the bottom line now, in the knowledge that through innovation and investment, the gains will be greater in the longer run.

If innovation becomes ingrained in your company culture, you can develop the sort of approach that will aid longer-term success. It is not just a case of postponing today’s gain until tomorrow; it is about an attitude that will go on innovating and being ready to change.  

How can BeUniqueness help?

At BeUniqueness, we appreciate that by being innovation, especially in your marketing strategy , your firm will give itself the best chance of succeeding in the infinite game. It will never ‘win’ because the game does not end. But it can stay in the game for far longer than might otherwise be the case. 

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