• Edwin and George

Thinking about your Career Plan? Play the Infinite Game

‘You are then less concerned with the actions of other people, because you have plenty to do yourself. Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today.’

Jordan Peterson attracts attention.

Professor of Psychology at the University of Toronto and leading author, Peterson’s new book, ’12 Rules for Life,’ hit number one in the non-fiction charts.

Peterson’s recent interview with Cathy Newman for UK Channel 4 news has been downloaded 7.7 million times. His approach is a model on how to deal with a difficult interview: keep relaxed, answer the questions specifically, give examples and don’t give in to pressure.

Of Peterson’s 12 rules, we really like number 4: ‘Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today.’ It can be a good rule for people to use to manage their careers. It’s like an idea that Simon Sinek speaks about.

In his speeches, Sinek discusses Game Theory; a concept to help decision-making used mainly in economics. In Game Theory there are two kinds of game:

  • The Finite Game: there are known rules, a set number of players, a time limit and a result. Cricket is a Finite Game – Steve Smith doesn’t plead with the umpires at the end of the test match for Australia to have an extra innings if they’ve lost.

  • The Infinite Game: the rules aren’t set, the number of players is unknown, there’s no time limit and participants drop out when they no longer have the resources to play. The objective is to stay in the game as long as possible.

Sinek shows that Business is an Infinite Game. It fits all the criteria and the companies we truly admire know they’re playing the Infinite Game. They make decisions based on the long term:

  • ‘Wall Street is in the business of making money between now and next Tuesday. We’re in the business of building an organisation we hope will be here in 50-years.’ Jim Senegal, Founder of Costco

  • ‘What we’re really focussed on is thinking long term.’ Jeff Bezos, Amazon

The problem is that most businesses are, in truth, playing a Finite-type Game.

They plan short-term, they look to their next set of quarterly figures and spend a lot of time trying get one-up on their competition. They rarely look to the long-term.

Companies playing the Infinite Game have a totally different approach. Their competition hardly matters. In the short-term, the Infinite payer knows that there will be times when they’ll win against their competition and times when they’ll lose. But, they are building a business long-term and have a continuous improvement mentality.

The true tests for them are along the lines of: are we moving closer each day to our vision, are we giving better service to customers today than yesterday and are we making a growing contribution to society? Sinek says that the Apple executives he knows really do wake up each day asking how can they make their company better today than it was yesterday.

The fact is, for a company playing the Infinite Game, the only competitor that matters is itself.

As for business, as for the individual.

Our advice: when thinking about your career: use the principles of the companies playing the Infinite Game. The Costcos, Amazons and Apples of the World.

You are your competition so don’t compare yourself unnecessarily with others.

The questions are: will I have more valuable knowledge tomorrow compared to today, will I grow the key skills that I’II need to succeed over the next 6-months and will I be able to make a greater contribution to my company then compared to now? And then, how will I achieve this progress?

By taking this approach, you’ll give yourself the best possible chance to stay in the game the longest; you’re taking the steps to future proof your career. Sinek adds, ‘the real joy of career fulfilment comes from advancement not comparison.’

Final words to Jordan Peterson:

‘You are then less concerned with the actions of other people, because you have plenty to do yourself. Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today.’

#career #planning #hr #adelaidejobs #recruitment

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