Characteristics of a work culture led by finite minded leaders


Organizations led by finite minded leaders are characterized by work environments where people are pitted against one another to meet short term quarterly targets.

These are leaders who give the utmost importance to performers who are high on IQ even if they are not team players and lack EQ.

Such an environment is prone to ethical fading and is where people resort to unfair means and shortcuts to meet unfair targets.

Ultimately such leaders who orchestrate such unhealthy work environments resort to layoffs by putting profit before people.

Adopted from Simon Sinek’s book The Infinite Game

Why did GE need a $300 billion bail out in 2008?


Though once upon a time GE was regarded as an iconic company with time its value drastically went down and eventually it came to a stage where the US government had to resort to a $300 billion bail out to revive GE during the 2008 financial crisis.

If we do a prognosis we will find the reason due to the once iconic Jack Welch leadership style.

Jack Welch was a perfect example of a finite minded leader who believed in quick short term oriented results.There were only two metrics he followed to judge people – Performance and Potential(Future performance) with no regards to TRUST or character.

The culture nurtured by him at GE had people pitted against each other , where people lacked trust and were demotivated.

In due course of time the short sighted structure built by Jack Welch collapsed since the primary emphasis was never “Will” of people but was always profits before people.

Adopted from Simon Sinek’s book The Infinite Game

What kind of an environment gives rise to Finite Minded Leaders?


In a culture dominated by intense pressure to meet quarterly or annual targets , too many leaders value high performers with little consideration of whether others can TRUST them or not.

Such finite minded leaders to meet their targets are prepared to sacrifice the work environment to nurture more selfish , narrow minded and non-trustworthy individuals.

Hence the environment where people are pitted against each other lacks trust and is one where people feel demotivated and becomes depressing with time.

These are primary reasons why we find so many finite minded leaders nurturing such low trust work environments all over the world.

Adopted from Simon Sinek’s book The Infinite Game

Shareholder Primacy versus finite mindset


Milton Friedman’s shareholder primacy theory requiring every company to give primary focus and attention to direct their attention to safeguard the interests of the shareholders is the primary reason that has given rise to advent of finite mindset and hence finite minded leaders.

When the Resources i.e. financial metrics with respect to shareholders need to be given primary importance CEO’s often tend to prioritize them at the cost of human resources by means of layoffs.

In such a scenario the environment becomes filled with mistrust when employees are pitted against each other for attainment of short term targets.

Hence Milton Friedman’s theory has been the primary reasons we have more finite minded leaders who care for short term benefits prioritizing profit over people.

Adopted from Simon Sinek’s book The Infinite Game

A finite minded leader shows a bias for SCORE


A finite minded leader tends to show a bias for the SCORE.

As a result , they often opt for choices that demonstrates results in a short time frame , even if doing do REGRETTABLY and comes at the cost of people.

These are leaders who during HARD times look at layoffs as the first resort.

Adopted from Simon Sinek’s book The Infinite Game

Why was Robert Nardelli known as “little jack”?


Robert Nordelli emulated Jack Welch at GE and this was to such an extent that he came to be known as “Little Jack.”

Like Jack Welch’s finite mindset centered on performance over trust , he too followed the same principles for getting results.

When he was passed over for the CEO of GE he joined as the CEO of Home Depot.There as well his relentless drive for cost cutting all but destroyed the innovation based culture at Home Depot.Eventually he made way for an infinite minded leader at Home Depot.

This has been adopted from Simon Sinek’s book The Infinite Game.

Finite minded leaders fear disruption


Leaders playing with a finite mindset often miss the opportunity to use a disruptive event in their industry to clarify their CAUSE.

Instead they double down on the finite game and simply start copying what the other players are doing with the hope that it will work for them too.

Think about Blackberry and how the company capsized when tried to copy Apple.

Adopted from Simon Sinek’s book The Infinite Game

Seven Deadly Flaws of ‘Carrot & Stick” Method


The seven deadly flaws of the “Carrot and Stick” method are:

  1. They can extinguish INTRINSIC MOTIVATION
  4. They can crowd out GOOD BEHAVIOR
  5. They can encourage cheating , shortcuts and unethical behavior
  6. They can become addictive
  7. They can foster short term thinking

Adopted from the book “Drive” by Daniel Pink

Why is it harder to put people over resources?


Will is intangible and entails motivating and inspiring the feelings of people so that they give off their best at the workplace.

Resources or profits on the other hand is easier to measure , tangible and relates to the financial metrics that contribute to the health of an organization.

Focusing on Resources leads to benefits in the short term and hence finite minded short sighted leaders sacrifice people for resources to show profitability to shareholders.

The harder aspect wherein focus on people leads to satisfied customers and hence profits is not something for the faint hearted. This is why the true visionaries focus on this for realization of long term benefits and the benefit of the entire ecosystem.

Adopted from Simon Sinek’s book The Infinite Game