Doing good first and then making money

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Well intended finite minded leaders often have the perspective of “making money to do good.”

An infinite perspective on service however is : “Doing good first and then making money”

The order of information brings out the true intention and separates an infinite minded leader from that of a finite minded leader.

Adopted from Simon Sinek’s book The Infinite Game

What caused GE’s downfall ?

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GE’s fall in market capitalization over time is not something that should surprise us.

Jack Welch the CEO of GE loved playing the “finite game” with most emphasis given to short term performance and financial numbers.

Gradually this finite mindset , with the metrics focused on performance , pitted the individual employees against one another.The work culture started deteriorating and in turn employees lost faith in the work culture.

This was inevitable keeping in mind that the game of business is an “infinite one” with employees as the drivers of growth and success.

Had it not been for the $139 bail out given to GE by the US Government in 2008 , the once iconic company would have been history by now.

Simon Sinek in his book titled “The Infinite Game” outlines the finite mindset of Jack Welch and how it eroded the work culture of GE and hence led to the downfall of the once iconic organization , in the long run.

Please find below the links that highlight the shortsightedness of Jack Welch as a leader that has landed GE in a quagmire.

Source – theweek.com

https://theweek.com/articles/761357/fall-ge

Source – foxnews.com

https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/general-electric-the-worst-bailout-in-the-world

What if Kodak had listened to Steve Sasson?

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Steve Sasson is an American engineer who in as early as 1974 is believed to have invented the first digital camera.

Kodak the pioneer of film photography had made huge investments in vertical integration involving “film based” analog photography.

Steve Sasson had put forward the idea of embracing digital photography to Kodak leadership.Unfortunately since Kodak was being led by finite minded leaders at that time, noone was willing to exercise existential flex.

Kodak knowingly turned deaf ear to technology disruption and paid a heavy price when Nikon dominated digital photography and made Kodak bankrupt by 2012.

Indeed a pity and classical case of what happens when finite minded leaders are blinded by unknowns in the infinite game.

Simon Sinek’s book titled “The Infinite Game” makes a mention of the same.

How Milton Freidman’s “shareholder primacy” led to a finite mindset

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In the 1970’s the Noble winning economist named Milton Freidman put forward his views around “shareholder supremacy” and changed the meaning of capitalism inside out.

According to him a business and its owners should operate with the sole aim of making profit to maximise the value of its shareholders.The views expressed by the economist has taken centre stage in the world of business from the 1980’s.

To promote shareholder value , business leaders worldwide developed a short sighted finite mindset radically different from the infinite mindset of business owners prior to 1980’s.In this age businesses operated to maximise value of employees resulting in a win-win for the organization.

These views have been put forward by Simon Sinek in his book titled “The Infinite Game” to make the audience aware of the need of possessing an infinite mindset in the infinite game of business.

Watch out for Finite Mindset leaders & their messages

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It is basic human nature that the order in which information is presented more often than not conveys priorities and strategies of a leader.

Mike Duke who became the fourth CEO of Walmart was known for his finite mindset and his tenure from 2009 to 2013 was characterized by lack of trust and severe resentment among employees.

Mike Duke’s strategy excerpt:

Our strategy is sound and our management team is extremely capable.I am confident we will continue to deliver value to our stakeholders, increase opportunity for our over 2 million associates , and help our 180 million customers around the world save money and live better.”

This strategy put profits and shareholders first and employees after that.

Don Mcmillon who succeeded Duke was characterized by an infinite mindset , excerpt from his strategy statement:

This has thus enabled him to restore the brand value of Walmart after the abysmal failure of Mike Duke.

The company has a rich history of delivery value to customers across the globe and as their needs grow and change we will be there to serve them.Our management team is talented and experienced and our strategy gives me the confidence that our future is bright”.By keeping our promises to customers , we will drive shareholder value create opportunities for our associates and grow our business.”

Clearly this put people priorities first.

Simon Sinek has mentioned these subtle aspects in his book titled “The Infinite Game”.

Leaders with finite mindset and their detrimental effects

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The need is to have leaders with an infinite mindset to ethically play the infinite game of business.

In the quest of attaining short term benefits , leaders with a finite mundset frequently indulge in selfish , unethical & short term tactics.This can range from whimsical employee layoffs to of facts to cover own ass.The cascading effect results in lack of trust & cooperation among the employees.

The futile reactive short term tactics of Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer to counter Apple’s infinite mindset has been very aptly cited by Simon Sinek in Infinite game to highlight the long term benefits of an infinite mindset.

Leadership lessons should thus be oriented towards creating more and more leaders with an infinite mindset.