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Simon Sinek Explains Why Playing an ‘Infinite Game’ Could Define the Future of Work

In a new five-part podcast, in partnership with Smartsheet, OZY paints a picture of the workplace to come, from productivity and privacy to social enterprise and the rise of gamification. Listen on, Spotify, Apple or wherever you prefer to stream your audio.

As individual human beings, says Simon Sinek, we’re just not that good. “We’re not that strong and we can’t solve complex problems,” says the organizational consultant, public speaker and author of the new book The Infinite Game. But in groups? “We’re remarkable.” 

In the latest episode of OZY’s chart-topping podcast The Future of X, we explore how technology will change the way we network and how we find and fill the jobs to come, including how we build remarkable groups that are more than just the sum of their parts.

In The Infinite Game, Sinek explores the idea that organizations struggle because their leaders are playing with a finite mindset. They believe that they can win, that the competition can be over, that there’s an end game. What we need in companies of the future, says Sinek, is an infinite mindset, one in which we stop thinking of the other players in the game as competitors that are there to be beaten, and start thinking of them as worthy rivals whose strengths reveal to us our weaknesses. 

The hard work of actually becoming friends with someone, there’s no app for that.

Simon Sinek

The infinite game of business is therefore one of constant improvement, and it’s a mindset that should filter down from the most influential CEOs to the unsung heroes in HR trying to build remarkable teams. Sinek likens a healthy hiring process — with the right balance of human and technological inputs — to online dating. “Dating apps have helped expedite and short-circuit the dating process to some degree, [but] at the end of the day, we still have to go on the date. We still have to talk to somebody, spend time with somebody and get to know somebody.”

And this means that even in a future where artificial intelligence and technology will play a larger role in hiring and networking, there will still be a large role for humans to build remarkable teams, and to fall in love with the right colleagues, employees and employers. “You can have an app to make an introduction to someone,” says Sinek. “But the hard work of actually becoming friends with someone, there’s no app for that. And so we cannot rely on technology to expedite the process of finding someone who’s a good cultural fit. It just doesn’t work that way.”

Check out the latest episode of The Future of X: The Workplace to learn more about the future of networking and hiring. Now available on OZY and all podcast platforms.

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