#27 Sharing some things that I’ve Read, Heard & Seen
What I’ve seen
The Netflix documentary Game Changers - produced by James Cameron, addresses many of the misconceptions and outdated myths surrounding performance and nutrition
The documentary starts with James Wilks, an elite special forces trainer who whilst recovering from knee surgery and researching the best diets and nutrition to recover from his injury discovers a study which shows that Roman gladiators ate little or no meat and trained and competed on plant based diets.
Form Lewis Hamilton, Novak Djokovic, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jackie Chan, Morgan Mitchell, Dotsie Bausch and many others, we get to see and hear many of the stories of those who have all achieved amazing results in their sporting careers since adopting plant based diets.
This is not just aimed at elite athletes, there is also a wonderful but sobering moment for a number of New York firefighters who see first hand the significant reduction in their markers for risk of heart disease after taking the seven day plant based diet challenge.
A must watch!
What I’ve read
The Infinite Game by Simon Sinek A highly agreeable topic and one packed with a perspective that is hard to escape from when you start to observe those around you in both modern society and business playing with a finite mindset.
Some things I learned and found useful
Firstly some definitions:
Finite games are played by known players. They have fixed rules. And there is an agreed upon objective that, when reached ends the game.
Infinite games, in contrast, are played by known and unknown players. There are no exact or agreed-upon rules. Though there may be conventions or laws that govern how the players conduct themselves, within the broad boundaries, the players can operate however they want. And if they choose to break with convention, the can. The manner in which each player chooses to play is entirely put to them. And they can change how they play the game at any time, for any reason.
In life and business there are no winners
When we lead with a finite mindset in an infinite game, it leads to all kinds of problems, the most common of which include the decline of trust, cooperation and innovation.
To succeed in the infinite game of business, we have to stop thinking about who wins or who’s the best and start thinking about how to build organisations that are strong enough and healthy enough to stay in the game for many generations to come.
Any leader who wants to adopt an infinite mindset must follow five essential practices: Advance a just cause; Build trusting teams: Study your worthy rivals: Prepare for existential flexibility; and Demonstrate the courage to lead
Just cause: Many of the organisation we work for have some sort of purpose, vision or mission statement. However, the vast majority of them would not qualify as a just cause. At best they are uninspiring and innocuous, at worst they point is in a direction to keep playing in a direction to keep playing in the finite realm. Written in a way that is finite, generic, self-centred or too vague to be of any use in the infinite game. A just cause must be: For something - affirmative and optimistic; Inclusive - open to all of those who would like to contribute; Service oriented - for the primary benefit of other; Resilient - able to endure political, technological and cultural change; Idealistic - big, bold and ultimately unachievable
Build trusting teams: When we are not on a trusting team, when we do not feel like we can express any kind of vulnerability at work we often feel forced to lie, hide and fake to compensate. A circle of safety is a necessary condition for trust to exist. It describes an environment in which people feel psychologically safe to be vulnerable around their colleagues. Safe to admit mistakes, point out gaps in their training, share their fears and anxieties and, of course, ask for help with the confidence that others will support them instead of using that information against them.
Worthy rivals: Traditional competition forces us to take on an attitude of winning. A worthy rival inspires us to take on an attitude of improvement, the former focuses our attention on the outcome the latter focuses our attention on process. 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 they other players are doing with the hope that it will work for them too.
Existential flexibility: Existential flexibility is the capacity to initiate an extreme disruption to a business model or strategic course in order to more effectively advance a just cause. An existential flex recreates that passion for something new at a time when the company is already enjoying success. To the finite minded player, such a move is not worth the risk. To infinite minded players, however staying on the current path is a bigger risk
Courage to lead: The pressure we all face today to maintain a finite mindset is overwhelming. For most of us, almost any kind of career opportunities we have are almost all tied to how well we perform in the finite game. The whole point of having a statement of cause or purpose is that they actually believe it. That they really believe the purpose of business is bigger than making money. A cause can only really advance if they do the things that help advance it. If they don’t, what’s the point of having a cause written on the wall or on a website?
What I’ve Heard
Pivot to the future podcast with Will.i.am and Omar Abbosh on the future of healthcare. A topic which I have had much exposure to within my career and one which I have typically seen played quite safe, through gradual evolution rather than the significant transformation that we crave.
I really like the not for profit organisation (Kaiser Permanente) that's discussed throughout this episode and how it is making considerable impacts and practical changes beyond acute care - primarily by focusing on how to maximise healthy life years, this starts with what they describe as total health of individuals: from body, mind and spirit. From nutrition to education to wellness to making healthy foods readily available, they build an infrastructure that connects people to resources from preventative care to the provision of acute healthcare when needed.
With the continued economic burden of traditional healthcare, affordability of care remains one of the biggest global issues to solve - its time to embrace these models more widely rather than seeing them as one offs or experimental sites.
Circling back to the infinite games: Look at what is possible when you have a just cause that doesn’t get blurred with shareholder demands and takes the net surplus back to improve and support the mission.