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Simon Sinek: Approach to Management

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Simon Sinek: Approach to Management

Garrett J. Monroe

Grand Valley State University


Simon Sinek: Approach to Management

        Simon Sinek has a unique approach to leadership, which he applies to management within different settings and businesses.  I had the opportunity to listen to a live broadcast of Simon Sinek during a NSLS (National Society of Leadership and Success) meeting.  My first impression of Simon Sinek was that he was a very smart man, similar to other speakers I was familiar with, but as I listened more I realized he was different.  What set Simon apart was his ability to describe what drives an individual to become a leader, and how to effectively portray leadership to other individuals or leaders.[a][b]

        During the broadcast, Simon Sinek introduced the topic of the infinite game.  The infinite game is described as having both known and unknown players, the rules are changeable and the objective is to perpetuate the game.  He described how successful leaders and organizations are learning to play the infinite game.  “The infinite game is where the rules change frequently, competitors come and go, and there is no end point to the game” (Sinek, 2017).  The game will end when someone loses the resources or the will to keep playing.  Simon then gave us five components that we must have in order to succeed in the infinite game.  The first is a just cause.  A just cause is what motivates you to get up in the morning and excel at what you have a passion for.  Sometimes a task can get tiresome and quitting may feel like the only option, but a just cause should allow you to persevere and outlast your competitors in the infinite game.  

        The second component that an individual must obtain to survive in the infinite game is courageous leadership.  Leaders need to have courage in order to stand up to any outside pressures.  They must be willing to stick to their just cause regardless of any outside forces.

Another component that Simon says must be obtained in order to continue through the infinite game is an open playbook.  An open playbook means having a flexible strategy that is willing to change in order to follow a just cause, not just relying on a fixed strategy.  “An open playbook also means you are transparent with your strategies, so all members of the team can literally be on the same page.  Leaders resist being too transparent with information because they fear losing control” (Conley, 2017).  It is very important that leaders are not narrow-minded[c], and they are ready to be flexible regardless of the situation that presents itself.  

        An interesting component that Simon says is important[d] is a worthy adversary.  A worthy adversary is essential because they are there to help an individual become better.  Outside of the infinite game, competitors are a positive force, because they help push an individual to improve [e]tasks, products, etc.  However, it all comes back to the just cause, and more specifically improving oneself for this cause.  If one is able to improve on a personal level it will help with surviving in the infinite game.  

        The last component is a vulnerable team.  Leadership cannot be obtained without help, and it cannot be done alone.  By a vulnerable team, Senik meant that all members should be comfortable and content, not just the leader.  In a vulnerable team, all members are able to ask questions or admit they made a mistake with confidence.  Overall, the team should feel welcome to bring ideas and concerns to those in authority without fear of repercussions.

        Along with these components, Sinek added how a leader should act in order to gain respect.  He believes that trust and cooperation are the keys to a relationship between a leader[f][g] and his people.  Simon Sinek related this type of leadership to a story in a TED Talk broadcast and said, “Captain Swenson was a recognized for running into a fire to save a bunch of people that were in the military.  He would give a kiss to every individual he saved and then would go back into the fire to save more individuals” (TED & Sinek, 2014).  Simon Sinek shared this story because he wanted to demonstrate that trust and cooperation are feelings that link a leader and his or her people.  This is similar to the bond that Captain Swenson now has for the people he saved from the fire.  The survivors are forever grateful, and view Captain Swenson as an honorable leader, because he put their lives before his.  This feeling that is shared between Captain Swenson and the people he saved should be portrayed in the companies and offices in today's world.  Leaders must set the tone and put the safety of the organization first before anything else.[h]



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