What is your game?
When did our work turn into a finite game?
I have recently finished the Simon Sinek’s book “The infinite game” and it got me thinking on this phenomenon I’m seeing more and more around me. A lot of the people I know are striving to reach the Position with capital “P” — I had colleagues and team mates willing to become directors, vice-presidents, presidents, MDs, etc., get to a level that will bring them status and prestige. But then what? Once you become a president, what is going to be next? Does this game have a winning point? Is this a goal that will make you more of something? Or better at something?
I hold a managerial position and I am an ambitious person, but my goals and aspirations have never been to reach a certain position in any company I worked for. In the past couple of years I think more and more about what inspires me at work, what motivates me and what gets me sense of accomplishment. Most of the times I realize I am happy at work, I get excited and motivated from making things happen for my team, for helping in someone’s development journey, from thinking of new initiatives, business growth, etc. To sum it up, my goal isn’t to become a president, it is to bring my team to success, to make them feel happy, safe, accomplished, at ease and at home. What motivates me is to learn, get exposure to new things, accomplish some goals of mine, always set new goals, even small ones.
I am not saying that wanting to become something or someone is a bad thing. Without ambition we would have a lot less success stories. Having an inner drive is great, a person can accomplish anything with the right mindset. But going above and beyond to get to a certain position does not bring you anything long-term. I see so many people I know lying in their CVs, faking their LinkedIn profiles, pretending to be someone else on interviews, just to be there. Probably those people are successful, or will be successful in their version of the word, will achieve their finite goals, but will do it without authenticity, without balance, and without getting anything out of it, except a great salary and a job title. Fake does not inspire and fake does not make you happy. It could probably get you sick, physically even.
If the goal is to get to a certain status, salary, position, I’m afraid people are more prone to make unethical decisions, blame others for their shortcomings, push their colleagues aside to shine, instead of being team players. This is the reality and we have seen it many times. Each person for themselves. Because you have no assurances that if you are helping the others, collaborating, sharing your ideas, you will be your boss’s first choice for promotion. And it is funny how such people, especially when they are leaders, say that people are most important to them, when in reality they are what’s more important to them. This goes back to company culture as well, especially in big corporations where this attitude is well rewarded and stimulated.
As a conclusion, set the right goals and have the understanding that this is an infinite game. There is no point in which you will be the best, the richest, the most successful person and stay forever on that pedestal. Instead think of what truly inspires you and what is your real cause. I really doubt someone’s true cause is to become a CEO or buy a big house. At least I hope so.