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How To Lead A Quest by Jason Fox

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4 An Alternative Option

In The Game Changer, I share an alternative philosophy for work — that is, to recognise that work is a game. A game that can be tweaked and changed, in order to unlock inherent motivation and greater progress.

This perspective was inspired by philosopher James Carse's brilliant book Finite and Infinite Games: A vision of life as play and possibility. In this work, Carse argues that life consists of at least two kinds of games: one finite, the other infinite. Finite games have a start and an end point, and are played for the purpose of winning. Infinite games, on the other hand, are played for the purpose of continuing the play. In a business context, you can think of this in terms of maintaining value and relevance.

Many conventional leadership books treat business as though it were a finite game, in which the sole focus is winning. For example, in the popular book Playing to Win: How strategy really works, AG Lafley and Roger Martin argue that ‘the heart of strategy is the answer to two fundamental questions: where will you play, and how will you win there?'

Such a philosophy has a certain old-school charm to it. It's comfortingly simple and familiar, and a raft of historical evidence supports it.[1] And it might work for 80 per cent of the work — it surely works for defined playing fields, in which the rules are set and the metrics for winning are ...

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