By Shantanu Mohan
December 7, 2017
It might not sound practical to apply game theory to the competitive business world. However, if you listen to renowned author and speaker Simon Sinek at a 2016 TED Talk, you might look at things differently.
When he spoke about how game theory applies to wars, he gave numerous analogies on how “win” and “lose” become more ambiguous. In his explanation, he also equates this to the business world on a large and small scale.
Let’s look a little closer at what Sinek spoke about and his exploration of a business’s typical finite life. You can apply this to your own business and the landlord that owns your building.
In Sinek’s compelling TED Talk, he correlates the business world to game theory by noting how many companies think on a finite level. In other words, many of them stay within definable limits, meaning they’re always out to win.
When they go up against a business that has a long-term vision, the finite businesses often end up losing in the end. They either go out of business or merge with another company to stay alive.
Using game theory to look at business as a competitive game tells you a lot about approaches to business and how many business owners often limit their thinking for growth.
Despite Sinek also equating this to war, you can certainly look at business competitiveness today like an ongoing battle.
Another interesting analogy between business and war comes from Sinek’s explanation of the old Soviet-Afghan War in the early 1970s. In this scenario, the Carter Administration defined America’s interests with a finite policy, though unwittingly creating an infinite strategy at the same time.
The latter occurred when the administration came up with an option to drain Russia of resources over time so the war would eventually stop.
Over a period of years, the Soviets pulled out of Afghanistan, ending a war that had lasting consequences.
These type of scenarios sometimes occur by happenstance in businesses. Perhaps your own business has had those moments where you created a marketing strategy that played out a competitor’s resources over time.
With a unique vision for your company, you can become the infinite player that frustrates the competitor staying within the finite box.
So how do you make this occur on a scientific level as well through the use of technology?
To better understand Simek’s ideas as it applies to business, you can look at finite and infinite businesses as values vs. interests.
He notes that when a business identifies its values, they become an infinite business. If they pay too much attention to their interests, they stay finite.
A better way to put this is in businesses asking “what” questions, e.g. “What can we do to solve a particular problem?” When these questions become too restricting, it places a business back into a perpetual finite category.
Maintaining your values means keeping your massive transformative purpose you formed when starting your business.
If you have to pay rent to a landlord in your office building, you’re perhaps stuck adhering to their own rules that stifle business innovation.
It may mean having to adhere to using outdated technologies or working in limited spaces. Obviously, none of these inspire your team to stay productive.
You might want to give the above TED Talk to your landlord to show them how much they’ve blocked your push to innovate.
Here at WorkSocial, we provide tools like virtual offices, co-working opportunities, conference rooms, and training venues. We encourage companies like yours to finally abandon the linear way of doing business and adopt an infinite mindset.
Contact us to learn more about how we eliminate work constraint and scarce thinking in your company.