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Simon Sinek: The Best Way to Run a Business Is Without an End Goal in Mind

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Simon Sinek got famous answering a question with a question. The first question, posed by company leaders, was, "How do I inspire employees and customers, day after day, even beyond their appreciation of what my business does?" The author and motivational speaker's answer--also the title of his first book--was "Start with why." People will be motivated, he explained, when they understand the fundamental reason that you do what you do.

In his new book, the delightfully unsubtitled The Infinite Game, Sinek points out that running a business is a journey without a final destination. The goal is not to win but to keep playing, by which he means building an organization that can survive its leaders. That requires making decisions that sometimes impede conventional entrepreneurial imperatives, such as grow at any cost. Inc. spoke with Sinek about choices made by infinite-minded leaders.

Inc.: The operational principle in your first book is the "why." In this new work it is the "just cause." How are they different?
Simon Sinek: The difference between the "why" and the "just cause," which is the first practice of the infinite game, is that the why comes from the past. It is the sum total of who we are. It is objective and it never changes and we have only one of them. The just cause is a vision of the future. It is subjective and changeable, and you can have more than one. The infinite game is less about where we come from and more about where we are going, and understanding the world in which we operate.

For a business, is a just cause the same as a vision statement?
The problem I kept running into is everybody had a different definition of a vision statement, and they were all written in completely different ways. Some were good and some were........

© Inc.com