Whilst appropriate to mourn the loss of an old oak tree, it may be a bit excessive to give it the description of ‘a Rival’, but that’s how I felt recently whilst walking the dogs on the nearby golf course and was halted by this sad sight.

This tree was positioned perfectly on a tricky Par-3 for those golfers (I felt, particularly left-handers) who strayed off-line when attempting a ‘courageous’ approach to the green.

Looking now at the cut down tree and remembering it in its full glory, reminded me of Simon Sinek’s video on his website, where he highlights the benefits to us of identifying a ‘worthy rival’.

He speaks of his ‘worthy rival’ hypothesis in conjunction with the works of the American academic Professor James P. Carse, in his book ‘Finite and Infinite Games’, in which Professor Carse defines the Infinite Game as one that includes any authentic interaction, that changes rules, plays with boundaries and exists solely for the purpose of continuing the game.

Sustaining and growing your business, therefore fits within the Infinite Game model, as whilst it may be the desire of business owners to sell their business at some point in the future, invariably there’s the desire of legacy for those within the business and with the business itself, so no desired end point.

The benefits proposed by Professor Carse of us realizing the ‘infinite’ nature of our ‘game’, is that we will take a more strategic and long-term view focused on the areas for development rather than just the short-term win or lose.

Simon Sinek proposes that we can benefit from these rivals within the Infinite Game, if we don’t become fixated on them, but importantly, we focus on our own development based upon where we feel we can improve, to be better able to match or exceed our rivals.

Within the recruitment sector, we are fortunate to be more readily able to identify our ‘rivals’ and particularly, to be able to recognise a ‘worthy’ one. In doing so, we’ll have a better knowledge of our market as well as a more refined focus on what and where are our key areas for development. Personally, and as a business.

I must be honest, there is a part of me that is happy to see the back of that tree / rival, but I must also admit, that I do believe it added to my development of how to play that hole better. Just as a rival should.

Have you experienced and learned from the benefits of a worthy rival?

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