What Game are You Playing? (WT543)

What Game are You Playing? (WT543)


What Game are You Playing? WT543

This week I was privileged to attend Part 1 of Simon Sinek’s leadership training series, based on his book The Infinite Game.

Do you know the difference between a finite game and an infinite game?

I confess, I didn’t know the difference and it seems I’m not alone.

According to Sinek, “leaders don’t know the game they’re in”.

A finite game is a game that has a winner. It also has rules and known players and competitors.

An infinite game has known and unknown players. Its rules are changeable and the objective is to stay in the game, not to beat your opponent.

Examples of infinite games include: business, marriage, global politics, education and healthcare.

Playing the infinite game in business means becoming obsessed with where you are going versus beating the competition.

Sinek outlined the 5 components of the Infinite Mindset and explained that the Infinite Mindset is a “striving”. If we take health as an example, we strive to be healthy. To be healthy we need to exercise, sleep, meditate, drink so many litres of water each day and eat healthy food.  We can’t do them all at the same time. We go in and out of balance, however if our ambition is to be healthy over time, and we focus on each of the components of health, we will eventually achieve health. The same applies to business and marriage etc.

Sinek’s 5 components for business and leadership include:

  1. Advance a Just Cause
  2. Build Trusting Teams
  3. Respect/Study your Worthy Rivals
  4. Develop the capacity for existential flexibility
  5. Have the courage to lead.

What game are you playing?

What game do you want to play?

When will you start playing?

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Teamwork is Everywhere (WT542)

Teamwork is Everywhere (WT542)


Teamwork is Everywhere WT542

The other morning we were on a deadline to get packed up and get moving. Checkout time at the caravan park was 10am. As I looked around the park, I noticed many of the other campers were also scurrying around to pack up and vacate on time.

As I watched (while I packed up of course), I started thinking about teamwork.

Teamwork is everywhere.

Ross and I have our jobs. He takes care of the outside and I take care of the inside.

I was intrigued to watch the other husband and wife teams as they appeared to have their specific jobs too.

A well functioning or high performing team consists of team members who trust each other to do their jobs and do them well.

A high performing team also consists of team members who are not afraid to speak up and hold each other accountable.

A high performing team outperforms a group of individuals any time.

A high performing team also provides support for members when they need it.

Think about your personal teams; your family and friends.

Recall a time when your family or friends were organising a big event; perhaps it was a wedding or a birthday celebration or other festive occasion.

Think back to all the jobs that had to be done by a certain timeframe. Think back to who organised the jobs and allocated them to team members.

Think back to the fights and squabbles that occurred as tension mounted getting closer to the day.

Successful events require a team approach. We can’t do everything by ourselves.

This week I invite you to take notice. Look around and identify all the teams you belong to.

Identify the ones that are high performing and identify what makes them high performing. Do your teams tick the boxes above?

Remember, teamwork is everywhere.

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Put Your Big Girl Pants On (WT439)

Put Your Big Girl Pants On (WT439)


WT 439 Put your big girl pants on

Years ago, I was mentored by the fabulous Mitch Axelrod. Mitch wrote the book, “The New Game of Selling” and was teaching me how to conduct a sales call. 

He had an amazing philosophy and system that completely resonated with me; “look for the highest and best outcome for all,” he said, including me. 

As all great coaches and mentors, Mitch wasn’t just interested in teaching me the information. He wanted to see me put it into action.

I had a sales call booked that very day.

Mitch made me practice asking the questions.

I could do it with Mitch but I was terrified to put it into action with “real live people” (not that Mitch was a blow up doll).

Frustrated with me, Mitch challenged me and to this day I can hear his words. In fact, I’ve even used them myself with my own coaching clients.

“Shirley, put your big girl panties on and go and have the conversation,” he demanded.

I gulped. I knew what he was saying was right and yet I was terrified.

What if I stuffed it up?

What if I said the wrong thing?

What if they didn’t like me?

What if they said “No” and rejected me?

What if they said “Yes” and I got the job?

Oh my! The dialogue that went through my head.

Knees knocking, I did put my big girl pants on and showed up for the appointment.

They said, “Yes”.

I was so grateful; grateful to Mitch, grateful to my new clients and grateful for the work.

It truly was the highest and best outcome for all.

And so you might be wondering why I am writing about this today.

Well, guess who got to coach and mentor and share Mitch’s famous words?

I can’t wait to hear the outcome for my client.

And I’m now realising that the universe uses me to talk to you. Is this the message you need to hear today?

How about you?  Do you need to step up and put on your big girl or big boy pants?

We can’t stay little forever.

Let Me Finish (WT541)

Let Me Finish (WT541)


Let me finish WT 541

This week we’ve been driving back up the coast of New South Wales and celebrating having the borders reopen.

As I was driving, I received a call from a representative of a hotel group who was keen to reinstate my membership.

(Hands free), I complimented him on his opening script. It was very well crafted, even though I knew what was coming.

“Hear me out”, he said. “I want to let you know about all the new properties and brands we have added to our group.”

He then went on to list a heap of hotel chains that I have no interest in or intention of staying at. When I politely told him I was travelling and working my way round Australia in a motorhome, he then changed tack and started to tell me all about the restaurants I could visit.

He asked me where I was right now. I told him.

He then proceeded to tell me how much I could benefit from the offers in Sydney.

I told him I wasn’t interested in going to Sydney and staying in a hotel.

Then he attacked. “You stayed at x hotel on x date. Isn’t that right?”

It was right. However, I also enlightened him on the reason. We stayed there because we had to use up a free night’s accommodation before the membership expired, not because we particularly wanted to go to Sydney.

“Hear me out”, he repeated, with a slightly raised voice.

“No thank you”, I said. “I have no interest in continuing the conversation.”

He continued to talk over the top of me, demanding that I hear him out.

By this stage I was out of patience. This was not the way to get me to renew my membership.

“I’ve been polite. I’ve told you my circumstances and I have no interest in continuing the conversation. I’m hanging up now.”

He was still talking and doing his best to engage and convince me when I hung up.

Wow! There’s a Weekly Thought. Let your customers finish what they are saying. You might have a better chance of engaging them if you listen to what they say and ask questions relating to their circumstances, rather than talking over the top of them and making them wrong.

And, this message isn’t just for customer service. It applies EVERY TIME you are engaged in a conversation with another. Let them finish.

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Let Them Fight (WT540)

Let Them Fight (WT540)


Let Them Fight WT540

I find it really interesting that themes seem to emerge from time to time.

The past few weeks I have had discussions with my legends about the challenging times they are experiencing with their management teams.

“We are not aligned Shirl.” “We’re not on the same page.” “All we seem to do is fight.”

My reaction is to get excited.

“Let them fight.” “Get excited when your teams are fighting.”


“Because, number one, it means they are engaged and number two, you can’t get to be a high performing team unless you go through what we call The Team Development Wheel.”

The Team Development Wheel is based on a model that was originally put forward by Psychologist Bruce Tuckman, in 1965, as the 4 Stages of Team Formation. You might know the stages as “Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing”. Later he added a 5th stage called “Adjourning or Mourning”.

We use a sailing analogy with 4 quadrants in a circle. The first quadrant is “Becalmed”. In this stage, the team is just forming or you have new members joining. At this stage people are polite and minding their manners. They are watching and waiting. They are working out who’s in charge and where are we going.

The second stage is “Squalling”. To get the boat sailing you need to have wind and harness it. This is the “fighting” stage, where team members start to fight over roles, different personalities and different ways of doing things. They can also fight because they are feeling overwhelmed or they may be engaged in power plays for the leadership position. The most important thing you can do here is to “let them fight”.  Rather than stopping your team members from asserting themselves, encourage them, however give them the tools to fight clean. Teach them how to construct a Confronting I Message and Conflict Resolution skills as well as Active Listening. It’s so important to help the team move through this stage because you can’t get to the third and fourth stages without going through this stage.

Stage three is “Sailing”. In this stage, team members are working together and working on refining and improving systems and processes. They are getting to know each other better and finding ways to resolve their differences.

The fourth stage is the “Spinnaker Run”. In this stage team members become what we call “interdependent”. This means they can rely on you to do your job and do it well; they trust you. They also trust you that if they fall overboard, you will bring the boat around to save them. In other words, you have each other’s backs. There is mutual support and respect and productivity is high.

The fifth stage, “Adjourning or Mourning” is when the team disbands. This could be because a project has completed or the team is no longer needed or team members leave. There is usually a period of adjustment at this time.

The important thing to take away from this week’s thought is to not get upset when team members are fighting (not physically fighting, of course). Rather, give them the skills to fight fair and to fight clean. One of my beliefs is that “there is nothing that can’t be cleared up in conversation”. If you won’t have the conversation, you’ve got no hope of resolving the conflict.

If you’re up for it, this week I encourage you to share the model of Team Development and ask your team members where they would place your team on The Team Development Wheel. Draw a circle. Divide it into 4 sections and, like a clock face, ask them to write their initials on the outside of the wheel for where they think the team sits and then discuss the differences in scores.

You might be surprised at what you all learn about each other.

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