Wait. If we all focus on vision, then ...

Thoughts on infinite games, Nike's principles, and silent meetings

👋Hi there! I share a weekly update on ways to be a better marketer, brand-maker, team-builder, and person. If you enjoy this, you can share some love by hitting the Substack heart button above or below.

Before we get into the links, I wanted to quickly mention a couple things:

  1. Thank you to the many folks who have paid for premium memberships on this list. The regular emails (like the one you’re reading) will absolutely continue to be free. However, if you’d like to get exclusive bonus content and to support the future of this list, you can become a premium member here.

  2. I wanted to highlight a comment about diversity and inclusion sent in by a reader, Drew, on last weeks’ email. Thank you, Drew, for taking the time to share! I’ve gained a lot from your perspective. If anyone else has thoughts to add to that thread or to any future email, I’d love the chance to hear from you.

Wishing you a great week ahead.

~ Kevan

Can your business survive on vision alone? [book rec]

by Simon Sinek

Image via Social Ventures

Here are my highlights from Simon Sinek’s The Infinite Game, the second book of my 2020 business book challenge. Did I like it? Mostly. Four stars out of five. The first couple chapters were quite fascinating. I’ve always been interested in the concept of finite vs. infinite games, so it was awesome to get such a clear and concise overview and to have that overview applied to the business world.

One section has stuck with me:

Infinite-minded leaders don’t ask their people to fixate on finite goals; they ask their people to help them figure out a way to advance toward a more infinite vision of the future that benefits everyone. The finite goals become the markers of progress toward that vision. And when everyone focuses on the infinite vision, it not only drives innovation, but it also drives up the numbers.                

I love this.

And while loving it, I wonder … ok, but while we’re all focused on vision, who’s going to actually make sure you’re growing quarter-by-quarter and year-by-year?

I’ve always felt a tension between long-term thinking and real-time progress. My ideal state is to look toward the future, to believe that if you deliver value to customers then growth will come. But then I take a course on growth or have a chat with peers, and I’m reminded of the other school of thought: that you grow by improving yourself daily or by innovating on business models or by evolving your strategy. It seems like you either grow by focusing on the infinite vision, or you grow by understanding the levers and loops of your business.

I imagine the truth is both: Infinite vision without constant improvement is wasteful. Pulling levers without a higher purpose is futile. They need each other.

What do you think?

Nike’s principles

from Vincenzo Landino

Which one of these principles is my favorite?

Stretch the possible.

Do I love all these principles? Not exactly. I definitely love the idea of principles overall; it’s awesome to have a clear message to motivate and encourage your team. I also love Nike (evidence: my wish list). But some of the principles on this memo feel a bit … dangerous? It doesn’t take a giant leap from this list to internalize workaholism and business-as-a-battle. My takeaway: Your company’s values will influence behaviors and culture in ways you might not predict, or want.

I might be overreacting, though. What do you think of this list? Any favorites?

Silent meetings are the cure for wasteful meetings

by David Gasca

“There’s nothing I enjoy more than spending time silently typing with you all.”

This article is an oldie but a goodie and is something we are thinking of doing more at Buffer. The structure of a silent meeting is pretty straightforward: Prepare a doc ahead of time with context about the topics being discussed, then begin the meeting by having people read the doc and leave comments; end the meeting with discussion about any questions that arose and couldn’t be answered in comments.

Here’s a helpful table, breaking down the difference between normal (“loud”) meetings and silent meetings:

Thanks so much for reading. Have a great week!

— Kevan

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