I was recommended the book The Infinite Game, by Simon Sinek last week. Simon wrote the book. My friend who recommended it is Jon Hickman. The book is kind of sort of Tribes but for the now times, covid notwithstanding. (By the way, my super anal brain still hasn’t settled on the correct way to write that; I guess it’s CoViD19? But that just looks mental.)
OK, so the most interesting thing I found in Sinek’s book was the idea of creating a “just cause”. I was already in the process of producing a company manifesto, which launches in a couple of weeks, so was in a good mindset to come up with one. There’s lots of other good stuff in the book about mindsets and competition, so it’s worth checking out, but I hope he’ll forgive me for running through the main points of the just cause, and how I used it to come up with one for my company.
It has to be for something
It needs to be affirmative and optimistic, meaning something we stand for, not against. Something along the lines of standing for the ability for every child to be fed, rather than standing against food poverty.
The cause needs to be open to everyone, and engender a sense of belonging. I don’t know if I totally nailed this one, considering it’s sort of exactly what I’m looking to do as I move forwards, but I think the phrase as a whole carries the right cadence… hopefully you’ll see what I mean.
This would b something that is for the primary benefit of others, rather than for ourselves or for shareholders. Without meaning to sound achingly altruistic or disingenuous, I find this fairly easy, where I suspect more traditionally-minded companies might struggle. It’s not far from my company’s initial founding, but it’s something I’ve strayed from a little, as I’ve been in the low-level day-to-day for so long.
This is a really interesting one. The cause needs to not rely on the technologies or culture of the day. So for me, it’s not about podcasting, but about what podcasting can enable. More on that when you see my cause. Again I think this is probably harder for companies that just want to exist to, say, build websites. What happens if/when social media profiles take over websites? (I was told a few years ago [by an idiot, mind] that websites were dead, and it was all about Facebook pages now).
The cause should be big, bold and ultimately unattainable. I think I enjoyed this the most, as it points to the idea of the infinite mindset, and takes the pressure off you if you’re not hitting your specific finite goals for the week or the month. Obviously if you keep not hitting those goals, then you need to make an adjustment, but for someone who’s beginning to try and take his nose out of the day-to-day numbers of running his business and trying to take a longer view, it’s a valuable way of thinking.
My just cause
So, given all of these points, I’ve gone with the goal of protecting and advancing the oral tradition.
S’nice that, isn’t it?
I like what that says about my company, and the latitude it gives us. It stops us from being a hosting company, and makes us enablers, and gives us a little bit of in-built resilience, because we know we’re about helping to protect and advance — notice that I say protect rather than preserve — the tradition of audio storytelling, and not about providing XML and MP3 files to content delivery networks.
You’re getting a bit of a sneak peek into some of the stuff I’ll be revealing from September and onwards. I’m excited by the future, and of course a little daunted, and I’m being constantly flooded by inspiration from old and new friends, and learning loads along the way.
If you run a small business, I’d love to know if the above resonates with you, and to see what you come up with.