We Should Think Infinite Game to Create Change

Making a change is not always an easy task. The narratives we play in our head can be noisy sometimes and that affects the decision-making process.  One of the important lessons I learned from participating in the inaugural altMBA was how to overcome fear and take a leap of faith to create change.

Finite and Infinite Games: A Vision of Life as Play and Possibility by James Carse is a recommended book and was included as one of the reading assignments with my altMBA class. A great takeaway from the book can be summarized in this statement:

Finite games are ultimately power games – acquiring power, expanding power and retaining power. Infinite games are not about power but about strength and continuing to play.

The traditional role in my industry kept me within boundaries and I was expected to follow everyone else without asking too many questions. Existing within boundaries puts constraints on you and creating any change becomes difficult. 

Thankfully, I was not afraid to ask “why” over the years and didn’t have a problem questioning “protocol” if it didn’t make sense. This didn’t get me in trouble because I was winning at their game, helping to close deals and making money for myself and the companies I worked with.

Yet it’s hard to keep the momentum going when you’re just playing to win all the time. Something was missing.

Then Bam!  After completing breast cancer treatment (for the second time), I didn’t want to continue playing within those same boundaries. I wanted to continue with living and playing, and to make a difference somehow.  

Being a patient requires patience too and this opened my eyes to what’s right and wrong about healthcare in the U.S.  The healthcare system is considered the most inefficient industry because the players (hospital systems, pharmaceutical, insurance companies) are playing to win. They work within the traditional boundaries of power with a focus on profits because costs are so high; and the costs will continue to rise.

In my personal case, we are fortunate to have great health insurance through my husband’s company that helped cover the treatment costs and follow-up visits 3 years later. But there are so many people in our country who don’t have good insurance or simply can’t afford it. Plenty of patients feel helpless because of this.

What can be done to help?

Transparency is the first step towards accountability. Let’s continue to push for transparency to reduce the limits we encounter in the healthcare system. We shouldn’t have to fight for the right to be healthier or get affordable healthcare.

Many brave people and organizations are trying to make a difference with healthcare right now, but there are still too many constraints that creates infighting and dysfunctional behavior. We have an opportunity to create change and we should embrace the possibilities.

Secondly, we can each raise a hand to get involved somehow.

I’ve taken a leap of faith and co-founded a new non-profit, Think Infinite Game, with the goal to help patients be more engaged and create a more transparent healthcare system. Our voices will be heard better as a team. We don’t have a website as of this writing but do have a Facebook page that we encourage you to check out. 

Stay tuned.


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