One of the four cornerstones of my personal leadership philosophy is initiative, which I took the liberty of defining in this context as, “recognizing and realizing (literally, making real!) the potential and possibility in those around me.”

The other three cornerstones of my personal leadership philosophy are:

  • Trust — If we can’t trust each other, we are worthless to each other
  • Service — Put others before self
  • Perfection — No-one is perfect, but at any given moment at least one member of a well-led team will be

The concrete used to form those cornerstones includes a mix of writings from numerous thought leaders including Robert K. Greenleaf’s “Servant Leadership” and James P. Carse’s “Finite and Infinite Games: A Vision of Life as Play and Possibility.”

“Infinite players cannot say when their game began, nor do they care. They do not care for the reason that their game is not bounded by time. Indeed, the only purpose of the game is to prevent it from coming to an end, to keep everyone in play.”

— James P. Carse, Finite and Infinite Games, pp. 6-7

We highlighted Servant Leadership in a previous Read to Lead post. Today’s recommendation is Finite and Infinite Games. This obscure and somewhat odd little book challenges people to think about life as a game — but one in which the purpose of play is to keep the game going by uplifting the other players.

Carse’s pocket-sized book is a relatively light and easy read, and although not a leadership book per se, when read through the leadership lens it reveals something new and valuable each time I open it.

For more reading recommendations to help you through the ledership challenges you are facing, feel free to give us a call, zap us an email, or post a comment below. We’ll also be happy to hear your recommendations of books that have proven valuable to you as a developing leader.

Guest Writers Welcome!

If you are interested in writing and publishing on a topic related to CBL, drop us a line. We’ll work with you to refine your ideas and include you as a by-line contributor to the Hard NoCs blog.

Cliff W. Gilmore Administrator
Founder and CEO , North of Center LLC

Cliff holds a PhD in organization and management with a specialization in leadership. A U.S. Marine Corps veteran, he completed operational deployments to Fallujah, Iraq and Kandahar and Helmand, Afghanistan. He has led multi-national and inter-agency teams including approximately one year on loan from the Corps as Director of Policy, Planning, and Outreach for the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of International Information Programs. He also directly advised the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on public and media engagement regarding national security matters for two years as Special Assistant for Public Communication. Today he puts that experience to work helping people become the kind of leaders they would want to follow.


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