My wife often talks about playing the “long game.”  Simply put, this means making decisions and taking actions with the long-term future in mind, and ignoring potential short-term gains.  This can apply to building relationships, making investments, growing your business, and nearly every other part of the lives we lead.  Playing the long game takes vision, while making decisions that garner immediate returns will only offer positive results in the now.

This concept is the premise of Simon Sinek’s latest book, The Infinite Game.  Sinek’s book documents the history of corporate America and how leaders of our top companies morphed from serving as good stewards, to becoming slaves to their shareholders.  One of the main tenets of the book is this: there is a big difference between “shareholders” and “stakeholders.”

Shareholders have a financially driven, short-term, profit seeking mission.  Shareholders are not playing the long game.  Stakeholders, like many of you have in your communities and that support your organization, make decisions based on sustainability and what is best well into the future.  Stakeholders play the long game.

Taking this concept a bit further, playing the long game applies to a lot more than just business.  Think about it this way, how many stakeholders do you have in your personal life?  People that support your family and are invested in long term success?  I’d argue that we all have stakeholders that are fully vested in our success.  Think about that question for a moment.  How many stakeholders do you have today?

Now let’s turn this around a bit.  How many people are you invested in for the long game?  How many more should you be supporting with the long term in mind?  Two more?  Five more?  Ten?  Let’s make it easy and try for one.

Just one more person that we can invest in for the long game will have a trickledown effect to perhaps dozens more.  I’ve found that over the years when I put time and energy into others, in the end, I get more back than I give.  So there is likely a benefit for the stakeholder, but that is not the point of the long game.  The benefit is in building people up, in building organizations, in building community.

Playing the long game takes vision and must be supported by intentional action.  Look for an opportunity to invest in someone this week.  Playing the long game starts now.

Hope you all have a great week ahead!

Yours in Sport,

About the author:

Jon Schmieder is the Founder of the Huddle Up Group LLC, a sports industry consulting company led by award winning executives.  Schmieder has over 20 years of experience in leading sports tourism and events organizations through strategic growth and increased community collaboration.  The Huddle Up Group has worked with more than 75 sports organizations and destinations on over 150 strategic projects.  In 2017 the Huddle Up Group was given the Superior Service Award, the highest honor a consulting firm can earn from the National Association of Sports Commissions.  We can be reached at or 602.369.6955.  To receive the weekly “Monday Huddle Up” visit or sign up at