Play the long game

We believe the long game is the shortest path to change. Playing the long game is about orienting your actions to your purpose through context.

Playing the long game

What is the long game?

The long game is our shorthand for an approach to that aligns strategic purpose with a bias for action.

We believe that in doing the hard work to build strong foundations and consistently orient our actions to our evolving context.

Playing the long game unlocks a superpower that can move us steadily in the right direction at increasing velocity.

Context, Action, Purpose
The keys to a strong long game
Orient action to purpose through context

Playing the long game doesn't mean slowly working towards a far-off goal, or planning everything upfront.

It means setting clear direction and building feedback and context-setting into our action cycles, to harness a bias for action to our strategic purpose.

10 Principles for playing the long game

Know your ecosystem

1. Know your ecosystem

Work from deep knowledge of your ecosystem and the players within it.

Front-load pattern building

2. Front-load pattern building

Do the hard work of simplifying patterns and cross-cutting mechanics before you dive into the complexity of delivering to specific groups or business units. You'll never regret removing complexity or ambiguity upfront.

Sweat the detail

3. Sweat the detail

Be precise and rigorous about the details. Continuously clarify and evolve your knowledge to be mutually exclusive and comprehensively exhaustive.

Make the system knowable

4. Make the system knowable

Use visualisations, mappings and models to make the system easier to understand as a whole and in parts. Be disciplined in sharing and evolving common models.

Anticipate the future

5. Anticipate the future

Actively plan and prepare for an unknowable future. Think in scenarios and probabilities rather than certainties.

Act in cycles

6. Act in cycles

Act in cycles and loops that enable continuous feedback, contextualisation, decision-making and action. Build rhythms, capacities and organisational flexibility that maintain momentum without losing direction.

Take calculated risks

7. Take calculated risks

Use your knowledge and capabilities to take calculated risks on strategic bets. Act decisively when opportunities present themselves.

Act as stewards

8. Act as stewards

Think in longer cycles as a steward of your ecosystem, which includes your organisation and it's context. Consider the consequences of your actions for the future.

Build foundations

9. Build foundations

Develop new capabilities before you know how they will be used. Experiment with new ways of doing the fundamentals of your activity. Create the possibilities for Cambrian explosions.

Prepare for impossible shifts

10. Prepare for impossible shifts

Use your skills, resilience and foresight to embrace paradigm shifts and prepare for giant leaps.

What's your default mode of playing the long game?

We've identified 4 common ways that people can approach strategic change, each with strengths and weaknesses in different situations.

Our simple tool can help you discover your default mode and how to work with the rest.

Long Game Modes
The 4 Modes of Strategic Change

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81-83 Campbell St, Surry Hills, NSW 2010

ABN 64 653 180 824

Acknowledgment of Country

We acknowledge the Gamaragal and Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, the traditional owners of the land on which we live and work, and pay our respects to the Elders both past, present and emerging.

Acknowledgment of Crisis

We acknowledge the context of crisis in our time. Recognising that our actions today have consequences beyond our species and generation, we acknowledge our responsibility to include these considerations in our lives and work.