Who Not How cover

Who Not How - Book Summary

The Formula to Achieve Bigger Goals Through Accelerating Teamwork

Duration: 25:07
Release Date: November 15, 2023
Book Author: Dan Sullivan with Benjamin Hardy
Categories: Management & Leadership, Entrepreneurship, Productivity
Duration: 25:07
Release Date: November 15, 2023
Book Author: Dan Sullivan with Benjamin Hardy
Categories: Management & Leadership, Entrepreneurship, Productivity

In this episode of 20 Minute Books, we're delving into the transformative strategies proposed in "Who Not How", authored by renowned entrepreneurial coach Dan Sullivan and organizational psychologist Dr. Benjamin Hardy.

Published in 2020, "Who Not How" offers an innovative perspective on entrepreneurship, goal attainment, and collaboration. Sullivan presents a fresh mindset, advocating for delegation over solitary effort. By seeking the right 'who' to accomplish tasks, rather than focusing on the 'how', one can find more free time, boost income, and foster enduring professional relationships.

Our co-authors come with a wealth of expertise. Dan Sullivan, founder and president of The Strategic Coach Inc., is a venerated business consultant who has significantly contributed to helping entrepreneurs worldwide achieve their personal and professional aims. His other notable publications include "Who Do You Want To Be A Hero To?" and "The Gap and the Gain".

Dr. Benjamin Hardy, an esteemed organizational psychologist, also shares his insights. With his blogs reaching over 100 million readers and finding places in esteemed outlets like The New York Times and Harvard Business Review, Hardy has proven his mettle in the domain. He also co-authored "The Gap and the Gain" with Sullivan, and penned the successful titles "Willpower Doesn't Work" and "Personality Isn't Permanent".

"Who Not How" serves as a valuable guide for aspiring entrepreneurs seeking to bring their business ideas to life, professionals grappling with burn-out and yearning for more leisure, and perfectionists in search of effective solutions to procrastination. Tune in, and discover the 'who' that can help you redefine your 'how'.

Unleashing your potential: Delegate and play to your strengths

Picture yourself on the brink of a challenging, new venture. What is the first question you instinctively ask? It's probably something along the lines of: How will I accomplish this? This self-driven mindset is undeniably common, but it can often lead us into a labyrinth of self-reliance, piling stress and pressure onto our already burdened shoulders.

So, how can we effectively navigate this dilemma? Throughout this audio experience, we will journey together through a paradigm shift—from seeking a 'How' to identifying a 'Who.' As we delve into real-life experiences from the authors' array of collaborators and coaching clientele, you'll begin to understand the transformative power of this mental swap.

Discover the liberating potential of delegating tasks that aren't your forte, providing you the freedom to channel your energy into areas where you genuinely thrive. Whether it's sketching out your business vision or strategy, or indulging in personal aspirations like quality time with family, recognizing your unique abilities opens a world of possibilities.

In our journey together, we'll delve into:

- The story of why the Chicago Bulls needed more than just the incredible prowess of Michael Jordan to clinch an NBA championship,

- The secret formula of turning additional time into increased revenue, and

- The pivotal distinction between transactional and transformational relationships.

"Who" assistance: Unlocking the power of team synergy and honing in on unique abilities.

Take a trip back to the year 1984 — a year marked by the recruitment of a promising young hoopster by the Chicago Bulls. Michael Jordan, his name, quickly ascends the ranks, indisputably stamping his prowess as one of the best in the NBA landscape.

Despite Jordan's individual brilliance lighting up the court, the initial seasons see the Bulls bow out prematurely from the playoffs. Jordan's singular strength didn't necessarily translate into collective success for the team. His struggle was not about "how" he could secure a championship victory single-handedly, but "who" could augment his abilities within a team framework.

This leads us to the crux of our narrative today: the role of "whos" in highlighting your unique abilities and propelling you towards your goals.

When you incorporate a "Who" into your project or objective, you engage someone capable of handling tasks that don't necessarily align with your inherent talents. Jordan's plight is a case in point. His journey towards numerous championship victories demanded the assistance of several "whos". The arrival of Scottie Pippen, a newcomer in 1987, catalyzed this transformative process, aiding Jordan to enhance his performance and fostering his growth as a team player. Despite their combined prowess, the Bulls couldn't quite reach the championship finals in the subsequent seasons. They seemed too reliant on Jordan's individual brilliance.

The tides truly turned when Phil Jackson took the Bulls' reins as head coach in 1989. Recognizing the team's dispersed talents, he devised a comprehensive strategy— the triangle offense— aimed at optimizing the entire team's strengths. Over the following years, the Bulls honed this strategy, leading to an incredible run of six championship victories between 1991 and 1998. The road to success demanded more than just Jordan's solo virtuosity.

The trajectory of the Chicago Bulls, therefore, doesn't simply spin a riveting tale. It raises an essential question underscored by the 'Who Not How' ethos. If a basketball icon of Jordan's stature needed several "whos" to actualize his ambitions, what does that imply for us? What are your goals? And importantly, who can help you realize them?

"Who" allies: Enriching your perspective and amplifying your effectiveness

Imagine yourself in the shoes of 16-year-old Richie Norton, a budding entrepreneur with a straightforward objective — to land a job and earn his keep. With summer job options promising a sizeable workload with scanty remuneration, Richie's father proposes a refreshing alternative. He advises Richie to reach out to local watermelon farms, proposing a deal to buy their misshapen or irregularly sized watermelons at a discount to sell to those unperturbed by fruit aesthetics.

Armed with approximately a hundred watermelons and a list of potential customers anticipating the Fourth of July festivities, Richie quickly sells out his entire stock. Thanks to his "Who" — his father — Richie was able to relish a leisurely summer break.

The focal insight here is: "Whos" can magnify your vision and elevate your operational efficiency.

In all probability, young Richie wouldn't have conceived the watermelon idea independently. When you're buttressed by apt support, you experience a shift in your perception of what's achievable and witness a surge in your latent potential.

This is the core principle of the Self-Expansion Model, developed by psychologists Dr. Elaine Aron and Dr. Arthur Aron. This model propagates that your efficacy — or your effectiveness in generating results — hinges on contextual factors rather than an absolute ability. This implies that your potential isn't static; it modulates based on the company you keep. In Richie's scenario, his supportive father, willing to share ingenious ideas, played a more significant role than Richie's inherent sales skills. As opposed to popular belief, the relevance doesn't lie in whether you shoulder all responsibilities, but in the end results.

If your effectiveness can fluctuate, what's the most fruitful way to enhance it? Building close relationships— a gateway to resources that can facilitate your goal attainment. These resources could be tangible, like finances or possessions, or intangible, like someone's time, assistance, or viewpoint.

To identify "Whos" who tick these boxes, introspect and pose a few questions to yourself. What personal or business objective are you single-handedly striving for? If your efforts are solitary, it might be time to invite a "Who" to your venture, enriching it with fresh perspective.

Including others in a shared objective may call for investments of time or money. However, engaging with others — particularly your "Whos" — not only fortifies their involvement but also reaffirms your own commitment.

Procrastination: A double-edged sword with potential for wisdom and harm

The term 'procrastination' likely conjures a familiar mental image — it could be the 90 percent of university students battling chronic procrastination or an aspiring business mogul eager to realize a potential business plan.

Regardless of your scenario, procrastination resonates with most of us, more so owing to the negative impact it elicits. Procrastination can potentially exacerbate psychological harm — amplifying guilt and shame, eroding self-confidence, and potentially deteriorating mental and physical health conditions.

However, there's a flicker of optimism amidst this bleak narrative. If you find yourself procrastinating, it could be indicative of an aspiration or objective you hold dear. The only piece missing might be the requisite knowledge or skill to achieve it independently.

The core insight here is: Procrastination can both mar your self-esteem and well-being, and simultaneously signify wisdom.

The practice of continually deferring tasks or ideas can inadvertently restrict your imagination and self-perception. Over time, you might start doubting your potential to attain significant objectives. This self-deprecating pattern, if unchecked, can spiral into an adverse rut.

The antidote? Decisive action. Once you identify a goal, acknowledge that you need assistance to achieve it. Pose the question — who can facilitate the accomplishment of this goal?

To answer this correctly, you must elucidate your goal and needs with radical transparency. Only then can you identify the apt "Whos" for your mission.

To aid this process, Dan Sullivan, the creator of the Who Not How philosophy, devised a tool called the Impact Filter. Here's an outline of how it operates.

First, articulately document your motivation, the project's purpose, and the likely impact. Do you aim to expand your business, increase your income, or enjoy more leisure time? Be explicit.

Next, introspect: If you act instantly, what's the optimal outcome you can anticipate? Contrast this with the ramifications of inaction — what stands at risk?

Finally, enumerate the desired results that would deem your project successful. If a potential "Who" comprehends the expected results accurately, they are better equipped to assist you in achieving your goal.

Liberty in time cultivates financial freedom

Take a step back to 1997, when Dean Jackson, a seasoned Toronto-based real estate agent, decided to venture to Florida and establish a business that offered coaching to fellow agents. He collaborated with a friend, and they began hosting monthly coaching events. Intent on dedicating his efforts to this new venture, Jackson enlisted the help of a cleaner for his Orlando condominium.

In this mundane arrangement, Jackson experienced an epiphany — his cleaner, Mandy, was capable of so much more than just cleaning. What if she could make Jackson's condo 'week-ready'? This would encompass house cleaning, car maintenance, grocery shopping, laundry — all tasks that would liberate a significant chunk of Jackson's time.

With this proposition, Mandy agreed! She would earn a higher income, and Jackson would secure more time to expand his business.

The central message here is: Time freedom paves the way for financial freedom.

By investing in a "Who", Jackson amplified his earning potential. Although hiring new personnel implies an immediate financial outlay, the long-term implications included more time to concentrate on high-impact activities, like cultivating his coaching business vision and concentrating on strategies for income growth.

When you aim to convert time freedom into financial freedom, there's a crucial question you must pose: Is this task worthy of my attention, or could it be better utilized elsewhere?

This query has been at the forefront for labor and immigration attorney, Jacob Monty, for the past decade. As an illustration, Monty acknowledged the significant time and effort he was squandering on driving himself to client meetings across Houston, Texas, his hometown. The associated stress of potential tardiness and the decision fatigue induced by gridlocked traffic was exhausting and superfluous. To counteract this, he recruited a "Who" — a driver entrusted with road-safety responsibilities.

During these typically 90-minute commutes, Monty was free to review documents and prepare for hearings. While hiring a private driver or an Uber might initially seem like a hefty investment, the additional time and mental lucidity Monty reclaimed allowed him to augment his effectiveness during client meetings, often yielding thousands in additional revenue.

The key to achieving even the most audacious goals partially rests in eliminating non-essential decisions. The optimal way to achieve this? Delegate tasks to a "Who".

Transformative leaders prioritize outcomes over methodologies

Consider Nicole Wipp, a Michigan-based attorney, who initiated her law firm amidst the 2008 financial crash. Initially, she lacked an employee base, rendering her liable for every facet of her business, spanning client calls, court appearances, emails, research, and drafting legal documents. After enduring 18 months of arduous 80- to 100-hour workweeks, she concluded that a change was imperative.

Despite being a proficient attorney who practically lived at work, Wipp didn't enjoy either time or financial freedom. The revelation was that she didn't need to assume responsibility for everything. In reality, others were better equipped to perform many of her tasks.

The primary takeaway here is: Transformative leaders prioritize outcomes over methodologies.

When a leader endeavors to manage everything single-handedly, it's a surefire path to exhaustion and diminished productivity. It's also indicative of a lack of clarity in her vision. In Wipp's situation, her focus on the process — the How — overshadowed her objective, thereby impeding her progress. When she sought someone to co-manage her firm, her first "Who" proved less than beneficial. This was primarily because Wipp hadn't crystallized her vision for her personal life and business, so she was unsure about the impact she desired her "Who" to create.

Upon identifying why she needed assistance and how it would enhance her personal life and finances, incorporating "Whos" into her law firm became a more streamlined process. This paved the way for effective task delegation. Wipp acknowledged that she required downtime from work for recovery. She recruited several full-time employees for her team, each entrusted with achieving results in specific areas.

Furthermore, she reinforced her commitment to both facets of the equation — lending support to her employees when required and prioritizing her self-care. In psychological terms, this is known as escalation of commitment. The more you invest in a goal or project, the more committed you become to it.

The commitment exhibited by leaders tends to inspire employees. As per the theory of transformational leadership, leaders like Wipp invest in their "Whos", while also posing challenges and offering mentorship. By fostering creativity within your team, you grant each member greater autonomy and foster independent thinking. Ultimately, transformative leaders inspire everyone involved to mirror their level of commitment.

Delivering value in interactions breeds transformational not transactional bonds

We've seen the significant role "Whos" play with the right vision and commitment. But what happens when you find yourself in the shoes of someone's "Who"? In many instances, the "Who Not How" realm is a two-way avenue. While someone might be helping you achieve a goal, you could simultaneously help them realize their own dreams.

An integral ingredient for success is offering value to others because neither time freedom nor financial freedom can be achieved without relationship freedom — the capacity to connect with anyone you choose to exchange value.

It's natural to perceive others through the lens of your personal objectives. However, to cultivate enduring relationships, adopting a "What’s in it for me?" attitude isn't a viable strategy. Instead, engage potential "Whos" with a proposal of how you can assist them, asking "What’s in it for them?"

The fundamental point here is: Delivering value in all interactions ensures they are transformational and not transactional.

By concentrating on the value you can offer others, you'll gain the support of a larger network, who will in turn be more eager to assist you.

This attitude forms the bedrock of Joe Polish’s mastermind groups, Genius Network and GeniusX. Often hailed as “the most connected man in business,” Polish's networking principles largely contribute to his reputation.

For instance, when Polish contributed to businessman Richard Branson’s charity foundation Virgin Unite, he was invited to a dinner with Branson and a select group of donors. While the other donors focused on extracting as much value as possible from Branson, Polish adopted a contrasting approach. He spent the evening demonstrating how he could offer value to Branson.

Upon hearing Polish’s proposal to boost donations through an educational video, Branson asked him to document it. As a result, Polish was the only donor to receive Branson’s private email address. Years later, Polish and Branson continue to collaborate, with Polish becoming Virgin Unite’s most substantial fundraiser. He has remained committed to the "What’s in it for them?" perspective. Consequently, he’s consistently delivered value and fostered his relationship with one of the world's most influential business leaders.

A final critical component for transformational relationships is gratitude. It's crucial to recognize and appreciate people's efforts. Whenever a "Who" lends you a hand, express heartfelt gratitude. Acknowledge her and show that you recognize the significance of her work. An attitude of humility and gratitude will help you sustain good relationships and draw other "Whos" to you.

Embracing collaboration amplifies your sense of purpose.

Try to recall your elementary school days. How frequently were you and your classmates encouraged to work together on assignments and exams? The answer for most would likely be seldom. Too often, we are schooled from an early age that seeking help equates to cheating, and this mindset usually seeps into adulthood, fostering guilt around asking for assistance.

This perspective promotes seclusion over teamwork, even when the latter could propel us forward. Here lies the issue: Completely avoiding help restricts your sense of purpose – that is, your capacity to form significant relationships with others. However, acknowledging the necessity of cooperative relationships rather than treating them as an option can greatly extend the reach of your endeavors.

The central point here is: Embracing collaboration amplifies your sense of purpose.

Take the case of Karen Nance, a San Francisco-based attorney, who harbored the desire to author a biography about her grandmother, Ethel Ray Nance, a renowned civil rights activist, for over two decades. As Ray's granddaughter, Nance had exclusive access to personal details inaccessible to others, and was eager to unveil her story to the world. But once she embarked on the writing journey, she quickly realized that crafting a biography from scratch was a daunting task.

Over time, the project momentum dwindled, reducing it to an endless pursuit. Nance had penned approximately 200 disjointed pages when she was contacted by Dr. Ethelene Whitmire, a history professor from the University of Wisconsin. Whitmire, who specializes in Black feminist history, was in the process of working on a biography about Nance's grandmother! Initially, this news triggered defensiveness in Nance as she saw Whitmire as a competitor in the biography writing race. She feared that sharing her exclusive information would put her at a disadvantage.

But after consultation with Dan Sullivan, the pioneer of the Who Not How principle, Nance recognized the golden opportunity before her. She suggested to Whitmire that they co-author the biography instead of competing, capitalizing on their unique strengths. Nance could contribute the one-of-a-kind biographical details, while Whitmire could bring her academic expertise and prior experience in writing another biography to the table. This partnership ensured that Nance's grandmother received the recognition she deserved with an unparalleled level of detail that neither Nance nor Whitmire could have accomplished individually. This collaboration also freed up Nance to focus on other objectives, such as her human rights nonprofit work. So, while concentrating on the "How" led to stress and isolation, the shift to the "Who" approach allowed her to achieve far more.

Concluding thoughts

Here's the crux of our discussion:

Adopting a "Who" rather than a "How" mentality can lead to unparalleled productivity and progress. While pursuing a goal, engage the right "Whos" to tackle those tasks that consume precious time. With the regained time freedom, concentrate on high-impact activities that bolster your income. Lastly, by establishing relationships anchored in value creation for others and expressing heartfelt gratitude for their assistance, you can enhance your outcomes and broaden your vision.

Who Not How Quotes by Dan Sullivan with Benjamin Hardy

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