“These young guys are playing checkers. I’m out there playing chess,” NBA superstar Kobe Bryant once remarked.
1: Many of us are playing checkers, Dan Sullivan and Benjamin Hardy write in Who Not How: The Formula to Achieve Bigger Goals Through Accelerating Teamwork.
Why? Because when a new challenge or opportunity comes our way, we ask, “How?” As in: “How can I do this?”
A better approach? Learn to ask: “Who.” As in: “Who can help me achieve this goal?” When we learn and apply Who Not How, we move from playing someone else’s game “to designing what the objective is, and what pieces need to be on the board,” the authors write.
Who Not How teaches us to focus on what we can do and then find other Whos to do what they can do. In every “Who” relationship, we will have Whos, and we will also be a Who. “No Who is viewed as better or more important than the other,” write Dan and Ben.
2: Once we’ve become precise about our goal, the unlocking move is to resist our tendency to focus on “How” to accomplish it. Doing so often entails an entirely new way of showing up in the world. Because we may flood our minds with limiting beliefs. Other people won’t want to get involved, we tell ourselves. Or, we can’t afford the right Whos. Or maybe even, we’re not a great leader.
“Without question, it takes courage to tell people [our] vision,” the authors write. “It takes courage and leadership to get other people involved.”
The good news? When we push through these types of thoughts, we learn there are “plenty of incredible and capable people who want to and will help [us],” Dan and Ben write. Not only that, we become a powerful Who for them.
One smart move is to find a Who to help us find other Whos. Ben shares the example of his executive assistant, Whitney Bishop, who excels at finding, screening, and hiring people: “Whenever I increase my vision for my future, I complete an Impact Filter to clarify that vision,” Ben shares. “Then I give that Impact Filter to Whitney, who takes it and goes about searching for and finding Whos who are attracted to the vision and raise their hand to indicate they want to do the job.”
Dan and Ben believe that one of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs and leaders make is “micromanaging their Whos and insisting that they do their jobs in a particular way.”
Our concern is that the job gets done. Once we’ve defined what success looks like, it’s best to stand back and let our Who do what they do. “I’m not entirely sure of [Whitney’s] process for hiring because it’s her process, not mine,” Ben observes. “That’s part of the magic, I don’t need to do it because I don’t want to do it. I’m not the Who for that job. Therefore, I would never tell Whitney “How” to do this. She’s brilliant at it and loves doing it.”
But what if we don’t have a Whitney? The authors recommend sharing our Impact Filter everywhere people are looking for jobs, including on social media.
3: Just as Whitney is a Who for Ben, he is also a Who for her. “For instance, Whitney would not be the same person she is now if I hadn’t hired her. She not only makes a great income and supports her family, but as the leader of my team, she has developed skills she might never have otherwise cultivated. She’s read dozens of books she would not have read. She told other team members and me that this job has changed her life.
“Likewise, it’s interesting to reflect on who I would be without Whitney. She has totally transformed my business,” Ben reflects. “She has taken so much stress from my life,” he reflects. “She’s the one who has built my team, trained them, and runs the show. Without her, my goals would not be as big and exciting as they are now.”
The takeaway from Ben and Whitney’s story? “There is an army of ready and willing Whos; capable people out there who want to do the very work [we] need done,” the authors note.
Building these types of relationships allows us to expand as a person and immediately increases our ability to achieve our goals in life.
Reflection: What area of my life would benefit by identifying a Who to solve a problem or take on a new opportunity?
Action: Do it.