Like most entrepreneurs, Carl Castledine worked crazy hours.  

“By sheer grit and willpower, he was able to build up a decent clientele,” write Dan Sullivan and Benjamin Hardy in Who Not How.  Still, Carl knew his company, Away Resorts, could do better.  Specifically, he needed to improve the company’s website and online presence.

So, Carl went to work.  “On top of the ridiculous hours he was already working, he began staying up all night learning to code for several months,” Dan and Ben write.  He spent hundreds of hours learning to code and build websites.  

Yet, there were problems.  “His company was being neglected.  His sleep was being taxed.  His energy was draining and his patience running thin,” the authors write.

Finally, Carl hit a breaking point.  

In desperation, he reached out to a web developer and asked for an estimate to build the website.  The cost?  $1500.

“Carl’s face went white,” Dan and Ben write.  “He felt like a ‘jackass.’ The low amount of the fee shocked him, given the amount of time he’d invested as well as the value of his time as CEO.”

The lesson was clear: By doing everything ourselves, we miss out on the growth that comes with investing in Whos.  Which in turn, frees us up to work on high-impact activities.  

Carl took the lesson to heart.  “For years, Carl managed the sales team of his company,” write Dan and Ben.  “By all accounts, he did a good job.  But in 2017, he decided to hire a sales manager so he could focus on other aspects of the company.” He paid his new sales executive a $150,000 in salary.

“Within a year of hiring this sales manager, the company’s profits went up 25 percent, netting an additional $3 million during that first year.  

Carl believes waiting seven years to hire a sales manager cost the company at least $15 million.  “He is no longer willing to burn time like he did before,” the authors write.  “His standards have elevated.  He’s committed to results now.  He’s committed to freedom.  He’s not going to blow his time and future on stuff that other people would gladly do for him.”

Many of us are like Carl.  We’ve been trained to think in terms of cost, not investment.  Who not How changes that.  We realize investing in Whos is an investment in ourselves and our future.  

“Every time Carl invests in a Who, such as paying someone $1500 for a website, he saves himself dozens or hundreds of hours that he can spend doing something more valuable and profitable.  That time, if focused on the right things, could add millions of dollars to the bottom line.”

We’ve got it wrong.  “It wasn’t a cost to add that sales manager.  It was actually costing Carl and the company to not have him,” Dan and Ben note.


Reflection: When faced with a problem or challenge, do I typically ask “How” or “Who”?

Action: Discuss with a colleague or with my team.

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