1: Are we keeping our goals so small so we can accomplish them on our own?  ask Dan Sullivan and Benjamin Hardy in Who Not How: The Formula to Achieve Bigger Goals Through Accelerating Teamwork.

Do we believe we must put in all of the “blood, sweat, and tears,” doing all of the work ourselves? 

Here’s the challenge we inevitably face when we imagine a bigger and better future for ourselves and our organizations: the desired outcome is bigger than our current capabilities.

So what do we do?  Typically, we ask: “HOW do I accomplish this goal?”

“Although this question seems intuitive, it’s actually the worst possible question you could ask (assuming you want to be happy and successful),” write Dan and Ben.  “That question, although common, leads to mediocre results, frustration, and a life of regrets.”

2: Everything changes if we learn to ask a different question: “WHO can help me achieve this?”

What would happen in our lives, the authors ask, if we asked this question about everything we wanted to accomplish?

How would our goals change if we could find people—Who—that could help us achieve everything we wanted in life?

How would our time be spent if we were no longer the ones doing everything?

How would our income change if we could achieve all our goals, not just some of them?

To ask “Who” questions, we must unlearn much of what we’ve been taught growing up.  “Our public education system is entirely based on ‘How,'” Dan and Ben observe.  “When we are small, we are taught that getting others’ help is ‘cheating’ and something we must avoid.

“It can be easy to focus on ‘How,’ especially for high achievers who want to control what they can control, which is themselves.  It takes vulnerability and trust to expand [our] efforts and build a winning team.

“It takes wisdom to recognize that 1) other people are more than capable enough to handle much of the Hows, and 2) that your efforts and contribution (your “Hows”) should be focused exclusively where [our] greatest passion and impact are,” the authors write.  “Our attention and energy should not be spread thin, but purposefully directed where [we] can experience extreme flow and creativity.”

3: Yesterday, we studied how Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls asked “Who” questions to win six NBA Championships. 

“Results, not effort, is the name of the game,” write Dan and Ben.  We “are rewarded in life by the results [we] produce, not the effort and time [we] put in.  All too often, there is a lack of commitment to results and an over-infatuation with ‘process’ or ‘hard work.'”

Do we need to work hard?  Yes.  Do we need to focus on learning and getting better at getting better?  Of course, we do.  But none of this matters if we fail to translate our effort into real and rare results.

To experience success at the highest levels– things we can’t even dream of or imagine in our present situation–only happens through teamwork and collaboration. 

“By focusing on “Who” and not “How,” we set ourselves up to achieve our goals, Dan and Ben write, and our “level of accomplishment, and thus freedom, will dramatically increase in all key areas—time, money, relationships, and purpose.”

More tomorrow!


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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