Book Review: It’s the WHO NOT THE HOW by Dan Sullivan

This week’s tip is focused on insights from Dan Sullivan’s book, Who Not the How. As an expert and agency owner, my fight between the “how” and the “who” has been an ongoing challenge until I started asking a better question. As an expert in my field, I wore the “I can figure it out” badge of honor for a long time. I prided myself on being able to dig in and be the one to find solutions and ways to solve any client challenge that came up in my agency. The question that I lead with was always, “How can I achieve this?”. In fact, I remember when I first went out on my own, I would have potential clients that would come to me and ask me if I could do XYZ and I always said ”YES!” However, then I would go to my office and devour every book, tutorial and online course to figure out how to do it and then fulfill on the project. For years, I thought that mentality was what would make me stand out and grow my agency.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t until I learned a few hard lessons as an agency owner that I couldn’t actually do it all myself and be the only one with the answers. I needed to have people around me to take what we were doing to the next level. So that is when I learned to ask a different and better question, “Who can help me achieve this?”.

With the right “whos” in place, your vision and purpose will expand dramatically.

Dan Sullivan

See this in Action:

  1. Harness the power of the “who” – you instantly get access to knowledge, insights, resources and capabilities that are not currently available to you.

Find the Right Employees to Leverage the Who’s:

I will always remember the first time I really, truly felt the impact of this. I had a strong team (for the first time) and we were about to go into a client brainstorming meeting. Prior to that point, I lead the meetings and brought the vision and goal to the table but also my ideas and suggestions. I thought that I was being helpful and sharing my creativity. However, I had recently learned this concept and wanted to test it. So I sat back and let the project manager lead the meeting and soon they were brainstorming and coming up with concepts without me needing to help coach them. It was the first time in my agency where I wasn’t actually *needed* to get the work done. It was so magical — I had finally found The Who’s I needed to expand on my vision. That team accomplished more than I could on my own and helped me step almost completely away from the execution of the work.

Find the Right Mentors and Coaches To Leverage the Who’s:

My second example of this is to find mentors and coaches who can instantly show you the fastest path to results. Think of the time and effort it takes to learn HOW to do everything on your own. Is it possible? Yes, of course. But when you have a strong who that can provide you tools, resources and expertise to short cut your process and help you stay out of trouble, think of how much higher and faster you can go. A few years ago, I knew that one of my areas of opportunity was how to scale the agency to get to the next level of growth. I had tried a few approaches that failed so I was searching for a solution that would work. I found myself at a conference and right then and there signed up to work with one of the greatest salesmen I have ever seen – just to learn what he could teach me about how to find the right people to help as well as a pre-defined path that created an opportunity for me that I wouldn’t have had without that mentor. This was truly leveraging a WHO solution.

How about you? The next time you are faced with a situation where you naturally ask yourself, “How do I do this?” I challenge you instead to ask “Who do I need to achieve this?” And see what opens up for you.

Go check out Dan Sullivan’s book, Who Not How for more insights and let me know what parts of the book resonate with you in the comments below.

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