Story: In his latest blog, Peter Diamandis sparked my interest with a simple, although not simplistic premise:
“When most entrepreneurs (including me) face a challenge, our first reaction is to ask: ‘how do I solve this problem?’ My coach, Dan Sullivan (CEO of Strategic Coach), taught me a powerful management shortcut for success. Don’t ask ‘how.’ Instead, ask ‘who?’… Dan Sullivan explained, ‘Our education system plays a major role in why we ask HOW and not WHO from the get-go. With the exception of a few exceptional schools, the education system is designed to prepare people for a life of ‘HOW.’ Kids in traditional classrooms around the world are graded on HOW they solve particular problems on their own. When you leave school, you need to collaborate and delegate to thrive. But in school, they don’t call it collaborating and delegating — they call it cheating.’ The education system engrains asking HOW and discourages asking WHO.’”
Key Point: I agree with Diamandis and Sullivan. I have been most successful when I have delegated the right “WHO” versus over-managing the “HOW.” In my view, assigning the best possible “WHO” will figure out the way to execute the “HOW.” Often, people have accused me of trying to do too much in parallel. Reflecting on Diamandis and Sullivan’s observations, I think that’s because they were overwhelmed with concentrating on the “HOW,” while my confidence increased with my support and commitment to the “WHO.” And as Diamandis concludes: “At the end of the day, while it’s really important for you as a leader to be smart, driven, ethical and visionary, the only way for you to scale your impact is to build an incredible team of WHOs behind you.”
Personal Leadership Moves:
- Ask yourself where you have been chosen to be THE WHO. I’m not talking about your job description. Where are you THE person responsible for the outcome?
- Become and deliver on as many HOWs by being assigned as the WHO. That will define contribution and build confidence! Find a way!
- If you’re in a position to delegate, then be sure to pay attention to clarifying the WHO as a priority. This will likely result with a much better outcome on the HOW.
Becoming the WHO in personal leadership,
One Millennial View: It’s likely we’ve heard the adage, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” More recently, I’ve also heard that evolve to, “it’s not who you know, it’s who knows you.” Sometimes it’s a lot more challenging to become the WHO than complete the HOW. But I’d like to think lots of us are willing to be WHO attempts to figure out that path.
Edited and published by Garrett Rubis