Summary: Who not How by Dan Sullivan and Dr. Benjamin Hardy

1. Results, not effort, is the name of the game. You are rewarded in life by the results you produce, not the effort and time you put in.

2. 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 your 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 your greatest passion and impact are. Your attention and energy should not be spread thin, but purposefully directed where you can experience extreme flow and creativity.

3. If you’re ready to realize a much bigger and more powerful future, then you must stop asking yourself, “How can I accomplish this?” That question, although common, leads to mediocre results, frustration, and a life of regrets. A much better question is: “Who can help me achieve this?”

4. That’s what real leadership is: Creating and clarifying the vision (the “what”), and giving that vision greater context and importance (the “why”) for all Whos involved. Once the “what” and “why” have clearly been established, the specified “Who” or “Whos” have all they need to go about executing the “How.” All the leader needs to do at that point is support and encourage the Who(s) through the process.

5. You don’t get preferential treatment with Hows, but with Whos who know what they’re doing.

6. It is critically important to understand that Who Not How goes both ways. Yes, Tucker, Reid, and I are Dan’s Whos on this book. But Dan is also a Who to each of us.

7. Ultimately, Who Not How is about teaching you how to focus on what you can do, and then finding other Whos to do what they can do.

8. In every “Who” relationship, you will have Whos, and you will also be a Who. No Who is viewed as better or more important than the other. All Whos are essential to getting the project done. There is love and respect among Whos. Each member of the team views the other as a collaborator on a shared mission, and each member wants to be a hero to the others.

9. Not only must the Who fully own the How, but they must have complete permission to do so.

10. If you’re going to apply higher levels of teamwork in your life, you’ll need to relinquish control over how things get done.

11. A core aspect of leadership is being explicit about the vision. The more explicit you are in what you want, the faster you’ll attract the right Whos to help you achieve that vision. The leader explains the “What” and “Why” and then allows the “Who” to execute the “How.”

12. “How” is linear and slow. “Who” is non-linear, instantaneous, and exponential.

13. TIME - Today Is My Everything.

14. Your Whos manage themselves; they aren’t managed by you. They have full responsibility for how they handle themselves because you’ve made the vision abundantly clear and exciting. You’ve then given them full ownership over executing and achieving the vision in whatever way suits them.

15. As it turns out, this isn’t just a fancy idea. Research shows that only 16 percent of creative insight happens while you’re at work. Instead, ideas generally come while you’re at home or in transit, or during recreational activity.

16. You need time and space, and most important, relaxation and recovery, to allow ideas and solutions to ferment and form.

17. The point here is, as you engage in relationships, you expand your efficacy as a person. Your efficacy is your ability to produce results, and it is based on the resources you have to put toward those results. Resources can be financial, but they can also be so much more than that. Encouragement, time, and focus are just as essential as monetary support. Resources not only expand your ability to produce results, but can have a transformational effect on you as a person—on your identity, worldview, and skill level.

18. For example, if you want to improve your health, you could simply get a gym membership. Or you could hire a personal trainer. Yes, this would be an investment, one you may not think you have the capacity to make. However, by hiring a personal trainer, your capabilities and potential in your health and fitness will expand. You’ll be able to produce better results because you’ll get the coaching and support you need. Additionally, by being invested, you’ll be more motivated and focused, not semi-committed.

19. Again, getting Whos is how you get committed.

20. Meta-analytic research shows that confidence is the by-product of recent performance or recent progress toward your goals. By growing your confidence, your imagination and future will simultaneously grow as well.

21. Procrastination doesn’t only stop your confidence from growing. You also limit your imagination, preventing you from seeking out bigger and bigger goals. Your identity or self-concept becomes limited. You stop believing you can achieve big goals, because your identity is largely shaped by your behavior. And this pattern will cause you to assume the same for your future. Thus, procrastination leads to a small self-image and an increasingly smaller future for yourself. You stop trusting in yourself. You stop believing in yourself.

22. Paradoxically, procrastination is actually a form of wisdom. Procrastination is a psychological phenomenon that occurs when you really want something more for yourself, but you lack the knowledge and capability to do it.

23. Procrastination is a very powerful signal telling you that it’s time to get another Who involved. You’re stuck. You need help.

24. Applying Who Not How, and thus killing procrastination, requires two essential steps: 

  • Be radically explicit about your goals. 

  • Ask yourself: Who can help me accomplish this goal?

25. Dan has created a tool that helps to define the vision, what successful completion of the project looks like, and why it is so important. He calls this tool the Impact Filter.

26. The Impact Filter, as a one-page document, solves this most pervasive leadership conundrum, and is comprised of the following questions: 

  • What is the project? 

  • Purpose: What do you want to accomplish? 

  • Importance: What’s the biggest difference this will make? 

  • Ideal Outcome: What does the completed project look like? 

  • Best Result: If you do take action? 

  • Worst Result: If you don’t take action? 

  • Success Criteria: What has to be true when this project is finished?

27. Now that you’ve clarified and become explicit about your goal, you must refrain from trying to figure out “How” to accomplish it.

28. You’ll try to convince yourself why other people may not want to get involved. You may think you can’t afford the right Whos, or that you’re not a great leader. All sorts of limiting beliefs will flood through your mind, trying to get you to focus on the Hows, not the Whos. Without question, it takes courage to tell people your vision. It takes courage and leadership to get other people involved.

29. Dan often says, “The purpose of the Impact Filter is first to sell yourself on the vision, because you can’t sell other people unless you’re sold yourself.”

30. There are plenty of incredible and capable people who want to and will help you. All you need to do is tell them your vision. Spell it out for them. The Impact Filter actually does that for you. Then ask yourself: “Who can help me accomplish this goal?”

31. Once you’ve identified the needed person to help you accomplish your goal, it’s time to get that person engaged and executing the needed Hows. In order to do so, you’ll need to ensure your vision also matches their vision for themselves, and that you can clearly become a powerful Who to them. If you can, and if helping you achieve your vision will help them simultaneously become who they want to be, then you’ve got your Who.

32.  Unless you’re brilliant at finding Whos, you should probably find a Who to find your Whos.

33. You can start small. Each small win builds confidence and an increased sense that you can create the life you want. Start by simply eliminating all tasks or distractions that are unnecessary to your future self. Often, we engage in tasks simply out of habit. If it can be eliminated altogether, then eliminate it. Your future self will thank you.

34. Challenge: Add at least one Who to your goals in the next 90 days in whatever area of your life you choose. By adding a Who, your commitment will increase and your behavior will improve.

35. By investing in Whos you not only utilize their time and resources, but also free yourself up to focus your time and attention on your most high-value activities.

36. Some people don’t invest in Whos like Connie because they don’t view them as an investment, but as a cost. They worry about the amount of money they’ll have to pay their Who, rather than thinking about how that Who could elevate their vision and free up their time.

37. The time I spend writing books and recording podcasts is worth at least 10X or even 100X the time I spent scheduling podcasts.

38. Escalation of Commitment: Every time you invest yourself in something, you become more committed to it.

39. Our culture has brainwashed us into avoiding costs rather than making powerful investments in ourselves and our futures.

40. You’re either in the “Time and Effort Economy” or the “Results Economy.”

41. Whos, when selected properly to fit within your vision, are never a cost. Whos are an investment.

42. “You can survive without a community, but you can’t thrive without one.”

43. First and foremost, when it comes to connecting with someone, you should want to be connected with them. It shouldn’t be a chore. There shouldn’t be any desire to avoid contact or escape from them.

44. “I don’t want to work on a relationship. I just want a relationship that works,”

45. The moral to the story: Don’t reach out to someone unless you have something meaningful to offer them. That “something” needs to be real and relevant, not just a compliment or flattery. True and real value.

46. It’s a back-and-forth process. Rather than sitting by yourself, trying to perfect the idea without feedback, it’s far more effective to throw your ideas out there fast, get feedback from your team, and then adjust as you go. The faster you get at throwing out incomplete work, the faster it will transform into something great. Dan calls this the 80 percent rule. You can get to 80 percent of a project very quickly, such as writing a rough draft. However, going from 80 percent to 90 percent is exponentially more work than going from 0 to 80 percent. Going from 90 to 100 percent is a mountain.

47. It all starts by setting a goal, a new and bigger version of your own future. Then your next step is to ask, “Who can help me do this?”