Who Not How: The Formula To Achieve Bigger Goals Through Accelerating Teamwork

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By: Dan Sullivan

Rating: A+

I have several friends and guys that I look up to that have Dan Sullivan as their personal executive coach. This was my first exposure to him. The book was well written and is easily the best book I have read in 2021. I have so much thinking to do after this book. It challenged me in so many areas in such a good way. You need to read this one.



Chapter 1: “Whos” Create Abundance And Self-Expansion

The main concept in the book is how you approach your goals and obstacles. A common approach is to ask “how do I solve this problem?” The better approach, the book would argue, is to ask “who can help me solve this problem?”


  • limits you to your own knowledge and capabilities.
  • requires that you be the one to engage your time and attention into the particular task.
  • decreases your Freedom of Time.


  • immediately connects you with different knowledge, insights, and capability.
  • is about getting the desired RESULT as effectively as possible.
  • can immediately free up hundreds of hours, which you can spend in better and more meaningful ways.
  • expands your vision for what is possible, because you no longer see yourself as the sole means of achieving the result.

Self-expansion is a core human motivation, and it occurs through Whos.

Chapter 2: The Truth About Procrastination And How To Kill It

People waste a lot of time procrastinating. Procrastination is the by-product of having a goal and asking “How?” instead of “Who?” It is a lack of clarity of how to do something. Putting yourself in that position constantly leaves you hopeless, helpless, and ultimately causes you to lose ambition.

“I don’t know how to do this or where to even start….why bother?”

Paradoxically, though, procrastination is actually wisdom. It is your inner genius saying, “The goal is amazing! But you’re not the one to do everything involved!” 

Take procrastination as a cue to find an expert to help you solve a problem.

To be a good leader you need to be clear and explicit about the vision though. 

You don’t have to be clear on the How but fight for clarity around your vision. There are countless brilliant and capable Whos out there waiting and wanting to help you. They need only to hear and understand your vision.

Chapter 3: Find Whos For All Aspects Of Your Life

Your potential is virtually limitless when you stop asking “How?” and start asking “Who?”

When you ask “Who?” you can create results 10x faster than if you ask “How?” Be committed to results and not activity. Everyone is busy. Most people work hard every day but most people don’t prioritize the things that actually need to get done to produce results. 

You can apply Who Not How both personally and professionally. What are you doing at home that is wasting your potential and time? By freeing yourself up from Hows, you’ll have a reborn sense of purpose and clarity. You’ll feel like you’ve been given another life to live.

Every 90 days, you should look at your life and determine where you can free up your time, energy, and focus by getting Whos to support your ambitions in all aspects of your life.


Chapter 4: Time Creates Money

You can’t have money freedom until you achieve time freedom.

By freeing up your time, you get the invaluable benefit of freeing up your mind. By freeing up your time, you can focus on higher impact activities – such as strategizing or creating – which will automatically increase your income.

Improving how you spend your time automatically improves your ability to make money.

Making the single decision to add a Who to a specific area of your life eliminates decision fatigue in that area. Eliminating decision fatigue from your life should be one of your primary goals if you want to be a high performer and increase your income.

Chapter 5: Commit To Specific Results

“You can know what you’re committed to by your results, not by what you say your commitments are. We are all committed. We are all producing results. The result is proof of a commitment.”

If you are truly committed to a result, you’ll need to focus on Who, not How.

Extreme commitment comes from clarity of vision and the autonomy to execute that vision in whatever way the Who sees fit.

Transformational leaders invest in their Whos, challenge them, help them clearly see the vision, and ultimately, get their Whos just as committed and invested as they are.

Without clarity of vision, autonomy is not effective.

With clarity of vision, as well as consistent feedback on results, autonomy leads to high performance.

Leaders should be committed to results, not to a particular process. Rather than micromanaging the process, leadership should provide freedom and autonomy as well as extreme clarity and high standards of excellence.

Chapter 6: If You Have Enough Money To Solve A Problem, You Don’t Have A Problem

“Lessons are repeated until learned.”

Focusing on How will greatly limit your ability to make money.

Believing that “doing all of the Hows yourself is noble” is a limiting belief. It is not noble.

When you focus on How, it’s often based on a scarcity mindset and cost avoidance.

Trying to avoid costs by engaging in Hows will cost you and your future huge in the long run. By seeing Whos as an investment, rather than a cost, you can quickly 10x or more your income and revenue. By seeing Whos as an investment, rather than a cost, you can create transformational relationships, in which all parties give more than they take, rather than transactional ones.

By seeing yourself as an investment, rather than a cost, you can expand your Freedom of Time, Money, Relationship, and Purpose.


Chapter 7: How To Be A Good Who For Others

Never enter a relationship without having first created value in that relationship.

Never stop creating value and nurturing your relationships.

Always ask “What’s in it for them?” rather than “What’s in it for me?” Know what the other person cares about. Get to know them, their context, and their goals. Give relevant value. Don’t waste their time. Do your homework.

If you want to develop transformational relationships, then approach relationships in a transformational, rather than a transactional, way.

Bring a result to the table. Make the pie bigger for everyone involved. Don’t come with big promises of future results. Bring immediate results. Don’t promise what you can’t deliver.

Be a generous giver who is truly committed to service and growth, not status.

Be nice to the people you meet on the way up because they are the same people you meet on the way down.

Be grateful in large and small ways to the people in your life and you’ll attract incredible abundance.

Chapter 8: How To Avoid The Wrong Whos, Even Highly Attractive Ones

In order to have Freedom of Relationship, you can no longer engage with people that don’t align with your vision.

You can build buffers and systems to ensure you no longer directly work with people who aren’t relevant.

As you say no to people and opportunities that don’t align with the vision of your future self, your confidence will increase. Your team will also become more confident in you as a leader.

Your current self no longer tolerates situations and people that your former self once tolerated. Your future self will not tolerate nor engage with situations or people that you currently tolerate. As you make courageous decisions based on the future you want to create, you can make bolder leaps into your freedom and success.

Chapter 9: How To Create Effective Collaborations

“No matter how brilliant your mind or strategy, if you’re playing a solo game, you’ll always lose out to a team.”

Wherever you see brilliant work happening, collaboration is happening.

You don’t have all the answers. It’s wise to consider yourself ignorant on most things, and to seek other people’s perspectives and solutions.

Apply the 80% rule to move projects forward by not over-obsessing about your part of the project. Get feedback fast!

Be radically open and honest in your communication. Ask for help when you need it.

Seek to be a hero to those you work with, and you’ll do your best work for them.


Chapter 10: Stop Competing And Start Collaborating

“A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others.”

Focusing on “How” 

  • makes you rigid and non-collaborative in your thinking.
  • stresses you out, because you’re already busy and can’t juggle it all.
  • leads you to being isolated in your goals, and ultimately slows your progress.

Being isolated in your goals diminishes your dreams.

Competition stunts creative innovation and limits your future.

Collaboration immediately expands your Freedom of Purpose and vision, because what you can do with others is exponentially more than what you can do by yourself

Collaboration allows you to focus on what you want to focus on and not feel guilty about getting help. 

Collaboration transforms the initial intent of the project into something surprisingly better and more impactful than you would have planned on your own. Collaboration brings different perspectives and more creative solutions. By expanding your vision, your Freedom of Purpose also expands.

Chapter 11: Whos Expand Your Vision And Purpose

“If you organize your life around your passion, you can turn your passion into your story and then turn your story into something bigger – something that matters.”

Only through Whos can your purpose and life be transformed and expanded.

Whos help you see potential in your future, and in your work, that you can’t presently see for yourself. Whos expand your vision, giving you the confidence to pursue big goals.

Your Whos ultimately become your purpose.


Stop thinking “how can I” and think “who can help me!” Building a team of “Whos” is powerful and fulfilling. It takes you from a scarcity mindset to one of abundance. It allows you to think bigger and more creatively. Having talented “Whos” allows you to focus on results, provide them with autonomy and incentivize them to win like owners. When you are intentional and strategic with your vision and team, your impact is greater and you are a better steward of your gifts, talents, and circumstances.

Next Actions: 

Look at the vision for the next 1, 3, and 5 years for our business. 

What are the greatest obstacles to attaining that vision?

Who do we need to help attain that vision?

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