Book Review: Who Not How by Dan Sullivan

By Marc Shaffer

Connections. This book is about connections and their immense value. I tend to think my life is also about connections, which may be why I am so drawn to “Who Not How: The Formula to Achieve Bigger Goals Through Accelerating Teamwork,” by Dan Sullivan with Dr. Benjamin Hardy.

The initial opening of the book is a story about Michael Jordon, who I grew up idolizing as a child as the best basketball player that ever lived. You see, although he was arguably the greatest player, he couldn’t win a championship for his first six years in the NBA.

My Basketball Team(Pictured: Marc dreaming of his future basketball career and how to work as a team. Can you spot him? Hint: He’s #13)

Although Jordan may have been the most talented individual player, he needed support. The book explains how they added Scottie Pippen (another favorite player from my childhood) and Phil Jackson as Head Coach to create a game plan of “who not how” to be successful in the post season in the NBA. It also talks about Tim Grover, Jordan’s private strength and conditioning coach, who contributed to his overall success. Jordan couldn’t win a championship on his own. There needed to be more WHOs in the mix.

Michael Jordan’s true brilliance was only possible as he transformed into more of a team player, built around a team system, led by a genius coach.

I feel like I’m watching some of this happen as the Kansas City Chiefs dominate in the NFL with Patrick Mahomes; as one of the other greatest quarterbacks of all time, Tom Brady, retires. Failure can stop you if you let it or drive you ahead if you learn from it. Like what we are seeing for Mahomes and the Chiefs, failures were exactly what the Bulls organization needed in the 80’s to deepen their commitment to their ultimate goal. I’m hopeful that the success the Bulls organization had is also true for the Chiefs in the future!

When you’re faced with a problem, do you consider HOW you can solve it?

“How” is linear and slow. It puts all the weight and responsibility on yourself, even if you’re not the best person for the job.

What if, instead, you consider who the WHOs are in your life?

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

When you train your brain to think about WHO in your life can help you achieve something, you instantly get access to knowledge, insights, resources and capabilities that you might not have yourself.

After reading the premise of the book, I realized that our company had done exactly that over the years. At one point, our founder Mike Searcy was the only person with Searcy Financial Services. He learned that in order to take his business to the next level, he had to surround himself with more WHOs talented in a variety of other areas that weren’t his primary strength or focus. It took him focusing on WHO could help him create a better company to serve our clients to build the team we have today. He also utilized this thought process to choose our new leadership officers:

Although our team at Searcy Financial Services provides comprehensive financial planning and investment management services, there are several services related to finances that we know are important to our clients. Knowing that we can’t be experts at everything, we needed a network of WHOs to help our clients be taken care of in other areas.

As you may know, we maintain a network of accountants, estate planning attorneys, lenders, coaches and others to help serve you in many areas. We also follow other experts to gain knowledge from people whose full-time job is to be a subject matter expert in a specific field. As the book suggests, we work to connect our clients and community to these people to provide a higher level of service so that everyone wins. Who can we be connecting you to, or who don’t we already know that can help us continue to grow and improve?

Next time you have a problem to solve, I hope you will consider WHO not HOW.

Many people know I love quotes, so I’ll leave you with my…

Favorite Quotes from the Book

  • No matter how brilliant your mind or strategy, if you’re playing a solo game, you’ll always lose out to a team. -Reid Hoffman
  • We remain young to the degree that our ambitions are greater than our memories.
  • Never allow someone to be your priority while allowing yourself to be their option. -Mark Twain
  • The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated. -William James
  • Surround yourself with people who remind you more of the future than the past.
  • Try not to become a man of success, but a man of value. Look around at how people want to get more out of life than they put in. A man of value will give more than he receives. -Albert Einstein
  • You can survive without a community, but you can’t thrive.
  • You pile up enough tomorrows, and you’ll find you are left with nothing but a lot of empty yesterdays. -Meredith Willson
  • When the student is ready, the teacher will appear. -Buddha
  • There is no limit to the amount of good you can do if you don’t care who gets the credit. -Ronald Regan
  • Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much. -Helen Keller
  • The only way to be remembered fondly is to increase others’ capabilities.
  • Delegate everything except genius.

Please remember that different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product made reference to directly or indirectly in this content, will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), or be suitable for you or your portfolio. Due to various factors, including changing market conditions, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions. Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this newsletter (article) serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from Searcy Financial Services, Inc.

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Published for the blog on March 22, 2022 by Searcy Financial Services, your Overland Park, Kansas Fee-Only Financial Planner and Investment Manager.