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The Power Of Collaboration In Business: Leveraging “Who Not How”


What you’ll learn in this Multiplier Mindset blog post:

  1. Why businesses that prioritise obtaining credentials are increasingly being outpaced.
  2. How collaboration differs in the “How” society and the “Who” society, and which is bringing entrepreneurs greater success.
  3. How to unlock the potential of collaboration with unique assignments—the key to reaching new heights of business success.

For years, I’ve been telling entrepreneurs to stop thinking about how to do things and instead to start thinking about who can do them for you. I’ve since developed this into my “Who Not How” philosophy, and recently published a book with Dr. Benjamin Hardy on the topic. (In fact, I used Who Not How to create the book itself!)

The Who Not How philosophy comes down to simple collaboration. Whether we realise it or not, we have people in our lives with whom we collaborate on a daily basis. Recognising, appreciating, and understanding the importance of these people is the first step to embracing the Who Not How philosophy.

In this post, we’re going to take a look at the importance of collaboration in business and why the Who Not How philosophy is creating a seismic shift that is transforming nearly everything we do as a society.

The “Who” society vs. the “How” society.

I like to think that there are two societies in our culture: the “How” society and the “Who” society.

The “How” society has been dominant for some time now. It’s the old way of thinking—the idea that whoever puts in the most effort, works the hardest, and develops the most skills will be the most successful. People in the “How” society are always trying to figure out how to do something themselves, and they view collaboration as delegating or pushing their burdens on someone else.

The “Who” society, on the other hand, is now emerging and growing stronger every day. People in the “Who” society understand the importance of collaboration in business and nearly every other aspect of life. They’ve seen that you don’t need the same credentials to climb the ladder anymore. And because collaboration and innovation are easier than ever with today’s technology, they’re able to progress ten times faster through collaboration and finding the “Whos” that can accomplish their “Hows.”

I believe we’re currently seeing a fundamental seismic shift where we’re transitioning from the “How” mindset to the “Who” mindset nearly everywhere in our society. It’s happening psychologically, emotionally, socially, culturally, economically, and politically. Those who are good at setting bigger and better goals, identifying the “Hows” that are not theirs, and then identifying and enroling the “Whos” in those bigger and better goals are the people who own the future.

The importance of collaboration in business.

The importance of collaboration in business is easily summed up with one sentence: Those who are able to embrace collaboration in business will grow quickly, while those who don’t are doomed to fail.

Many “How” thinkers are frustrated by this. Society has always shown them the importance of attaining certain credentials, whether that’s in business, education, politics, or anything else. But the reality is that you don’t need those credentials anymore. By embracing collaboration and the Who Not How philosophy, anyone can climb the ladder by finding the right “Whos” for their “Hows.”

That’s why collaboration is more important now than ever.

Who Not How collaboration lifts everyone up.

Collaboration in business isn’t just about getting more things done as a business owner or utilising the talents of those around you. One of the reasons why collaboration is so important is that it provides an opportunity for everyone involved to increase their capabilities.

Collaboration means helping others achieve their goals. When you collaborate with someone in your business, they’re helping you reach your goals. But you’re also helping them by expanding their network and providing them the opportunity to learn and improve their skills.

This is one of the most important aspects of collaboration and the Who Not How philosophy. Those who are stuck in the “How” mindset may feel as if collaboration is cheating and that they should be accomplishing these things on their own rather than utilising the skills of those around them.

But anyone who thinks this way is missing the point.

The importance of collaboration in business is that it lifts up everyone around you. From your team members to other businesses you collaborate with, everyone improves their capabilities when they embrace collaboration.

As an entrepreneur and business owner, it’s important to appreciate and be grateful for those who collaborate with you. This doesn’t necessarily have to be limited to your team members either. I consider my life and business partner, Babs, to be my number-one collaborator—so many elements of my current life and business would never have been possible without Babs and our collaboration.

The same could be said for many other important people in my life.

Ready to employ the Who Not How philosophy in your business and personal life? Visit whonothow.com to get Dan and Ben’s book today.

Unique assignments are key to collaboration in business.

In an episode of our Who Not How podcast, Ben and I talked about the value of “unique assignments” and why they’re such an important concept for collaboration in business. This is something we actually came up with on the podcast, but I think it’s important to bring it up here as well.

This idea of unique assignments as a part of collaboration is equal parts powerful and fascinating. By giving someone a unique assignment instead of a job or task, you’re giving them meaning—and that’s important.

When you’re given a unique assignment, it means you’re the only one who has the specific abilities to get it done. It means you’re a crucial part of the collaboration because it wouldn’t be possible without you. It gives you a sense of importance and meaning. You’re no longer just completing a task that has been delegated to you; you’re rising to a challenge and overcoming it.

This concept is found across literature, film, and drama. From Harry Potter to Saving Private Ryan, we love hearing stories about people who are given unique assignments and are able to rise to the challenge to overcome them.

I think this is an important concept for business owners to understand. When you think about collaboration, don’t just think about delegating or handing off tasks to those around you. Think about giving out unique assignments.

When you give out unique assignments, you turn the people receiving them into heroes. And who doesn’t want to be a hero?

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