Focus on who, free yourself from having to do it all alone

Eelco Smith recommended Who Not How: The Formula to Achieve Bigger Goals Through Accelerating Teamwork. Eelco is the author of “The not so secret rules to the game of life”.

Focus on who

The message of the book is very straightforward. Do not focus on how you get things done. Focus on whom you want to work with to get things done. You need to become a team player. Potential is contextual and relational. Given the exponential rise in technology, information, and globalization, the world is shifting out of the mediocre and limiting the “How” model. But your ability to connect with people, learn, and collaborate is becoming increasingly valuable in today’s society. We are in a world where “Whos”—including technology—allow you faster and bigger results and more freedom than ever before.


Once you know what you want to achieve, you surround you with the best team that can help you to get there. Where everyone in the team stays in their own zone of genius and create a mutual multiplier. No matter how brilliant your mind or strategy, if you’re playing a solo game, you’ll always lose out to a team.


Change the question from “How do I achieve this goal?” to “Who can help me achieve this?” How would your sense of purpose expand if you had brilliant Whos that made your goals easier to accomplish? The question is then; do you have Whos in your life that gives you the perspectives, resources, and ability to go beyond what you could do alone? Or are you keeping your goals so small to make them easier to accomplish them on your own? 

Zone of genius

The other question you need to be able to answer is what is your zone of genius. In the book, the authors call the Unique Ability”—the activities that bring the most excitement and energy and produce the biggest impact. For everything else find the Whos.

Create the levers

“How” is linear and slow. “Who” is non-linear, instantaneous, and exponential. Rather than viewing people or services as a “cost,” as in the transactional mindset, view it as an investment, with the possibility of 10X (10 times), 100X, or even bigger returns and change. That happens when a team gets into a flow. Combining zones of genius with shared vision (what) and understanding of context (why) does that to a project. Where the “how” is the responsibility of the right genius. Which means trust and letting go are fundamental. With a focus on results and not on effort. Personal confidence comes from making progress toward goals that are far bigger than your present capabilities.


The way you increase your potential efficacy, or self-expansion, is by creating close relationships, which in turn, increases material and social resources, perspectives, and identities. With the right Whos in place, your vision and purpose will expand dramatically. You can focus only on the things you love doing. Freedom of time. 


It will also free up your mind. Freeing your mind isn’t just about thinking. It’s about having the energy to show up and perform great work, because the stage has already been set for you, not by you. You’ll have the bandwidth and focus to become “world-class” or incredible at what you do.

What is success

What is the ultimate quantification of success? It’s not how much time you spend doing what you love. It’s how little time you spend doing what you hate. Will you stop tolerating the wasteful and painful use of your time? Do less, expand your capacity through your Who’s and increase your earning capacity.

Tips and questions

The book gives several tips and questions:

  • The first Who is always yourself: Improve yourself, value yourself, and ensure that you are in optimal form, happy, creative, and connected to the most important people in your life. 
  • Time is finite. We all have 24 hours. Before you can master any of the other freedoms, you must become a master of your own time.
  • What is your vision for your life? Be radically explicit about your goals. Remember the new question you must master: “Who can help me achieve this goal?” 
  • Take a look at your life right now: Where do you lack collaboration and teamwork? 
  • Where do you need more Whos to help you accomplish what you ultimately want to do? What relationships do you already have that are being under-utilized? 
  • Are you going to add a Who? Do you want to free up your time and your mind? What areas of your life and business most need a Who right now?
  • Start saying “no” to people, obligations, and situations you don’t feel fully aligned within your gut, then and only then will you be able to expand your confidence and purpose. 
  • Procrastination is a very powerful signal telling you that it’s time to get another Who involved. You’re stuck. You need help. Ask for help.
  • All progress starts by telling the truth.

Invest in who

By making the courageous step of investing in Whos, your capacity as a person increases. Whos, when selected properly to fit within your vision, are never a cost. Whos are an investment. The question is, are you willing to invest in Whos? 

Impact filter

The book suggests you use The Impact Filter, as a one-page document and is comprised of the following questions: 

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? 

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

Not that dissimilar to the project canvas. It will help clarify the vision and the story.

Vision and mission 

Whos are attracted to vision. As you tap into your passion and purpose, and your unique gifts and strengths, you’ll have an endless supply of capable people who will happily join you on your mission. In order to do so, you’ll need to have the courage to bet on yourself. You’ll need to believe you can be more and do more than you have in the past. You’ll have to define what you want. You may need to write it down every single day (use What I Want” journal). What you seek is seeking you. It is the law of attraction. It is impossible not to attract incredible Whos once your vision is defined and expressed. There is endless talent and skill—endless resources—waiting to be directed toward your clearly and powerfully expressed goals. 

Being part of a team is great

The book reminds of “The interim revolution”. The concept of teams as a service. I can think of nothing nicer than work in teams, and I am in the happy position that this is the case. Thank you (you know who you are).

sensemaking cover


Sense making; morality, humanity, leadership and slow flow. A book about the 14 books about the impact and implications of technology on business and humanity.

Ron Immink

I help companies by developing an inspiring and clear future perspective, which creates better business models, higher productivity, more profit and a higher valuation. Best-selling author, speaker, writer.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top
× How can I help you?