Tuesday, August 3, 2021

The Power of Who

This post originally appeared on my personal blog. The principles in the book are timeless, so I’m republishing it here for my career industry colleagues.

I recently finished reading “The Power of Who: You Already Know Everyone You Need to Know” by headhunter Bob Beaudine, and before I take it back to the library, I thought I’d better write down some of the key concepts. Normally, I’d take notes as I go through it, but I read it while blow-drying my hair over the course of a few days, and it’s hard to write and wield a blow dryer at the same time. (I take notes on most business books I read — not only is it a helpful reference for later, but I remember things better when I write them down, as opposed to just reading them.)

Key thoughts:

  • Cultivate your “Who” friends. Beaudine defines these as someone who can “intercept you on the dark path you’ve taken and redirect your steps back on to the path of light.” These are the friends that aren’t afraid to challenge you, or call “B.S.” when you’re doubting yourself.
  • He urges you to ask yourself, “What am I doing right now to steer my life in the direction of the future I truly desire?” If you use this as a compass, you’ll always find yourself moving forward.
  • The key concept: “You already know everyone you need to know.” Although he explains this well, I still am having a hard time with it. My take on it is: Start with the people you know, before thinking that you need to get to know new people. Beaudine supports this: “Most people start looking outside their ‘Who’ network thinking their success will be found ‘out there’ somewhere." Instead, start with the people you already know.”
  • Three simple steps to getting moving on a new project:
  1. If you were to refocus your efforts to achieve your goal, what would you do first?
  2. Who would you call for assistance?
  3. How many people would you call?
  • Employ the “100/40 Strategy.” 1-100 = Who; 1-40 = What; Connecting the Dots = Success. The first set of numbers (1-100) is about relationships. The second set (1-40) is about what you’re after. 

Beaudine writes, “There is a reason you and I have been given the friends we have, and it’s this strategic group of friends that is the first part of (the) equation.” We don’t realize that our closest friends are the best resources we have! Instead, we think a stranger is going to be our biggest help in achieving our goal.

  • Your “Who” World consists of several different spheres — Fans, Acquaintances, Advocates, Allies, “Who” Friends, and then your Inner Circle (“You get 12 friends. 3 close and 1 best.”)
  1. Allies: People you associate with, connect with, or touch through your 12-3-1 and “Who” friends.
  2. Advocates: Someone who speaks or writes in support of you or your cause.
  3. Acquaintances: All friends start as acquaintances. It's a relationship "less intimate than" a friendship.
  4. Fans: An enthusiastic devotee, follower, or admirer. "Fans are the economic wheel that keeps things rolling. Fans fuel demand."
  • Most people never get what they want for three simple reasons: 
  1. They don’t ask. No one can help if they don’t know what you want. 
  2. When they do ask, they ask the wrong people. For some reason, people are uncomfortable asking their “Who” for help. As a result, they’ll ask most anyone except their friends, who are the only ones with a motive to help. 
  3. When they do ask for help, they ask you vaguely. Even if I’m motivated to help a friend, I can’t do it when I don't know what he or she wants.

This makes perfect sense. For example, when my clients are networking, they often don’t talk to the people who are best suited to help them succeed. I had a client who worked in the transportation industry and was laid off. After weeks of telling him to make sure that he was talking to his network about his career goal and asking for specific help, he was getting stuck. So I reached out to mynetwork. Within a day, I had an opening at a local company for him to follow up on. When I gave him the information, he said, “Oh. A guy I used to work with works there now.” Well then, dude, why didn’t you already know about this opening? Because he wasn’t using his “100.”
  • Four instructions on making a good list to help you chart your future course:
  1. Dream It. Allow yourself to drift a little.
  2. Believe It. “Have the confidence that what may not be readily apparent in objective reality actually already exists.”
  3. Have Confidence In It. “If you don't decide who and what you want to be or are not willing to pay the price to get there, then somebody else will handle those things for you.”
  4. Do It. There is a time to stop preparing and just execute!
  • Important Traits of Successful People:
  1. They start.
  2. They are not discouraged by obstacles.
  3. They turn mistakes and so-called failures into stunning success. 
  4. They maintain self-discipline.
  5. They stick to it.

The most important lesson:
Take care of the people on your “100 list” and they will take care of you.

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