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The One Skill Entrepreneurs Need to Inspire Great Teamwork


Do you feel as though you have far more goals than you have time, energy, or capabilities to see them through?

Do you often find yourself procrastinating on these goals, then feeling increasingly guilty about it the longer you put them off?

If you do, you’re not alone.

It’s a common complaint among the entrepreneurs I work with, and it used to be one for me too.

It’s as though they’re bursting with exciting, innovative ideas, but when it comes down to choosing which ones to implement in their business — and finding the motivation to make it happen — they get stuck.

They procrastinate, and feel guilty about it, then procrastinate some more, in an endlessly tiring, confidence-depleting cycle.

Breaking the cycle.

But having lots of ideas isn’t the problem.

The problem is believing you have to act on all of them yourself.

For most people, and especially entrepreneurs, there’s a disparity between our ambition and our abilities, and we’ve been conditioned to believe this is a gap we’ll never close.

It comes as a surprise for most of us to learn, then, that there’s nothing wrong with having an idea and not wanting to carry it out. Being able to envision a bigger and better future is one particular skill, and it’s a defining one for entrepreneurs.

The ability to carry out your vision will require many skills working together, however, and they may not be skills you possess.

And that’s okay.

Understanding your role.

That’s because, whether you think of yourself as a leader or not, just by virtue of being an entrepreneur in charge of a team, you are in fact a leader — no matter your industry, income level, or team size.

And the thing about great leaders is, their job is teamwork inspiration. It is to envision a better future for everyone, not necessarily to put that vision into action.

Who, not how.

That’s what our essential concept here at Coach, WhoNotHow, is all about. I firmly believe that when you’ve procrastinated on a goal, the problem wasn’t the goal itself. Nor was it that you were just too “lazy” to act on it.

The problem was that you asked yourself the wrong question when you came up with it. You asked yourself, “How do I do this?” rather than, “Who can do this?”

If you were the right “Who” to figure out the “How” of your goal, you wouldn’t procrastinate on it … you’d be excited for it! Your reluctance is a clear sign you need to find other “Whos” to figure out the best “Hows.”

As I mentioned before, the great “How” you possess is the ability to see things in the future that are bigger and better. And with that ability comes one important responsibility: explaining your goal thoroughly so all the necessary “Whos” can do all the necessary “Hows.”

To help clarify your thinking and communicate what you want and why you want it, download our free Impact Filter tool.

Defining “What” and “Why.”

“The art of communication is the language of leadership.” — James Humes

The more clearly you can articulate what you want and why you want it, the easier it will be to get people willing (and excited!) to help.

The “Why” piece is particularly important. There’s nothing more powerfully or universally motivating than purpose, so don’t hold back when sharing why achieving your goal will be so beneficial, not just for you, but for everyone else as well. 

Achieving personal goals, expanding capabilities, and making progress: It’s these transformative types of rewards that will attract the greatest “Whos” and provide increased teamwork inspiration.

And, since people work best when they have exact, measurable criteria for success laid out for them, you’ll need to describe in detail what your ideal outcome looks like: What specific things need to be true for your project to be considered finished and successful?

By eliminating ambiguity, you also eliminate any anxiety your team might have about not meeting your expectations. They’ll be able to make decisions on their own with confidence because they know exactly what they’re working toward.

One tool, endless possibilities.

You can accomplish all of this in just a half hour with an Impact Filter.

It’s a simple, versatile, and endlessly useful tool that serves two important functions. First, it clarifies your thinking about a project, forcing you to really consider what you want and why you want it.

Second, it communicates your thinking to your team, ensuring they know what you want and why you want it — and can act accordingly, using their best judgment rather than your direct supervision. 

After all, great leadership isn’t about creating followers, it’s about teamwork inspiration and helping others to become leaders themselves.

So the more adept you become at defining the “What” and “Why” of your goals, the less often you’ll need to supply your own “How.”

In other words, the more freedom you’ll have to dream big, and often.

About the Author

Dan Sullivan is the world’s foremost expert on entrepreneurship in action. He is the founder of The Strategic Coach Inc. and creator of The Strategic Coach® Program. Visionary, creative, wise, playful, and generous, he is a true champion of entrepreneurs worldwide.

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