Book Summary – HOW: Why How we do anything means everything
Dov Seidman is founder and CEO of LRN. His career is focused on how companies and their people can operate in both a principled and profitable way. Fortune magazine called Dov the “hottest advisor on the corporate virtue circuit” and he was also named one of the “Top 60 Global thinkers of the Last Decade” by the economic times. He is known for his best-selling book “How: Why How We Do Anything Means Everything”.
In it, as a prologue, Dov Seidman takes you to a specific day in 1981 in the story of a professional cheerleader named Krazy George Henderson. This is the day when one simple idea poured out of him due to how he was acting. It’s the day that “the Wave” was invented. He found a way to connect to his audience, get a grip of their enthusiasm and not lose hold of it. Analysing it, he shows the difficulty of starting something when it’s unknown but by doing it in a specific way can result in a long-term achievement.
To generate the sorts of interpersonal interaction that can carry our initiatives throughout an organisational entity (human brain, team or a business), we must not only understand the power it takes to start them but also understand the things that affect the space between us.
An important element is technology. Over the years the amount of information has been increasing, and the ways to retrieve it have become easier. You are able to interact with more people at the same time. If they have a problem or they want to change anything, there’s a lot of information which they can find fairly easily. To adapt and succeed in these new conditions, we need a new framework; a new understanding of how we have been and how we have changed.
Dov also refers to Jack Welch who says “There is no secret to the what; the secret is the how. They can know our model but they cannot do it. They can’t copy our how’s”. He draws a picture of the big influence of How.
Next, Dov charts the geography of a different world, a world of how, which requires new powers and new skills to traverse:
- How we have been, how we have changed
- How we think
- How we behave
- How we govern
He provides frameworks that help us understand these ‘how’s’ and implement them in a powerful and productive way. He also helps to channel our actions and decisions in order to thrive uniquely within today’s new realities.
Many people used to think that certain values such as trust and reputation were not a good element for success, but these are now a hard currency of success. They are the ultimate drivers of efficiency, performance, innovation and growth.
To get to the top today, it takes both great Service and Hospitality. In a dialogic society, a connected and transparent world now looks past the proxies of service and looks to how the companies and people with whom they do business engage and interact. How do you make your clients/customers feel? This experience is important, but can you do experience?
The key note is that you can’t do winning but you can believe in a set of core values and pursue the expression of others and, in a world of how, win. So can you do experience? Obviously not, but great experiences result from great interactions and great interactions come from getting your how’s right.
Referring again to Krazy George Henderson, he didn’t start with the idea of the Wave. By following these values of how, the Wave came into action. You can’t do or pursue success directly; success is something that you get when you pursue something greater than yourself.