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Daily Nuggets: A For Impact Blog

Who, Not How

If you’ve got the right people on the bus, the right team, the right talent… then you really shouldn’t spend a lot of time to ‘manage‘ them.

This ‘WHO, NOT HOW’ concept represents a way of thinking that values the assignment of a project or action (WHO) over the method of accomplishment (HOW).

Here’s one of my absolute favorite stories on getting stuff done and particularly on WHO, NOT HOW!

Written by Elbert Hubbard, editor of the “Philistine Magazine“, Message to Garcia was published in March of 1899! I am paraphrasing Hubbard’s story… but I think you will get the point.


THE STORY: When war broke out between Spain and the United States, it was necessary to communicate quickly with the leader of the insurgents… a General Garcia. He was somewhere in the mountain vastness of Cuba – no one knew where. Mail or telegraph could not reach him… and the President had to secure his cooperation quickly.

Somebody told the President, “There’s a fellow by the name of ROWAN who will find Garcia for you, if anybody can.”

Andrew S. Rowan, West Point Class of 1881 was a First Lieutenant in the 19th Infantry, U.S.A. (Yes!) Because he knew the topography of Cuba, was familiar with Spanish, and had shown himself to be a brave and prudent solider, Lieutenant Rowan was selected for this mission.

In short, he took the letter, sealed it in an oilskin pouch, strapped it over his heart and crossed from Jamaica to the southern coast of Cuba in a sailboat. He disappeared into the jungle, made his way inland to Garcia’s camp… and DELIVERED HIS MESSAGE!!!

In Hubbard’s words: “The point I wish to make is this: McKinley gave Rowan a letter to be delivered to Garcia. Rowan took the letter and did not ask, ‘Where is he at?’ By the eternal! There is a man whose form should be cast in deathless bronze and his statue placed in every college in the land. It is not book learning young men need nor instruction about this and that but a stiffening of the vertebrae which will cause them to be loyal to a trust, to act promptly, concentrate their energies; and do that thing – ‘CARRY A MESSAGE TO GARCIA!’”

All kinds of ‘lessons’ here. Pick the one you need today.

Find And Visit With Your Best Prospects

Here is an example of the kind of ideas we’re discussing during this week’s teleseminar series: Campaign Week 2008.


  1. Create an IDEAL PROFILE of the ‘perfect’ qualified prospect/perspective investor for your Cause, Case, Organization, Vision, and Campaign…
  2. MATCH your stakeholders, constituency, suspects/prospect pool to the IDEAL PROFILE to determine the 3 best fits (matches)…
  3. GO VISIT with these 3 prospects immediately, tomorrow, within 3 hours after you’ve created the MATCH.


  • It doesn’t make any difference where you are in a Campaign. Planning. Just starting. In the middle. Stagnant. At the end.

    CREATING and MATCHING and VISITING with your 3 most IDEAL PROSPECTS will have an IMPACT beyond anything you can imagine.

  • This is about the best 3 matches/fits. It’s not visiting with 3,000 or 300 or even 30 prospects.

  • You can AUTHENTICALLY look these current or potential ‘CHAMPIONS’ in the eye and say any or all of the following:

    • “When we created an IDEAL PROFILE of people that we felt would be a PERFECT FIT vis a vis our Purpose, our Priorities and our Plan… you were at the top of the list.”

    • “In all of our work and preparation for this effort (Funding Initiative), it became so obvious, at least to us, that you were one of a ‘HANDFUL OF PEOPLE’ who could literally TRANSFORM this organization.”

    • “If we can’t PRESENT THIS OPPORTUNITY and get someone like you ENGAGED… [who is perfectly ALIGNED with our Mission , Vision, Purpose, Priorities and Plan] then I don’t know who else we should be meeting with.”

ACTION: If you trust us enough to believe that this can literally transform your entire organization, then you should, again:

  1. Create your IDEAL PROFILE .
  2. MATCH this Profile to come up with 3 perfect ‘FITS’.

    Quick Tip: Sharing the Ideal Profile with your Board and key volunteer leaders and asking them “Who fits?” is 1,319,000 more productive than asking your Board for a ‘LIST OF NAMES’. As Nick always says, “How’s that working for you?”

  3. Schedule the VISIT immediately. PRESENT THE OPPORTUNITY . Be AUTHENTIC.

Make Everything A DRAFT

Here’s a pretty powerful idea that even Nick and I don’t fully always appreciate:


We put… and leave… the word ‘DRAFT’ on just about everything we do, for all kinds of reasons:

  • Creates opportunity for discussion and conversation.

  • Allows for a feeling of engagement, involvement and feedback.

  • Literally enables changes, re-design and ongoing versions!

Here are 3 very specific examples:

  1. A terrific university, in a $275+ Million Funding Initiative, has developed a simple, powerful PRESENTATION TOOL. In the top right-hand corner, it says ‘DRAFT’. The beauty of this is that it actually is a ‘DRAFT’… and people are feeling like they have some input.

    P.S. People actually say, "I love that this is a draft."

  2. An incredible For Impact Organization in San Diego, working with Nick as a Coach, put together a great ‘DRAFT’ PLAN that showed how much additional funds were being leveraged, etc. It also showed $5M for a particular project. The first prospect presented with this ‘DRAFT‘ PLAN asked, "What if we did that entire project ($5M)???"

    P.S. The answer was pretty obvious!

  3. A foundation proposal that I helped put together actually carried the word ‘DRAFT‘ at the top! We literally asked the Champion at the foundation to look at the ‘DRAFT‘… and give us some feedback and even suggest any changes that might help obtain a significant investment from the foundation.

    P.P.S.S. It worked!

The idea, nugget, lesson for this week:


Special Note: This actually fits perfectly into wonderful ideas like prototyping, testing and practicing.