Bob Beaudine knows a
lot of people. As head of a
leading executive search firm
specializing in sports and
entertainment, he knows how
to find and connect people
who need each other. Sports
Illustrated called him the “top
front-office matchmaker in
sports.” The president and
CEO of Eastman & Beaudine
also has interviewed and coached senators,
governors, generals, CEOs, university presidents,
studio presidents and even President George W.
Bush. Beaudine shared his networking know-how in
The Power of WHO: You Already Know Everyone You
Need to Know, published by Center Street in January.
He talks with SUCCESS about the highlights.
What’s the difference
between using the “Power of
WHO” and the ways people
As a budding entrepreneur with a business
plan, you may need an
investor to turn that fantastic
idea of yours into a real-world business. In a
very challenging and uncertain marketplace,
who do you think is more likely to make it
happen—someone who doesn’t know you or
someone who is a personal friend who knows
your talent, energy, drive and ambition fi rsthand?
You already know the answer! Cold
calls, mass e-mail blasts, business cards passed
out to near strangers, strategic plans mailed to
someone you once shook hands with—it’s all
ignored and never addressed! I know, because
after 25-plus years as a top executive recruiter, I’ve been on the
receiving end of way too much of it.
The problem with networking as people practice it today is
that it implies friendship with people who are actually just mere
acquaintances. People have been taught—incorrectly—that
“friends and business are taboo.” Somehow, pulling yourself up
by your own bootstraps has come to mean doing it all by yourself
with help from only strangers. But the truth is, you have a
powerful network—it’s your “Power of WHO!”
How did you develop your
I’ve developed a database of more
than 5,365 people in my WHO world
that can say, “Hi, Bob.” That really
doesn’t mean a lot except that I know
a lot of people because of my business.
I had what I thought was a great
networking strategy, but I was about
to discover I was dead wrong. I used
to try to touch 1,000 or so a year with
notes and calls and visits. It was exhausting. I have more than 5
million miles accumulated on American Airlines to show for it!
One day I stopped and studied who had actually given me
business or touched my life in some significant way over the
last 10 years. I can’t tell you how shocked I was
to learn that there were only 87! Eighty-seven
out of 5,365! How could I have missed that?
My strategy was to run all over the country
giving out little pieces of Bob to thousands
of people, and the return, in actual business,
was nil. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy meeting
people, but I should have been spending more
time investing in the 87 who were actually
impacting my life in significant ways. Now, I
focus a larger portion of my time interacting
with the people on my “100 List,” the people
who impact my life in significant ways.
What does “connecting
to your WHO” mean?
Friendships are as vital to our
dreams and goals as food and water is to our
bodies. True friendship is based entirely on
love, loyalty and mutual regard. There are
no strings attached. Friends can help you move your dreams and
goals into the real world. If you have 100 friends and I have 100
friends, how many do we have? 200? No, 10,000! It’s exponential.
When you consider that each of the people in your circle of friends
has great influence with their circle of friends, you can begin to grasp
the true power of WHO!
The strategy I teach to find your WHO begins to work when you
remember, reach out and reconnect. It all starts with a list! The great
thing about a list is that it really helps you clarify your priorities,
your values and your personal preferences. This exercise will leave
you astonished as to the great relationships you already have and the
resources they offer you.
Most people rarely think of their friends as
conduits to achieving their dreams and goals.
But friends come pre-wired with a strong
desire to help us. Maybe it’s an old highschool
friend or a roommate in college
with whom you haven’t talked in years.
Maybe it’s someone you worked with a
long time ago who liked you then and
still holds you in high esteem. But you
haven’t thought about them in a long
time. They genuinely care about you
and when you think about them now
you might find yourself asking, “Why
haven’t I stayed in touch?”
As I show in my book, your “WHO
World” actually has many layers. The three
most important are your inner circle of 12
friends, three close friends and one best friend.
There is a heart connection here that you just don’t
have with other people. Next are your WHO friends, people
with whom you felt a special connection, whether at work, church,
school, a service organization, etc. Then, there are allies or people
you connect with through your inner circle and WHO friends.
What and the WHO as it
pertains to meeting goals
The “What” in life—what you want and what you have done—
will take you only so far. Eventually you will come to a chasm you
cannot cross without someone’s help. People are bridges you must
cross to get where you want to go. That is the “WHO” I am talking
about. Understand that your “What” will never come into play until
your “WHO” brings you across. So ask yourself, should you spend
all your precious time studying, researching and meditating on the
“What” without having a plan for the “WHO?” No! Go deep with your
friendships this year—not wide! Your “WHO” are the people that
truly know and care about you, far more authentic than the masses of
names that people attain passing out business cards to strangers and
through online social links. Be transformational—not transactional.
What are some of the best ways to
cultivate these existing relationships to
reach our goals?
I worked side by side
with my dad for more than
20 years in the executive
search business at Eastman
& Beaudine Inc. He
always told me
the key to
success was to make friends, help your friends
in every way you can, and then don’t be
surprised if you do a lot of business with
Giving is such an essential part of The
Power of WHO. Once we change our
paradigm from “Me first,” “Me alone,”
and “I can do it by myself,” to “How I
can help you?” “What do you need?”
and “Yes, I will help,” then everything in
our lives will change for the better. Zig
Ziglar said it best: “You can get everything
in life you want if you will just help enough
other people get what they want.”
You recommend forming a
personal board of
directors. Could you explain?
None of us can see every possibility
coming our way, so we need a self-protective
strategy in place, like a firewall that protects
computers from destructive viruses that try
to sneak in undetected and wreak havoc. I’ve
come to believe one of the very best strategies
you can implement to achieve maximum
protection is to create your own “personal
board of directors.” There are seven categories
that make up your personal board of directors: mom and dad,
mate, best friend, legal counsel, career or life coach, financial adviser,
spiritual adviser. There is a well-known Proverb that says, “Plans fail
for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.”