First Who, Then What?



Michigan’s softball coach, Carol Hutchins (“Hutch,” to most of her players) has more NCAA career wins (1,500) than any other coach, male or female, in any sport in the University of Michigan’s storied history.

In a speech she gave, Coach Hutchins remarked:

“If I lose a recruit, she might beat me twice a year. If I make a mistake on a recruit, she beats me every day.”

Having led the Wolverines to 23 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, and 25 overall since taking over in 1985, Coach Hutchins keenly understands that getting the wrong recruit is far more damaging to her team than passing on an all-star.

This perspective is also espoused by Jim Collins in his bestselling book, Good to Great. Collins’ “First Who, Then What” concept is a key hiring characteristic of companies that have endured over the long-term and differentiate themselves from competitors who started at the same time but eventually flamed out.

As Collins’ writes:

“The executives who ignited the transformations from good to great did not first figure out where to drive the bus and then get people to take it there. No, they first got the right people on the bus (and the wrong people off the bus) and then figured out where to drive it. They said, in essence, ‘Look, I don’t really know where we should take this bus. But I know this much: If we get the right people on the bus, the right people in the right seats, and the wrong people off the bus, then we’ll figure out how to take it someplace great.’”

Collins also writes that when people “get on the bus” because of where it is going, it presents a problem when you need to change direction. And even if you do find the right direction, if you have the wrong people, you probably won’t make it to your destination.

This has been Acceleration Partners’ approach to expanding abroad. Having seen many companies in our industry rush into new markets only to waste both time and money, we chose instead to put our focus on finding the right people to lead our efforts in those new countries and represent our brand. Once on board, we then asked them to develop the plan for their market, rather than the reverse.

“First Who, Then What” can be applied not only to whom we hire, but whom we marry and choose as our friends and business partners. If we get the who part wrong by focusing too much on the what (i.e. wanting to be married or have kids), it’s often a recipe for disaster down the road.

Ideas and circumstance change. Neither will matter if you wake up every day and have to spend time with people you don’t like or respect.

Next time you have a problem or opportunity, consider looking at it through the “First Who, Then What” lens – and pay close attention to whom you want on your bus and whom you need to take off.

The “right people” concept is not just about skill sets and talent. It’s also about their character and core values. Although Michigan’s Alumni Field is among the best facilities in the country and has a top-notch grounds crew, Hutchins will make her players clean the locker room or sweep the dugouts every now and then. To play for her is to be grateful for the opportunity to be a college athlete. “Go out there and play for the people who paved the way before us,” she tells them.

Clearly, Coach Hutch is the right “who.”

Quote of the Week
“A company should limit its growth based on its ability to attract enough of the right people.” -Jim Collins

Rashid to pick up 16 Indian wickets?



Adil Rashid will take 16 wickets on his return to Test cricket against India, according to spread betting firm Sporting Index – though India’s spinners will take 25 scalps, compared to 20 from English spinners throughout the series.

Rashid, who was a controversial pick by selector Ed Smith, has been named in the starting XI at Edgbaston for his first Test in two years, and his first first-class game in 11 months. While his red ball skills may be rusty, traders at Sporting Index are backing the Yorkshireman to pick up 16 wickets across the five match series.

It looked a long way back to Test cricket for Rashid since his last match in 2016, with Moeen Ali, Liam Dawson, Mason Crane, Jack Leach and Dominic Bess all getting the nod as England’s spinners – before a dramatic recall for Rashid ahead of the India series.

The 30-year-old leg-spinner has taken 38 wickets in 10 Tests for England, including 23 in five matches against India in 2016/17.

Sporting Index traders are backing the tourists to come out on top in the spin stakes, however, with Indian spinners predicted to take 25 wickets across the series, compared to 20 for England.

With Ravi Jadeja and R Ashwin sitting in the top five of the ICC Test bowling rankings, and talented youngster Kuldeep Yadav waiting in the wings too, traders at the spread betting firm think they can beat the likes of Rashid and Ali in the battle for spin supremacy.

Ed Fulton, trading spokesman for Sporting Index, said: “England have turned to Adil Rashid as they hope spin can win it against India – and we’re backing the leggie to take 16 scalps on his return to Test cricket.

 “Rashid’s recall has certainly ruffled a few feathers, and with pitches likely to be conducive to turn, he could ruffle a few Indian batsmen too.

 “We think India’s spinners will come out on top, however – though are backing a 3-1 England series victory in what looks set to be an enthralling encounter.”