Anyone who knows me knows that I love to draw parallels between business and sport. Here’s one of those.
Our carsales‘ CEO regularly says to us that we should be aiming to build a business where our kids will work.
I love this as an aim as it promotes a long term sustainable view on building the business. This is an important balance for our company as we look to build shareholder value.
I also love the thought of my kids working at carsales. I’ve spent the past 20 years doing all I can to help them grow and this would put icing on the cake for me.
In late 2002 one of my best mates told me he was thinking of coaching our then local football club, Rowville. This was a big move. Rowville had finished 8th of 9 teams in 4th Division meaning it was effectively ranked 38 of 39 teams in the Eastern Football League (EFL). It was rabble (in their words)and not just in performance on the field, the culture was shot.
Not only this but he had spent the previous 18 years at VFA and 1st Division level. This was a big drop so the question was why? “Our kids are going to play at Rowville and I don’t want them playing 4th Division so let’s get the club up to 1st Division by the time they are playing senior footy”, he said.
Fair call, I was in. I came in as assistant coach/chairman of selectors and dusted off the boots after two years retirement to play as well. We pulled together around a dozen mates and mates of mates most of which were 30 plus but had played higher levels of football. The club was nervous of putting “dad’s army” (their words) out on the park but we assured them that we’ll go ok and start the rebuild of the club to move up Divisions.
In 2003 Rowville did not lose a game to be Premiers and Champions with an average winning margin of 85 points. We moved up to 3rd Division in 2004 again winning the Premiership and losing just the 1 game through the season.
It was time to execute the next stage of the plan. Most of the old guys like myself, finally retired after the 2004 win to bring through more ex-juniors who we were blooded over the previous 2 years. In 2005 in 2nd Division with a different looking side, Rowville made its 3rd Grand Final in a row, this one a little unexpectedly. It was a blessing they lost that one as they weren’t ready for the premier division just yet.
Fast forward to 2012 with my mate back at the helm as coach after a few years off and I was back as assistant coach. With a side containing 19 (out of 22) ex-juniors, Rowville wins the 2nd Division premiership to win promotion to 1st Division. The plan was complete, nearly.
Our kids weren’t playing senior footy quite yet so the club needed to consolidate in 1st Division. Well in 2016 my mate is now President of the club and they are well and truly in the top half of 1st Division with great kids coming through; kids that we have both coached through the juniors as well. The future was built. Sustained performance had improved through a complete change in culture.
As with our long term strategic direction at carsales, Rowville had a plan that they executed and now can provide a great environment for our kids to enjoy at a professional, high level. I take my hat off to my good mate for following through to a great achievement.
Plan, execute and enjoy the fruits – build for the future. This is the mission at carsales too.