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Why a 25 year grassroots sports sponsorship is good for business

Community, News, Thought Leadership

Eastwood 1st Grade v Sydney University 1st Grade. August 2010. Photo by Mitch Cameron/Seiser Photography2016 marks an important milestone for the Buildcorp family, as we celebrate our 25th year as a major supporter of grassroots rugby which extends to sponsorship, player mentoring, cadetships and a Buildcorp Rugby Scholarship.

In 1992, two years after our construction business was established, Buildcorp became the first ever Major Sponsor of the Sydney University Football Club (SUFC) and this commitment is one of the oldest grassroots sponsorships still going today. During these 25 years ‘Uni’ rugby has gone from strength to strength, winning 14 Club Championships and eight Shute Shield Premierships, and developing talented players who have gone onto achieve success in Super Rugby and the Wallabies. We all couldn’t be prouder of all of these achievements.

Most importantly, the success of this partnership enabled Buildcorp’s sponsorship to grow in line with our business to now include Queensland University Rugby Club, University of Newcastle Rugby Union Club and Melbourne University Rugby Football Club. Our commitment as naming rights sponsor for the Buildcorp National Rugby Championship, a third tier platform for the development of Australian rugby, is an extension of our grassroots support to a national scale reflective of our broader business footprint. 

UQ womens rugby
Image courtesy of UQ Rugby Angels

Buildcorp is very proud to also sponsor the women’s rugby clubs at Sydney University and the University of Queensland. This commitment and passion to growing the game across the gender divide has led to Buildcorp’s Principal Josephine Sukkar accepting the position of President of Women’s Rugby in Australia.

We are often asked why do we give so much in support of grassroots rugby?

Whilst cliché, the fact is that we have received far more from the game then we have ever given. Our support of the grassroots rugby community remains because we see a real connection between the values of a successful rugby club and a successful business. The bonding of young men and women to a common goal, the commitment to improve as individuals for the team and passion for the game inspires us to embrace the same. Over time we have learnt a number of key lessons from rugby and applied them to our business making us a better teammate and a better team.

How do you improve your performance? Measure your performance and your behaviour.

Common across all strong rugby clubs is clear understanding of each team member’s role in the game plan and a commitment to hold each other accountable for their actions. Buildcorp has embraced this philosophy in our employee performance management system. Each year every team member is measured against their functional job description as well as their alignment to our corporate values. Further, team members are challenged to set three improvement goals in specific areas important to them and the business.

UQ Women's Rugby
Image courtesy of UQ Rugby Angels

How do you unite the team? Share the common goal.

On the rugby field and within a rugby club a common goal is pretty obvious – winning. In business it can be a little harder to define. Because of this Group Managing Director Tony Sukkar sets a three to five year strategic plan and an annual operational plan details milestones in our journey towards these broader goals. Twice a year these plans and our performance against them are shared across the entire team in what’s called “State of the Nation”. Sites are closed and every team member comes together to get an update on our common goals.

How do you build great leaders? Promote them from within.

A clear key to success in developing an enduring rugby club is the ability to keep the strongest leaders in the club long after their playing days are over. As managers, chairpersons, board members and presidents their perspective is founded on the knowledge built at their time in various roles within the club. Witness to the power of this compounded learning, Buildcorp has, where possible, opted for internal promotion for senior management positions. Today, across our general management team a majority have been promoted from within and it is this connection to the workface that makes them ultimately better and more aligned leaders.

How do you improve in specific areas of weaknesses? Empower high performance experts.

Great coaches and clubs have a good hard look in the mirror and call in the experts to challenge themselves to improve. These high performance specialists have specific knowledge and a broader perspective having been there, done it before and are able to prescribe a plan to improve. Buildcorp has embraced this concept with the establishment of Group services that sits in support of our teams across the country. Expert’s proficient in their individual discipline develop plans, share lessons learnt and prescribe improvement plans in the areas of safety, finance, human resources, quality, communications, risk management, systems and IT.

NRC 2015 Rising player and fan
Melbourne Rising NRC team and fan

How do you strengthen your club? Start at the bottom.

If you win the first grade premiership, chances are you won the colt’s premiership a few years ago. Building a strong first grade team doesn’t come from buying players or recruiting in superstars, it comes from your foundation players and colts. Sydney University Football Club’s enduring success is a result of a colts and development program that attracts the best future first graders right out of school. Similarly, future Buildcorp project managers come from our cadet and development programs. For example, Buildcorp’s cadet program targets third year students wanting a career in the construction and gives them experience across estimating, project administration and onsite, followed by a final six months specialising in the area they want the develop their career in.