How a leadership program is helping David Large innovate at the MCG
The Melbourne Cricket Club is one of Australia's oldest and largest sporting clubs, with more than 130,000 members. It’s David Large's job to keep them happy.
David is the Executive Manager of Commercial Analysis and Development at the club (MCC), which operates Australia's most revered sporting ground, the MCG.
In his role, David is in charge of many of the club's major projects and initiatives. He recently enrolled in the Leading for Organisational Impact program at Melbourne Business School to improve his leadership skills and ability to innovate.
"The MCC can't rest on its laurels. Like everyone else, we need to find new ways to engage with people and enhance the experience of members and visitors," he says.
While David is an MCC member himself, he's not a supporter of the club's affiliate AFL team, the Demons. He follows arch rivals Collingwood, who narrowly lost this year's Grand Final.
"You might be surprised to know that not too many MCC staff members are Melbourne supporters. There are a few staunch Demon fans, but we're not all red and blue here," he says.
The MCC was founded in 1838, just three years after the city itself. Melburnians add their children at birth to the club's membership waiting list, which has now swollen to 230,000 names.
The MCG attracts around 100,000 people on Grand Final day and similarly large crowds to other events throughout the year, such as the Boxing Day cricket test and other major events such as the Bon Jovi concert in December.
To improve club members' experience at the venue, David helped deliver a recent initiative to allow them to use their membership cards to pay for food, drinks and other purchases at the ground.
"Speed of service between event breaks is a big focus. Being able to use membership cards, provides quicker service, a bit of a rebate, and we learn more about members' spending habits to make improvements," he says.
David's biggest takeaway from the five-day Leading for Organisational Impact program he completed were the insights he gained into his leadership style.
"It's helped me understand myself more and how people, who aren't necessarily like me, respond to different scenarios. Managers today need to be much more conscious of how to interact with different people to get the best out of them," he says.
He says the program made him aware of how others see him, including through a simulation exercise.
"The simulation throws you in the deep end. You're not expecting it so act as yourself. Then you get feedback straight away, which is really valuable and not something you receive very often in the corporate world."
David says the 360-degree feedback provided by colleagues before the program is also very powerful.
"When you put those two sources together, it really paints a picture of how you're perceived and how you can improve the way you deal with people in an organisation. I've gained more insights into my own behaviours than I'd ever known before," he says.
"I would definitely recommend the program. It might seem a luxury to spend five days away from the office, reflecting on yourself, but it's well worth it.
"It's a challenging program, confronting at times, but, if treated the right way, the feedback you receive can empower you to push forward and be a better version of yourself."