Mick O’Loughlin’s path from an Adelaide backyard to the top of Australian football is inspiring. It also confirms exactly what Australia needs to do to become a full-scale car-making nation again.
It appears I pressed a button.
Premcar’s article about how Australia has every advantage to become a full-scale car-making nation again sparked some responses.
One thing stood out amongst them: the number of people who have done their research and agree with the idea.
They’ve clearly given this idea deep consideration. Facts, numbers, insights into local businesses, views and actions from government figures, latest major investments; they were all there, and more.
It’s evident a big slice of Australia (and other countries) know it’s possible.
That all started on Monday.
On Tuesday, AFL (Australian Football League) legend Michael “Mick” O’Loughlin visited Premcar’s Melbourne team.
We invited him to share his wisdom on different topics, such as teamwork, motivation and ownership – and how to combine all three to create success.
I asked Mick five questions during the Q&A session. His replies were impressive.
The Premcar team members present were captivated.
Mick’s answers drew on his hard-earned wisdom. He was generous with his practical, real-world insights.
He brought them to life with raw and sometimes punishing examples from his own climb to the top of his chosen field. He spoke fearlessly about his own mistakes and how he converted them into fuel to succeed.
Here are some highlights from that Q&A session:
- Share with us the 3 most important things about teamwork you discovered during your playing career?
“Honesty. I remember when I started out with the Sydney Swans one of the coaches asked me how I was performing at a training session. I thought I was working harder than ever until he showed me some video footage. I thought I was doing the right things, but I wasn’t. Facing the truth about what I was failing to do was a turning point.”
- If you joined an AFL team today, what’s the first thing you’d do as a player – and as a coach?
“I’m going to train the hardest. I’m going to work the hardest. I’m going to own the opportunity and do everything needed to succeed.”
- Share with us an example when your team faced a major problem, and what the team did to overcome it.
Mick gave the example and concluded it with this: “We followed the blueprint. The blueprint is critical – and it focuses on the hard things; the things that take extra effort and separate you from your competitors. Check everything against the blueprint. Every mistake is studied and corrected: tackles, chases, kicks, spoils, goals – everything. The blueprint is CRITICAL.”
- What’s the one critical thing you did every day to stay motivated during your playing career?
“When I was 16 and 17 I didn’t think I was good enough to play football at the highest level. People would say I was lucky and that I wouldn’t last.
“I changed my diet. I became fit, strong and flexible. Water, not Coca Cola. Healthy food, not cheeseburgers. I made the right changes and I did the extra work. And then I kept doing them.”
- On the topic of Australia Day and facing the wrongs of Australia’s colonial past:
“When flour and sugar arrived in Australia and became so readily available, the question for my indigenous ancestors was simple: ‘why would we bother walking 3 days to get food?’ Problem was, removing the harder option took away special skills and advantages. Some of them were lost forever.”
“Righting the wrongs of the past isn’t about applying blame to the people alive today. It’s about what we DO now and tomorrow that matters.”
And there it was. In real life.
One of Australia’s finest and most celebrated elite athletes showed us exactly what we’d publicly argued for the day before:
How Australia can become a full-scale car-making nation again.
Realise that removing the harder option takes away special skills and advantages.
Honesty, and how facing the truth about what we’ve been failing to do, will be our turning point.
Surround yourself with the right people.
Create a blueprint and follow it with tight discipline.
Own the opportunity in front of us and do EVERYTHING to succeed.
Make the right changes and do the extra work – again and again.
And realise what we DO now and tomorrow is what’s important.
It was all there.
Mick, a proud Indigenous Australian who overcame big barriers to make it to the top of his hyper-competitive sport, laid out the steps our industry needs to follow to become a full-scale car-making country again.
He confirmed what we all know. And generously showed example after example along the way.
The idea of Australia returning to full-scale car-making – and adding electric vehicle (EV) battery manufacturing to the ecosystem– isn’t a fanciful wish.
If we make it easy for EV battery manufacturing to grow in Australia, and easy for the major EV automakers to set-up here, it will also make it easier for more major investments to come.
And they’re the sparks that will re-ignite Australia as a major car-making centre.
Thanks again, Mick. You’re an inspiration. And a vital reminder of what we all need to be doing right now.
Bernie Quinn – Engineering Director, Premcar Pty Ltd
About Premcar – Premcar Pty Ltd is a leading Australian vehicle engineering business that specialises in the automotive, defence and aerospace industries. For more than 25 years, global car-makers have made Premcar their go-to partner for the complete design, engineering and manufacture of niche-model new cars, full-scale new-vehicle development programs, and electric vehicle (EV) conversions and manufacturing. As the name behind more than 200,000 new cars and 55,000 new-vehicle engines, Premcar’s body of work is extensive and has delivered technical and sales success for major car brands from Europe, the USA, Japan, China and Australia. Visit premcar.com.
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