Local Elections, old codgers and phone zapping…

May 21, 2019

Old codgers - Inniscarra Bar, Cork

We were in our local, the Inniscarra Bar, one of the most authentic old style pubs you will find in the country, part of that dying breed where the walls will talk warmly to you about everyone who has sat there before you and before them.

It was early on a Saturday evening and we were having a sneaky pint before heading home to cook some grub.

The two old codgers sitting at the bar sipped quietly on their  pints and every now and then there was some chit chat between them. One of the guys had a battle weary black dog with him who was busy going from one patron to the next, sniffing and being friendly.

For some strange reason there was a large election poster leaning up against the wall for one of the local candidates, Shane Fallon. I’m not really sure if this was a practical joke or if it was a serious election tactic by the candidate?!

Out of nowhere the two men got very animated and their conversation got louder and louder..

Those f##king posters are a f##king disgrace and they should be banned as they are ruining the environment

Wow….it went on..

Sure, don’t they have email and don’t they have the internet and..and don’t they have, you know yourself, can’t they just zap phones the way they do?

You are so right, a f##king disgrace!“, followed by lots of huffing and puffing and then back to their pints.

Were they right??  

It’s funny …just a few days beforehand I was standing in front of my Dublin Chamber Council colleagues presenting them an overview of our business sector.

To do this I reached out to many of the member companies, both large and small and looked for their feedback about trends in the sector.

A BIG MESSAGE was that there was a huge shift from traditional media to digital but this was loaded with a gentle warning that clients need to be very careful not to put all of their eggs into this one channel as you just won’t reach your audience in a way that your message will land.

As I walked back from the pub I noticed all of the election posters – who do I like the look of?

When I pushed opened the front door open I looked at the flyers that had been pushed through the letter box – who are you and what are you promising?

And if I believe you really care about the location I do expect you to knock on my door and chat to me.

I tweeted three of the candidates who had dropped in their literature and two responded. One just took herself out of the running!

It’s great that the old codgers got so animated about the environment (there probably should be a limit to how many they put up), but unfortunately a candidate who relies only on email (GDPR has that one squeezed to death!!) and zapping phones (I’m taking this to mean social media) will not be successful.

The candidates need to integrate their social media with their traditional media and however they manage it, they need to be recognised, liked and if possible connect in some real way with the voters.

Get out and vote this Friday!!

Greg 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR and Graphic Design agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

 

More beautiful music please..

May 14, 2019

Cork Youth Orchestra

It was another magical night in Cork as we watched the superb Cork Youth Orchestra perform with Altan and the Lee Singers at the majestic City Hall.

The performance by the orchestra was just spell bounding as we watched 128 talented young musicians play together, powerfully and passionately conducted by Tomás McCarthy.

It was moving, watching the different sections of the orchestra playing together, creating powerful, beautiful, uplifting music and I was reflecting on the huge feat that we were witnessing, the seamless coordination of so many young talented musicians.

Cork Youth Orchestra

There is huge credit to the conductor, the musicians and the proud parents who all played their role and while we just turned up to experience the special performance on the night, I can only imagine the amount of hard work and countless hours that must have gone into what we were witnessing.

You could feel the huge sense of togetherness on the night and you knew this was the magic ingredient, because without this togetherness the uplifting performance would not have happened.

It made me think about how much we can create and how much we can achieve when we come together with a beautiful, common goal.

I took a photo during the performance and at the interval I opened up Twitter to tweet about the magical evening.

As I was about to post I spotted a jarring tweet about a bombing in Pakistan, where gunmen had forced their way into a hotel and started shooting indiscriminately, leaving four hotel employees and a Pakistan Navy soldier dead. Six others were injured.

How can we come together and achieve such beautiful things and how can we be consumed by so much hatred that we can kill others?

More music please…

Greg 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR and Graphic Design agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

The Magic Ingredients of Winning!

May 8, 2019

Liverpool FC Barcelona celebrations

While I am basking in the most beautiful feeling of my team, Liverpool FC, once again pulling off another, monumental, miraculous performance to win against incredible odds against Barcelona it’s worth thinking about some of the factors why and maybe we can all take some lessons from it.

Everyone Matters

The team that went out on the pitch to face the mighty Barcelona, one of the best teams in the world wasn’t the first choice team. Many of the star names were missing and those who stepped in, players who have been pretty much second choice all season did a superb job.

…some of your team might surprise you when you ask them to step up.

Karma

At times the wonderful Barcelona were very cynical including the former Liverpool player Luis Suarez. He deliberately injured the Liverpool left back Andy Robertson, which meant he couldn’t play in the second half. His replacement scored two goals!

Philippe Countinho, the wonderful Brazilian midfielder, another former Liverpool player had an awful night. When he was with Liverpool he downed tools at a critical time to agitate for a dream move to Barcelona.

…play a good fair game, do your work ethically and honestly. It will come back in your favour.

Attitude

Jurgen Klopp, the manager from heaven always has a positive, beaming smile and an infectious enthusiasm and passion. Before this game he encouraged the team to go out and enjoy the special occasion, do what you can but make sure you enjoy it. I thunk they did just that!!

..work hard to instil a positive attitude in your team

Belief

No matter what, you have to believe that anything is possible. Jurgen told the team that he thought the task of turning around a 3-0 deficit was impossible but……he also told them that if anyone could this group of players could. They came out on the pitch believing.

…make sure your team know how great they are and believe in their capability

Morale

It is as clear as day that the morale in this team is incredible – there is a bond that has them fighting for each other and this is obvious in their behaviours, their celebrations and their social media posts.

…morale is a precious intangible, work on it

Confidence

That fragile thing, confidence. When you win and keep winning you feel unbeatable, invincible. When the opposite happens you can crumble. The best of us can lose confidence and this can happen when just a few things go against you. Understanding how this works and how you manage it is key.

…keep doing the right thing and have faith, it will bring you results

Liverpool v Barcelona

Resilience

When this team goes behind, when they get beaten they have a resilient mind, they can resist the negative feelings and believe that they have the quality to recover.

…you don’t lose, you learn for the next time. There is always a next time

Experience

There are older players who just add an extra grit and steel and maturity to the team. James Milner, that older head, who somehow manages to outrun and outfight many of the younger players can bring something special from the whole group.

…have a little thought about the older codgers like me and for the older codgers, never underestimate your value to the team

Youth

While the old guys play a valuable part the young guys can also bring freshness, vitality and quality to the team and somehow they are not out of place, even in a red hot, pressure pot atmosphere. Well done Trent and Andy Robertson!

…nurture the freshness and energy that youth brings and support them to thrive

Quality

While attitude and heart and soul will get you so far, you do need to have quality in your team. Liverpool paid big money to bring in a goalkeeper and a central defender in the last year and this quality with the right attitude makes an essential difference

…do what you can to entice the good guys and gals and what you can to hold onto them

Values and Expectations 

Some of the new players took a while to become part of this team – until they get the Liverpool way and understand what is expected of them, and can be relied to do it, they are not allowed on the pitch

…take the time with everyone you introduce to your team to ensure they get your culture and values

Quick thinking

Trent Alexexander Arnold, the young 20 year old from Liverpool gave a lesson in always being alert and looking for opportunities. When everyone else was doing the expected and taking a while to get organised for a corner, just like they do each week he spotted that they weren’t paying attention, they weren’t ready.

His alert mind spotted the gap, a momentary lapse of concentration and before anyone knew it a spontaneous, unplanned perfect ball was passed in and Liverpool had their winner, 4-0!!

…stay alert to opportunities, and encourage everyone to act on them

Staying Calm

Even under pressure you need to stay calm, even when things are going wrong, even in an intense atmosphere. Liverpool have learnt how to stay calm.

…count to 10, count to 20

Training and Hard work

Followers of Liverpool know that the pre-season training is intense and it is all about preparing the team for a gruelling season. The team work hard, run hard and more than opponents, put the opposition under pressure constantly and this takes fitness as well as hard work.

…train your team and work hard!

Learning 

Each year Klopp has learnt how to improve in a demanding English league and also how to manage a European campaign. In his first two seasons the hectic Christmas period seemed to wear his team out, which always resulted in a barren spell. He also struggled to manage both competitions. He has adapted the style of play as he has progressed and it is working!

…constantly review what you are doing, learn and adapt.

Digging Deep

When your back is against the wall you need to be able to dig deep, really deep to cope. He has “dig deepers” in this team, who keep producing the goods. Digging deep is now a habit, a hard habit to break!

…make sure you acknowledge when members of your team dig deep and how much you value it

Habits

It’s so important to get into really great, positive habits. Winning is a habit, just like hard work and always doing the right thing is a habit.

…identify the habits, the metrics that are needed to deliver success and make sure the team know and understand them

Enjoyment!

Klopp preaches to his team to enjoy their football, he preaches to the fans to enjoy the football, even the matches that seem impossible. His smile shows us that he believes it.

…work should be fun and not all serious, enjoy the experience

Management 

Jurgen Klopp manages this team, those regular players and the non regulars, the youth coming though as well as his backroom team, everyone playing their part together.

The other critical part that he manages is the crowd – he is a master of bringing them with him and showing how much and needed their support is, and the very special role that they play in generating a winning atmosphere and even more important, avoiding a negative atmosphere.

…pay attention to your team. look after them and that special dynamic

Support

Jurgen Klopp says that the incredible win would not have been possible without the support of the crowd. Not only does he bring the crowd with him and earns their support but he does the same with the players who aren’t on the pitch and the former players.

…start with you, support those around you and encourage your team to do the same

Communications

While we are talking about our industry, Klopp is a master of communications.

When he came to Liverpool, in his very first press conference he said that he would convert the fans from “Doubters to Believers‘ and in a sweep he not only won the support of every single fan but he also started a very clever process of communicating what the role of “supporters” is and the power of believing.

He is a brilliant communicator, carefully weaving his messages, carefully avoiding certain topics – he is a master!

…learn how to be a great communicator (we can help!!)

Now, enough of this blog post…back to basking!!

Greg 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR and Graphic Design agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

The girl in the coffee shop!

April 16, 2019

Coffee

I couldn’t help but notice the girl waiting on her coffee this morning.

She was perfectly turned out, beige coat, black boots, hair tied up and perfect makeup but you could sense her tension – there was no one ahead of her and no one behind her. It was just her and the girl who was serving her.

There wasn’t a smile, not a word of chat, just a series of deep breaths and sighs as she went though the “painful” process of ordering her coffee, waiting for it and paying for it.

This “intimate” transaction happened quickly, and without a word she was on her way with her coffee and into the passenger seat of a car that was waiting outside for her.

It’s Tuesday morning and I have no idea who she is or what her life must be like but this is not a good start to the day.

Smile, say hello, wake up and ….smell the coffee!

Greg 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR and Graphic Design agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

The Ethics of Business?

April 15, 2019

This was an impressive new venture with some good backers and people involved.

Let’s take the meeting.

These guys were launching a new App and they needed a Marketing and PR Plan to help them – we had our briefing meeting with them, getting stuck into the detail so that we had a deep understanding of their requirements.

We did our research and the team went to work developing a detailed plan for them, one which would achieve their objectives.

We met the guys and presented our plan, which they loved and they gave us the green light to proceed.

We were thrilled with the client win and to be working on such a new and exciting venture, so we handed it to our accounts guy to draw up the contract and ‘lock in’ invoicing and payment arrangements.

Problem!!

The guys would not be in a position to pay the monthly bill on receipt of an invoice at the end of the month as their funding would not be through at that stage. They would not be in a position to pay for three months.

This was really disappointing as it was the first time we heard that there would be an issue with payment. It strangely never came up in the briefing meeting!

Solution – At this stage we had a lot of work done, we were really enthusiastic about the project so as long as funds could be guaranteed we would live with the delay.

Problem number 2 !!

The guys now shared with us that funds were not in place and they were still in a pitching phase, so three months was just an estimate, which they were quite confident about but they could not guarantee with any certainty.

Solution 2 – Taking a huge leap of faith in them we offered to proceed with the work as long as we would get a Personal Guarantee to ensure that we would be paid.

What do you think happened next?

It turns out that these guys were not prepared to provide us with a personal guarantee and instead wanted us to bear all of the risk of our arrangement with them.

In effect they were quite happy entering an arrangement with us knowing that there was a good chance we would not get paid for months or at all.

Furthermore, it turns out they were hoping that we would have more faith in their project than they had themselves so as you can imagine we had no option but to walk away from the work, despite having done lots at this stage.

Ethics?

You meet all types in business but you do hope that the vast majority of them will be honest and honourable and you have to try your best to protect yourself to ensure that you don’t fall prey to the chancers, and we have met quite a few in our time.

The really worrying aspect to this “transaction” was that these young guys who are starting out on their entrepreneurial journey with credible backers/advisors, already have a belief that this is all a game and a perfectly acceptable way to deal with people.

This might be the way that new business is now being conducted but..

Don’t be anyone’s fool..

Greg 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR and Graphic Design agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

When losing is winning!

March 21, 2019

Nelson Mandela - Winning and Learning

A really big potentially lucrative and very complex prospect came our way and like every prospect you must assess how much time and work you need to put into the plan between the:

  • Initial briefing
  • Background research
  • Brainstorming ideas and approaches
  • Writing the plan
  • Getting it ready visually
  • Rehearsing the pitch
  • Presenting the plan to the prospect

This one was really big and our ambitious team decided to go for it and they dug very deep spending days and nights working on the plan until the day came to present.

A big challenge here is that this work must happen alongside the normal client work, which helps to keep the lights on after all!

Apparently of the five agencies that were invited to pitch, two had withdrawn from the process and we were one of three who were remaining.

Our guys made their presentation, which they felt went really well so their confidence levels were up and then the anxious waiting and very painful period begins.

A strange thing happens when these prospects come to you – at the beginning it is a simple case of ‘will we or won’t we‘ and other than the possibility of a new client there is no emotional investment at this time.

At the point of presenting when you have poured heart and soul as well as bucket loads of time you are totally invested in the result with a huge emotional investment in the result.

The news came though via a very polite call from the prospect…

We didn’t win, we came a close second!!

We were the personal choice of the person who called us but someone more senior voted for another service provider, a mammoth of the consulting world.

While this was a disappointing loss in particular for those in the core team who worked on it, I explained to them genuinely that I believed it was really a win.

Nelson Mandela made a famous quote: “I never lose, I either win or I learn

Taking Mandela’s inspirational quote we did learn but we also won – our team had a chance to demonstrate two of our Core Values, they were Ambitious and they were Brave, they had the opportunity to showcase the deep expertise in our team and they had the joy of working closely together, even when there was a good chance the odds were stacked against us.

On our Fuzion Friday (we go for lunch every Friday with the team) we toasted our Dig Deepers, our true winners!

Bravely onto the next big challenge…

Greg 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR and Graphic Design agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

 

 

 

It pays to be an asshole?

March 14, 2019

Asshole

At some point in time the penny dropped that it makes you look like a really great, authoritative person if you are abrupt, rude and condescending to others.

Whatever happened in your past, this was a lesson that you learnt along the way, this was a trick that seemed to get you up that corporate ladder to the lofty position that you now hold.

Was this a parent, a mentor or a boss that taught you this great way of going about your business?

It makes you look big and everyone you deal with look and feel really small and this might actually inspire them to do more for you and maybe even do this from a position of “fear”.

This will really work won’t it??

I just had the “pleasure” of some time in this persons company (we all know at least one) and I am predicting the very worst for them and their role and the collateral damage that they will leave in their wake.

The clock is ticking..

Greg 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR and Graphic Design agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

Peter Drucker, Management Guru and a Powerful Perspective on age

March 6, 2019

Peter Drucker

I was listening recently to a podcast hosted by Tim Ferriss who was interviewing the author of what I consider to be my bible of business books, Good to Great, Jim Collins.

One of topics discussed was age and Jim put this into huge perspective by chatting about his inspiration, Peter Drucker.

Jim was lucky enough to meet this giant of the management world and when he met him first Peter was 86 and still at full throttle.

Peter was a prolific writer and one of the most respected of his time and in many ways his writings about management are still held out as being ground breaking and as relevant today as they were when they were written.

Jim was sent an image of a bookshelf that was full of all of Drucker’s books and there was a line drawn across the image that marked the volume of books written when he was 65, the typical retirement age.

Incredibly, at 65 years of age Peter Drucker had written just one third of his books!!

Peter Drucker passed away in 2005 at the age of 92 – he wrote another 10 books since Jim had met him at the age of 86!

As I am nudging closer to another birthday (those numbers keep getting bigger!!) I keep telling myself that I am only at the beginning..

Thank you Peter Drucker…

Greg 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR and Graphic Design agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

BAM BAM …. Leo versus Theo

February 18, 2019

National Children's Hospital

The lyrics of the Lloyd Cole song “The sickest joke was the price of the medicine” is ringing in my head for some reason today.

It’s pretty much accepted now that the Children’s Hospital project is our latest and proudest Irish debacle; before it’s even begun it’s running at pretty much three times the originally projected cost … money that could easily be lent to Donald Trump who desperately needs it for his wall or maybe even some affordable housing here in Ireland?

The media and the opposition benches scream for answers and an expensive enquiry and while we are at it I think we would like to know how this is possible in an era of “transparency and accountability”.

Simon says (that was a kids game we all played, maybe it’s still a game?) very little except sorry – really puzzling why he seems to be protecting people he should be exposing and why he is so slow out of the communication blocks.

Leo is bold and brave and points accusing fingers at certain contractors he won’t name (he knows they have great solicitors) and accuses them of gaming the system “These low balling tricks are too much for our idiots to handle” (my interpretation of what he said!)

Bam

Pascal the man with the cheque book suggests that in future tender rules will be tightened up !!! (Doh …. as Homer Simpson would say!!)

Theo the contractor fights back at Leo with a big “you talking about me??” and bravely looks for clarity and offers to step away from the contract as he knows this whole insinuation is extremely smelly for his company.

All of this talk is really damaging to their reputation and he should fight to protect it.

It’s very likely that he knows full well that any cancellation of contracts will earn the company penalties that us mere mortals could live lavish lifestyles on.

So… what should happen next ??

The most likely scenario is that the contract will plough ahead and Leo will be nice to Theo and insist he didn’t mean them when he spoke about “low-balling contractors that should be banned from tendering” and no one will believe him.

However if Leo believes what he said he should show some balls, fire the team who wrote the tenders (this is a big part of the problem), pull the plug on the existing tender and start again with a water tight tender and a rigid process that is fair to contractors in the event of any legitimate changes to the work.

As for penalties for dismantling the current tender contracts they should most definitely be paid, but these amounts should be fair compensation for any losses incurred to date and nothing else – the PwC fee note might be better used officiating over this figure rather than on a report, which in all likelihood will go nowhere and will lead to nothing.

These penalties, valuable taxpayers money, will be the fault of those who were paid to oversee the tender process, not the contractors who were awarded them and they should be held accountable.

If Theo and his crew are still interested in doing some great work on a badly needed hospital then go for it and make your fair profit, you deserve that.

We need that hospital built as soon as possible but at a price that we can all believe was fair.

Greg 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR and Graphic Design agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Recruitment -The secrets that are revealed in “Soft” communications

February 1, 2019

You are hired

We’ve done a lot of recruiting in the last while, pushing our vacancy notices on social media and in adverts on LinkedIn and Facebook (As a piece of feedbackI’ll never use the job facility on Facebook again for recruitment).

In each case applicants send a CV and often with some sort of a cover note or email.

I have found that this “discretionary” cover note or email is so important as a part of the process as it is the opportunity to communicate directly and connect with you the recruiter, and a chance to show some personality, to highlight a special point of difference and demonstrate your real interest in the role.

If we want to reach out to that candidate to arrange an interview you end up corresponding with the person either by phone or email.

This simple interaction is “gold” as it is another great soft opportunity to communicate, and for the candidate that opportunity to once again show their personality and interest in the role – if that’s you, be sure to take it and be proactive and grab the early opportunity to stand out.

Even if it’s 2nd or 3rd interviews make sure that every interaction is positive and use them as opportunities to show yourself in the best light.

You haven’t got the job and you get the disappointing “Dear John or Dear Mary” email – I know you are deflated but there is actually another opportunity here.

Even if you don’t feel like it, be sure to take that last chance to show you are a great candidate!!

Send a positive email back, thank them for their time and be sure you put it in their heads that you could have been a great candidate for the role after all.

The world is small and life is short, things don’t always work out and they could well be recruiting again soon – put yourself on the top of that list by being so nice.

If you are recruiting try to include lots of opportunities to communicate with the candidates as part of your process so they can get a sense of your culture and you can hopefully reveal what they are really like and in future make this a key part of your evaluation criteria.

The “soft” communications in business are a huge opportunity for all of us, regardless of which side of the table you are sitting at. It’s a valuable skill if you can master it!

Note re the image:

I was trying to grab a clever image from the web to go with this post and I found this one, which I did think was appropriate and quite funny. 

I was not going to use it because it was all men in the image, so I had a double think, which is probably a good thing. This had me putting up a stupid anaemic “stock” photo and I said no, enough!!  If the gender police get all offended and go off on one, at Fuzion we do employ more women than men. It’s not because we have a preference for one gender over the other, it’s because they are great people who do great work..the world is a funny place!!

Greg 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR and Graphic Design agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland