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Apparently of the five agencies that were invited to pitch, two had withdrawn from the process and we were one of three who were remaining.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

Soft messages and the downward spiral of Social Media

January 27, 2019

AlgorithimsIt’s a funny, sad old time.

It’s been a year since my dad passed away so I wrote a blog post (as I do) to capture what I’ve been feeling and published it.

I have my blog set up so that when I publish, it automatically pushes the post out to my Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts.

If my posts are business oriented posts they are suited to LinkedIn and Twitter and if they are more personal they are suited to Facebook and Twitter.

The auto publish facility that I have set up with my blog doesn’t differentiate and this personal post was pushed out to all.

You would reasonably expect that this personal post would “perform” best on Facebook (which is really the best platform for family and friends) but the platform where I got the biggest feedback and reaction was on LinkedIn, which makes no sense really!!

I was getting some really heartfelt responses from people who clearly had read the post and were leaving some nice messages and even sharing some of their own experiences.

Why wouldn’t this personal post resonate more on Facebook and Twitter?

There is nothing wrong with my logic – this type of post is most relevant to my Facebook audience, those friends and family who use it primarily to chill out, catch up on news and gossip when the work of the day is done.

The truth is Facebook (and Twitter is also following suit) have gone way too far, the algorithms are manipulating the posts from your friends so much that you end up seeing very few of these in between too many sponsored posts.

At this stage very few of us are seeing the posts by friends and family and those from organisation and business pages that we follow.

So, my conclusion isn’t that the business audience are suddenly more interested in “personal stuff”, it’s that LinkedIn is still just about hanging in there as a place that isn’t totally warped by those algorithms, those set of rules that dictate what we see and don’t see. I wonder about those working in these social media companies and if they believe that what they are actually is a good thing – they are not!!

They are eroding the value that we have in their platforms,  bit by bit , which will impact on their market value eventually.

As for LinkedIn, hopefully this platform will try to stay pure.

For anyone in business using these platforms, if you want your posts to be seen you need to advertise – we are in that phase where people think it’s still worthwhile.

It won’t last too long …

Greg

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Social Media Consultancy Services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Sad times and amazing mums

January 21, 2019

This week last year was a tough week, probably one of the toughest.

Dad was at Marymount Hospice and visibly getting worse with each passing day and there was a relay of family members sitting by his bedside 24/7 holding his hand and trying to keep him as comfortable as possible under the circumstances.

The visitors came and went, all coming to spend some last time with him and he tried his very best to be attentive and at a minimum give them a customary thumbs up as they left.

Laura, my sis was terrific and barely left his side, my brother Colin (who had to come from the States) was a star and the grandkids showed their true colours and my own Ellen also had a path worn to that place, where we all hate to even contemplate, but one where dignity and care are delivered with an abundance of compassion and kindness.

I tried my best to play my part, visiting for hours each day and yes I did do a few overnights but I must admit I struggled with that caring part, that minding, nursing instinct – it felt strange for me as this was my strong dad, the one that cared for us and not the other way around.

I think in a funny way, that he would have realised he was in serious trouble if I was by his side helping him with his food, or drinks as that was all he was able for at that stage.

On the night of the 25th January, 2018 my dad, Michael Canty peacefully slipped away with us all by his side.

I deliberately haven’t mentioned my mum yet, but on this night she insisted that we all said a Rosary, not one decade but the full shebang!

I whispered to my daughter, Ellen that this might finish him off – humour can be a great way to lighten the pain at such times and dad would have been the very first one to say something funny to cheer you up or take your mind off something bad.

I spoke too soon and literally with the very last words of the Rosary, with us all sitting in a circle holding his and each others  hands he took his very last breath and left us.

Mum is a colossal tower of strength and was incredible with dad during his sickness, minding both him and us. During those last weeks she barely left his side and while she was losing the love of her life she still was so conscious of how all of us were coping at this awful time.

Since then mum has been incredible. It’s nearly a full year on and in particular the last few weeks have been really tough for her.

We all know dad took a bad turn on Christmas Day, we know the day he left the house for the Bon Secours and never came home again, we know where he was on New Years; Eve, we know the day he was told he was going to Marymount (that was heart breaking “I thought I was getting better, now I’m really worried” he said) and we can pretty much relive each calendar day until the 25th and the funeral.

Mum has been so positive, organising the funeral, responding to all the letters and cards, getting out as much as she can, she goes to mass each day and visits the cemetery, she comes over for dinner regularly, she meets the neighbours, she visits dad’s sister, and she warmly greets the procession of visitors who all enjoy her fantastic company. If she’s not up to visiting she tells us, and that’s ok too.

Of course she is in mourning and of course she is deeply upset and she does have her teary moments but she has been a warm, brilliant, caring and strong person for the rest of us.

Dad was lucky, we are all so lucky.

So, on this tough week I wanted to acknowledge and salute one of the very best people that I know on this planet, my mum, Ann Canty.

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 Season of Goodwill?

January 6, 2019

Christmas Carol

Another Christmas “season” comes to an end.

The long break that we were looking forward to for ages, the one we all needed to get some much needed R and R,, just came and went in a flash and it is done, the Christmas tree is down and we get back to our normal routines and kick off another year with resolutions and great intentions,

This year was a strange one, well at least it was for me.

This time last year the big “C” finally got the better of my dad, he had a bad turn literally as dinner was served on Christmas day and then we entered that dark and horrible, inevitable tunnel that saw him sadly pass away on the 25th January.

So heading into this Christmas break I wondered how it was going to be for me and the family and I could see this “dilemma” echoed by so many others on social media and in the general conversations that people have – for many it just isn’t a good time for many different reasons.

I wasn’t really sure how I would feel, how it was going to be for my mum and the rest of the family.

Thankfully it felt great, the decorations went up and I could not help but be carried along by the genuine season of “Goodwill”.

I felt a genuine sense of joy, we had worked hard all year and we were going to enjoy a much deserved break and spend precious time with friends, family and the two dogs, Honey and Bert!

One silly moment captured what this time of year is all about for me.

We were in a huge queue in the fantastic newly revamped Dunnes Stores in Bishopstown Court in Cork, which nearly stretched the full length of one of the aisles.

I’m sure that this was the very last place anyone wanted to be spending an hour of their busy lead up to Christmas and instead of being stressed and irritated in the queue people were in great form and there was plenty of friendly banter between everyone.

There wasn’t one cranky person, the Dunnes Stores team even went as far as handing out sweets and bottles of water to those in the queues, and for those with babies and the odd older person who wasn’t great on their feet, they were moved up without any grumble from anyone.

There was one guy in a line directly opposite me and we were having some fun as my queue seemed to move a lot faster than his – I won the race!

Everywhere you go at this time of the year people wish you Happy Christmas and a Happy New Year and while part of it is formula, a big part of it is genuine – we are allowed to be nice to each other at this time!

How bad is that?

A close friend of mine (who absolutely hates Christmas and refuses to get together at this time) sent me a text asking how I was. I think she was expecting me to be down because of dad but instead she got the opposite and she got really cross with me when I explained that I was in great form and feeling genuine joy.

You must think of others who are having a hard time at Christmas” she responded.

Of course I do think of others but I am joyful and I won’t alter that because of your beliefs!

I pushed her to join us over Christmas – even if you don’t “believe” it’s still a great time to relax and enjoy the company of friends without the stress of work and life.

Nothing doing unfortunately, and she insisted that she would avoid all contact until the “season of goodwill” was over…bizarre!

The present I bought for her will be delivered some time in the next few weeks.

My biggest concern was for my mum this Christmas but she refused to be down, she put up her tree and decorations and despite the incredible sadness and loneliness she had fun and spent lots of time with us, as well as the inevitable tears for dad, which we all shed at various times – we miss him deeply.

So reflecting on it all, the traditions, the commercialism, the symbolism and the rare time off I feel it is the very best time of the year, a time to be embraced and enjoyed with friends and family.

And if nothing else, it is a “season of goodwill” and how bad, that for this special window of time each year we are all a little nicer and a little kinder to each other.

How many weeks is it to Christmas?

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

 

 

 

 

Missing the simple chit chat

December 9, 2018

 

Mum called me this morning.

She had been to mass (as she does each morning) and she wanted to share a little moment with me.

The gospel that morning had been about the two blind men that Jesus had cured in Galilee by touching their eyes.

Mum told me that when she heard this she had to do everything in her power to keep the laughter in, as she instead was thinking of the rhyme that dad used always share with us and all the grand kids.

He used deliver this rhyme with actions and funny gestures and in some ways it summed up everything that this gorgeous man was all about. He had a great sense of humour, he adored children and would do anything to make them laugh.

One fine day in the middle of the night,

Two blind men got up to fight,

Back to back they faced each other,

Drew their swords and shot each other,

One was blind and the other couldn’t, see

So they chose a dummy for a referee.

A blind man went to see fair play,

A dumb man went to shout “hooray!”

A paralysed donkey passing by, kicked the blind man in the eye,

Knocked him through a nine inch wall,

Into a dry ditch and drowned them all,

A deaf policeman heard the noise,

And came to arrest the two dead boys,

If you don’t believe this story’s true,

Ask the blind man he saw it too!

This was a tall tale that has been passed down from generation to generation and everyone seems to have a slightly different version.

Mum thought of dad as she does all of the time and she couldn’t stop laughing.

She missed him and misses him every day. She misses the simple chit chat the most and of course, his humour.

He wasn’t there with her, as he always had been but of course he was, he always is.

Mum misses him, we all do

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

Monotonous roles and having a real purpose

November 27, 2018

Mini

I stood at the counter of the credit union with my daughter, Ellen as we filled out form after form after form – it must have been at least 100 forms with multiple signatures on each (at least that’s how it felt!) as well as answering a multitude of questions. We were there for nearly an hour and it was painful. I was a guarantor for the loan that she was applying for, which is why I was there.

I watched the very helpful lady that was dealing with us and I thought about her job, all day, everyday completing forms, pushing paper and inputting and I felt for her. She was really nice and kind and made sure that we understood the whole process and most importantly how much the monthly repayments would be and when the first one would kick in. At the end of the process we were told the money would be in her account the following Monday afternoon.

I also watched the guy behind her, who was sitting at a terminal and he appeared to be busy inputting “stuff”. Again, I wondered – what boring jobs they have. How could you do this day in day out. would it not destroy your soul?

The reason we were there was that my determined daughter needed to replace her car as her old one eventually packed up. She didn’t want any old car, she wanted something special, one that she would enjoy, a car that would get her excited and one that would put a smile on her face each day she would drive it.

She had done her shopping and set her heart on one in the UK, a gorgeous and relatively new Mini, with good mileage – she was to fly to the UK and collect the car and bring it back on the ferry. She had the whole thing figured out including the VRT (why are we paying so much more than the UK who are also in the EU??).

She rang me this week, totally exhausted – she had returned home in her new car and she was absolutely thrilled with herself, and she now had transport so she could get to work again and she could do it in style!

I thought about the lady in the credit union and the other guy and their monotonous roles – they do this everyday so that people can fulfil their dreams and get the things they want and need in their lives.

Maybe they are great jobs after all?

What is your purpose?

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