Archive for the ‘Change Management’ Category

Two sides of the “Change” coin

October 1, 2017

TakeoverWe were about to board a flight and I bumped into someone we knew as we joined the queue for the plane.

The company where he worked, quite a large and successful international business had just been taken over by another large business.

I was curious as to the changes that had occurred since the takeover and the impact this had on the people working there, the culture, the shift in values and direction and the resulting effect on morale.

He was thrilled with the changes – in his view the business was a lot more focused, there was now a strong performance management system in place and as a result this meant recognition, rewards and opportunities for the hard working individuals who were achieving.

He went on to explain that before the changes things tended to be more relaxed and rewards were shared equally across the business with top performers and poor performers all treated the same. Some bad habits has crept in and this was demotivating for many of the employees who had joined the business in the last few years.

The changes were great!

two sides of the same coin

When I took my seat on the plane I ended sitting next to someone from the neighborhood. Up until now our interactions never got past a friendly wave and chit chat about the weather as we walked our respective dogs.

On the hour’s flight the chat eventually came around to where we worked and it turned out that she was working for the same company as the person I met as I boarded.

She had worked there for many many years and from our conversation seemed to be very much part of the fabric of the place.

Curiosity got the better of me so I asked the same question about the changes since the takeover.

This time I heard a totally different story to the one I heard earlier.

The changes were really bad, the place wasn’t the same anymore, the business had got a lot more cut throat with an obsession about cost cutting and performance.

The new regime were forcing changes through, simple perks that many of the teams enjoyed were being withdrawn so their deep reciprocal commitment to the business was being withdrawn in equal measure.

The new owners just cared about money and not about the people, many of whom played a huge part in the success of the business that the new owners wrote a big cheque for. This was her view and she wasn’t a bit happy.

She spoke warmly about different instances down through the years that demonstrated the wonderful comradery that existed in the business and that warm “family” spirit that had everyone going the extra mile when needed.

Now it was all about the “young ones” wet behind the ears, all trying to impress the new bosses, who were running around the place with clipboards who cared about no one but themselves – the place had definitely changed for the worse.

If there was a package, she was gone !!

I would want both of these great people working for me.

Change can be a fantastic opportunity and it can be an awful threat depending on how the evolving culture suits you.

For the new owners it’s important that they take the time to understand the magic that exists within the business (that they clearly valued highly) and embrace this as much as possible as they develop an evolved culture, which will hopefully be the best of both worlds.

For the existing teams it’s important to understand that the new owners are different, that they will bring different attributes to the party and that they need to give them time and the opportunity to evolve together.

Leopards may never change their spots but if people are willing to listen and learn we can evolve together into something ever better.

The value of the new business will only be preserved if they recognise what is good, treasure it and make it even better.

Change is tricky but the results can be fantastic – great communications can play a special part in delivering these fantastic results.

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full-service agency that offers Marketing, PR and Branding  services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Are you one of them yet?

June 5, 2017

Us and Them

I met a good friend of mine who has just started a new job and has swapped from the private sector to the public sector.

The particular job he has taken is with an organisation that is renowned as being very political, slow-moving and cautious. As an added bonus the organisation is known to have some “dangerous” ultra political characters within in that have burnt many an enthusiastic person who dared to try something new that might upset the status quo.

We met before he started his new role and while the challenge was clearly exciting, there was huge opportunity to really make a difference but he was also very realistic about the difficulties the culture could pose for him.

We had great fun chatting about “them”, how he would fit in with them, how frustrated he would become with them, who would try to manipulate him and who would genuinely befriend him and act as a valuable ally.

We made a pact that he would text or call whenever he has the “I want to run away” moments and a coffee or a pint after work might be useful medication in those circumstances.

I’m sure that he will survive because he has many gears and is flexible enough to make it work but I am also sure that if he stays the course, there will come a point when “them” becomes “us”.

The most valuable time for him and the organisation is right now and the time in between the “them” and the “us” when he has clear eyes, a fresh perspective and he can bring huge value to his new role.

Eventually, we all become “them” and that special perspective is gone forever!

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full-service agency that offers Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

The most important person to health in Ireland is an IT man!

May 21, 2017

Richard Corbridge, HSE, EHealth Ireland

There was huge interest in the Dublin Chamber, morning event hosted by solicitors Mason Hayes Curran because the speaker was Englishman, Richard Corbridge who is the Chief Information Officer with the HSE and CEO of eHealth Ireland.

The very public hacking of the computers of the NHS in the UK brought the Cyber Security topic into focus and this fed an even greater interest than usual in this Dublin Chamber event.

While I was expecting a big talk about Cyber Security from the affable and very engaging Richard I ended up hearing something much more important, I heard about ‘First Dates‘.

Richard used this fantastic ‘first dates‘ analogy to describe how essential it is that the health system in Ireland needs to wake up in 2017 because quite frankly, first dates are no longer acceptable.

This simple point struck a huge chord with me.

Very recently I attended a ‘huge’ and incredibly serious consultation with a senior doctor with a close relative. At this consultation, the topic was of the gravest nature and literally half of the session was spent with the doctor flicking through various papers and asking the most basic of questions in an attempt to bring himself fully up to speed so he could deliver the best medical advice.

As I sat there I couldn’t help thinking that not only was a lot of valuable time wasted by this ‘paper’ system but the margin for error is just colossal.

When you meet a doctor for the first time (when you are born?) this should be the only first date you ever have to experience. Everyone else along the way should have your full medical history at their fingertips so that they have the full story and all of their valuable time and energy should go into the best possible diagnosis.

Richard spoke about many things including the huge positive changes that have been experienced in some of the maternity hospitals where this IT vision has begun and also some incredible improvements with certain medical conditions such as Epilepsy directly as a result of technology.

He also spoke about his committed team, who pulled out all stops to make sure we didn’t suffer the same fate as the NHS. He needs to bring this team with him and expand it to achieve what is needed.

Richard’s enthusiasm for his vision is infectious but it is clear that he is trying to achieve this vision in a mammoth, understandably slow-moving public sector organisation. My sincere hope is that he receives all the support that he needs and that he digs deep and stays the course because it will be frustrating.

To achieve this vision Richard needs to communicate it over and over as eloquently as he did last week both internally and externally and he must not stop until his vision has been achieved.

The irony in all of this is that the health of Ireland rests in the hands of an Englishman who isn’t even a medical doctor!

Richard…thank you, but please, please, don’t give up, we won’t allow you to!

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full-service agency that offers Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Why you should change as little as possible in the first 100 Days

April 30, 2017
Donald Trump signing executive orders

The first 100 days – there is a lot of talk about this and seemingly it has become a great way of assessing the success of a new President in the United States.

Why?

The media are locked into a frenzy about this “100 Day” thing and we all eagerly join in the conversations and somehow buy into this crude assessment of the new President.

Is this a really great yardstick of success and a good sign of what more is to come from the remainder of that person’s four-year term?

In the earliest days of his Presidency we saw Donald “Chump” Trump buying into this, breaking into a sweat signing as many Executive Orders as he could …”look at me, how great I am, look, look, I really mean business and will change the world and show everyone how a real President does it“.

It was quite awful watching the circus around this crude display of power.

100 days on after a frustrating “birth” poor Mr. Chump is now giving out about the American Constitution and blames it for hindering real progress and as always he turns his anger at the media and accuses them again of fake news.

His popularity has fallen since he took office and he really hates that because this bully still wants people to think he is doing great – sorry Donald, that isn’t happening!

The craziest thing of all is this fascination with “100 days”.

Apparently, the term was coined in a July 24, 1933, radio address by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, although he was, in fact, referring to the 100-day session of the 73rd United States Congress between March 9 and June 17, rather than the first 100 days of his administration.

However, it is a lot sexier if we apply the “100” to the first days of the Presidency so this measurement tool caught on.

A good measurement tool?

Managing a super power nation must be incredibly complicated and no matter who you are, no matter how well briefed you are, and no matter how intelligent you are I can imagine those big decisions should be taken in a very considered manner.

From my career experience of having been in business a long time and having managed many companies and worked for many companies, I shudder at the thought of any boss wanting to make as many changes as possible in this initial period.

I would feel an awful lot better if this person would have the sense to listen, learn, take stock and only when they have a full grasp of a situation do they start to make any changes. I have found that even the seemingly obvious things that look wrong can often have very good reasons why they are in place and cannot be changed easily.

I imagine that Donald if he had allowed himself the time and not been a pawn to the media his own bravado persona might have gone about things quite differently.

Next time for the safety and benefit of everyone in the world let’s judge the President positively when he makes no changes in his first 100 days.

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service agency that offers Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Cork Merger – A poor process has us all scrapping

September 19, 2015

Free-State

When we worked on the Cork Marketing Project I was so proud and excited that all of the stakeholders were working so well together and that we made great progress towards our collective goal of attracting people and investment to Cork.

So many people told me this level of co-operation just wouldn’t happen in Cork and I genuinely didn’t believe them – I had faith!

Now I am deeply saddened to read in The Irish Examiner this morning about all of the opposing views and in particular today the bitter war of words between the Cork Chamber and the Cork Business Association as well as local politicians.

The Cork Chamber are “all for the merger” quoting the benefits of greater capacity and a unified voice and the Cork Business Association are against it declaring that you cannot ignore the strong advice that came through in the minority report by the two UCC members who were on the committee charged with making the recommendations in the first place!

Guys …this is really lousy for Cork!

I have my own strong opinions about what should be done but at this stage I don’t really care about my opinions or anyone else’s because I feel the process which was adopted with such monumental consequences for so many of us Corkonians was not fit for the huge purpose that it was intended for.

I have gone out of my way this week to find out more by talking to many of the people involved and everyone has deep rooted opinions, lots of suspicions and theories, very opposing views and I am definitely not seeing anything in place that will sort out this awful situation in the near future.

Personally I can’t believe the insubstantial make up of the CLRG committee (it lacks sufficient expertise), the research undertaken can be challenged too easily (I don’t believe the committee had sufficient time or resources to do this properly), there seems to have been very little ‘real‘ consultation and I can see issues with the recommendations as I understand them (Read my blog post – Cork Merger Drama).

Most significantly the minority report prepared by Prof Keogh and Dr. Theresa Reidy (effectively 50% of the committee excluding the Chairman) totally undermines the whole process and cannot be ignored. I believe this was sufficient grounds for not publishing the recommendations until their concerns were properly dealt with.

Even worse my understanding is that there is no mechanism in place to take the recommendations from the report (maybe there is huge merit in many of them?) and evaluate them robustly by people with the appropriate expertise, assessing the benefits and potential downfalls of each. In particular this assessment must deal with all of the valid concerns and issues raised by the various stakeholders in Cork who for many years have been representing our many and varied interests.

Their opinions, experience and expertise are too valuable to ignore.

If the process was robust with all aspects and arguments considered and with all parties brought along then we might start to get some understanding and agreement and only then, move positively into the future.

The last aspect is dealing with those directly affected, namely the many employees in Cork City and County Councils who also deserve a very robust process, which they can understand and believe in.

I don’t think for one moment that this will be all plain sailing or that we will end up with agreement on all sides but as with any change programme it should at least be both transparent and robust and it must bring people along carefully.

Hand Grenade

To summarise what has happened is that a poorly thought out grenade has been thrown into Cork by the Minister and his team, the pin has been removed far too quickly and we are the ones who will suffer as a result.

This process has already done huge damage to Cork and it has the potential to do even more if corrective action is not taken quickly.

My request to all of us including our Cork Politicians and our representative organisations is:

For the love of Cork can we please stop squabbling and instead focus on reversing this awful process with something robust that we can all believe in and one that will let us together move powerfully into the future”

We can’t afford to get left behind ..

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion PR, Marketing and Graphic Design, with offices in Cork and Dublin