Archive for the ‘Competition’ Category

Snapchat and the schoolyard bully

August 7, 2016

Schoolyard bully

Let’s just copy exactly what they are doing

These must have been the crystal clear instructions to the programmers who work for Instagram as the new features on the platform are unashamedly and with no apology exactly the same as Snapchat.

Snapchat, the quirky social media platform has taken the world by storm and I guess recognising the imminent threat to their dominance Facebook instead of trying to buy them as they did with Instagram have just decided to try to blow them out of the online waters by “cogging” them.

Snapchat versus Facebook

I don’t like this, I think it is a poor and awful reflection of their business philosophy, their ethics and I’m starting to question their value system. This isn’t just any value system, this is the value system of Facebook, the clear dominant force in global social media.

Facebook aren’t just any other company they are a profitable giant who are without doubt the dominant force in social media. They gobbled up Instagram with their cheque book and we can see already how the two platforms are being worked for advertising purposes.

Then there is Twitter who are bravely hanging in there but they seem to be struggling to monetise their platform sufficiently to make any profit and their growth in user numbers has hit a plateau. As a serious competitor they are struggling.

Snapchat have kicked up a big storm and are challenging but the schoolyard bully has just landed a big heavy, powerful punch and they find themselves lying on the ground bewildered, battered and bruised.

For the sake of social media and the sector not being totally dominated quite dangerously by the schoolyard bully, keep tweeting and keep snapping!!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion offer Social Media Consultancy and Training from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Relentless – Secrets of Success

August 1, 2016

Relentless - Mary White

Relentless is a powerful word and you can picture something that never stops, wave after wave, determination, a powerful, unstoppable force.

For some reason the book “Relentless” by Mary White about the Cork ladies GAA team caught my attention.

This wasn’t a book about the success of a glamorous Premiership team, a World Cup team, a famous boxer or even a high profile GAA team – it was the incredible, largely under the radar, success story of the Cork ladies GAA team.

I think what grabbed me about this story is that there had been a huge transformation from decades of virtually zero success to an 11 year period whereby 29 titles were won including 10 All Ireland finals, nine Division One titles and 10 Munster titles.

Relentless - Mary White

Without a doubt Cork always had huge potential with a large selection of talented players to choose from, many who had enjoyed success at Club level but for some reason this never transformed itself into a successful county team.

Surely there was some magic behind this transformation, one thing that we could point to, one secret that we might all learn from that could help us in all aspects of our lives?

I eagerly turned the pages to search for the secret..

Instead of one “thing” I discovered lots of factors that contributed to this incredible achievement:

Pride in the Jersey

There was a really interesting incident after another miserable defeat against Kerry, which could have been a turning point. After the match the players one by one were throwing their jerseys on the dressing room floor and a leader appeared.

Mary O’Connor, the only player to have won a medal with Cork ‘lost it’ at this point “We don’t throw the Cork jersey on the ground any more. We earn those jerseys and we need to respect that. Fold them and put them back into the bag for the person kind enough to wash them for us. Our attitude needs to change, and it changes now!

Step up a leader – well done Mary O’Connor.

The right people on the bus

Some of the key individuals who were involved from the previous era had to be removed as they were identified as part of the problem – there had to be changes and even though this was a painful process it had to happen in order for real change to occur.

The need for this change to occur was identified as being necessary.

Belief

An unwavering belief was instilled in this group – while this seems like an obvious one it was a huge achievement to make a team of disbelievers actually believe that success was possible.

How do you change this mindset?

Clear vision and goals

This group of players were given a clear vision and goals by the manager. The manager produced a paper, which was distributed to the group, which outlined clearly what  his vision was for the group.

This is what I want – who is with me?

Hard work/Training

This Cork team trained more than any of the other teams. This training improved the team. Lets repeat this – they trained more than any of the other teams. Train more, win more – that’s a big lesson!

While this is a very simple factor this group of players were inspired and motivated to want to give so much of themselves. Cork is a big county and many of the players were travelling huge distances on a regular basis just to get to training.

How do you get a group to want to do this?

Commitment

Over this 11 year period this large group of players were inspired to give total commitment to the team – this wasn’t a glamorous ‘premiership’ project whereby stardom would be guaranteed. It was about something totally different.

How do you change a group to suddenly make them want to give absolutely everything?

Comradery not Rivalry

In the early days these individual talents used come together and stick to their own club cliques, sitting together and not mixing. It’s simple to see how this behaviour would not lead to a successful formula.

This changed and in time this bunch of individuals and cliques were playing for each other – how did this change occur?

Dealing with disagreements

Disagreements used happen as you could imagine but instead of these leading to divisions and a disjointed group a fair mechanism of dealing with these occurred and the group got tighter with problems being solved without festering resentments.

This was a big achievement that cannot be underestimated.

Cork ladies GAA team

Coping with disappointment

Success was not immediate and there were some early disappointments that could easily have meant that heads would drop and the rebuilding project would derail.

This was not allowed to happen and instead valuable learning’s were banked from every disappointment to help towards future success.

Later on there were further setbacks, which could easily have demoralised the team and end the run of success. This team always rebounded from every single setback.

Evolution and Experience 

The management team had a lot of experience and a very clever thing they seemed to achieve was a powerful blend of experience and youth at all times in the team. Over 11 years this balance always seemed to be there with new faces, youth and energy carefully and constantly being introduced to an experienced group producing a winning formula.

Judging the need for fresh faces and getting the timing of their introduction right is a huge skill.

Playing for each other – friends?

At the Dublin Momentum Summit I heard Munster and Irish rugby legend Paul O’Connell speaking about the importance of ‘playing for each other‘.

This element was abundantly clear in Relentless. This team made up of club rivals who initially wouldn’t sit together would end up doing anything for each other.

A spirit and togetherness was instilled in this group that made them virtually unbeatable – this was demonstrated time after time throughout the 11 years, most often during times of sadness and loss.

This team had trips away in the sun, half of them ended up with food poisoning on one of these trips – did someone decide that going away together was good for team bonding?

Never say die attitude

From the outside you imagine a team that was invincible, one that blew all opposition out of the way. While there was plenty of evidence of this during the 11 years there were also many times when this team were beaten, dead on their feet and staring at certain defeat.

This team won these matches – it always seemed to find something at these moments, there was a belief deep inside enough of the team or the management to turn things around and change certain defeat to success.

At times it was the experienced players, at times it was inspired substitutions – at all times there was enough belief in the team to lift everyone. 10 points down with 15 minutes to go and being played off the park in the 2014 All Ireland final – this Cork team won these matches.

Who instilled this in this Cork team?

All players count and no stars

While this team did have its top performers and it’s “stars” there were times when matches were won by the young guns, by the unsung heroes by the solid defenders who knew how to close games out.

This was a team, not a group of talented individuals.

Injuries and comebacks

I was really shocked by the amount of injuries endured by members of the team. For some stupid reason I was thinking with ladies there wouldn’t be as many (stupid me!) – the book is littered with stories of initial despondency, motivation, resilience, hard work, incredible recoveries and determination by those who were injured and there were the teammates who wanted to win for them.

This team had steel in abundance.

Complacency

When you win a big trophy for the first time do you take the foot off the gas? When you win a second time – do you notch down a gear and maybe not work quite as hard the next year, because after all, you are the best?

Managing complacency and guarding against it must have been one of the greatest achievements of this team – who was responsible for making sure this did not happen?

Brave decisions

Someone has to make the tough decisions and have the intelligence and gut to know when the time is right to make them. Choosing who is in the squad and who isn’t, who is in the team and who isn’t, dropping big players and introducing unproven, young players. At key moments in matches knowing when changes were needed and making the right changes.

Someone made a lot of very brave decisions over and over.

Simplicity

These 11 years had no extraordinary factors – there were no fancy methods, definitely no fancy facilities, no fancy perks. Deliberately keeping it simple and with no frills seemed to work perfectly.

Psychology

Knowing the right thing to do at the right time and knowing the right thing to say at the right time to ensure this team were always in the right frame of mind to win over and over was pure genius.

At times the team thought that the methods of their coach, former teacher, father of six, grandfather Eamonn Ryan were a little strange but ultimately they trusted him implicitly and would run through brick walls for him.

The book has many examples of inspirational things he did and said to individuals and the team such as the ‘flying V formation of geese flying‘ analogy:

By flying in V formation, the whole flock adds at least 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own.

People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going more quickly and easily because they are travelling on the trust of one another.  

Humility

Finally one of the most impressive success factors evidenced in the book is the humility of the team and the management. No one was allowed get ahead of themselves and everyone treated everyone with the utmost respect.

Their rivals held the Cork team in the highest regard because of how they behaved themselves and how they ‘wore’ their considerable success.

This humility is best captured by coach Eamonn Ryan when he was asked about this incredible success story, the team and his role in it:

I’m grateful for their cooperation, for no recriminations when I made a mess of things, and I’m grateful for their patience when things didn’t go well.

They did their best, I did my best, and we all had a great time

I spent the whole book looking for that one thing, that one factor that could explain all of this success and it seems to be …

Eamonn Ryan - Cork Ladies GAA

The Coach – Eamonn Ryan

He created a family situation where everybody relied on everybody else, and we all new we needed each other

He took over this team in 2004 while he was coming to the end of treatment for prostate cancer.

This former teacher had a fantastic, simple, positive way of training and motivating the team: “Whatever we did, he was praising us loads. Praise meant so much to us, particularly the older girls. When it came to Cork we had no confidence in ourselves or in the set-up and brick by brick, Eamonn built it back up. He kept telling us we were great footballers

It seemed to work!

Mary White - Relentless

I highly recommend this fantastic book by Mary White which is available online and in all good bookstores!

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be nice for the sake of Nice 

July 16, 2016

Nice attacks

The hotel car park was full when we returned late from the really great Dublin Chamber event at the Leopardstown races so we had to park on the road – I hate that!

I got up bright and early before the trigger happy clampers were on the prowl to move it in as I spotted an early riser driving out.

Just as I was pulling into the car park another car cheekily cut me off and pulled in front of me – hopefully there were two spaces?

The car park looked full and my eager “friend” was ahead of me discovering exactly the same thing. Just as I was about to give up and go back onto the street I noticed a guy waiting on a delivery truck to move so he could leave …perfect!

At this point my cheeky friend with the KY reg (cute out in Kerry I was thinking!) started to reverse to get out of the car park. If I moved to let him out he would spot the guy waiting to leave and no doubt grab the spot for himself.

Nope my friend ….not going to happen!

This brave warrior held his ground and let him try to reverse all he liked – I waited until the delivery van moved and the other pulled out and went to take MY spot.

Just as I was manoeuvring into the spot a woman working from the hotel appeared and politely told me that the other guy was first and was entitled to the parking space!

I gave her a look and she blurted “This is hotel policy” with her own look right back at me suggesting that I was trying to be a smart ass by taking the spot.

But he cut me off unfairly as I entered the car park” I bit back

I’m sorry you have to give him the space” ..she was fighting the good fight on behalf of my cheeky Kerry friend.

No way, he cut me off and I’m as entitled as he is to that parking space” – I wasn’t letting yer man get the space that I deserved!!

Well, you’ll have to sort it out with him, because he won’t be happy” she said.

Not a problem!!” and I started to pull into the spot, more than happy to have a showdown if the cheeky KY boy was up for it.

Just as I was doing that I thought of what I had been watching in horror on TV just ten minutes before this and I had a big word with myself ….Greg, what are you doing??

I turned around and exited the car park.

The poor girl from the hotel looked puzzled and very relieved at my change of heart – she gave me a big smile and thanked me. Crisis averted!

Instead I parked on the road with the Park By Phone App. I’d check the car park again in a while.

Just as I was standing by the car I noticed my cheeky man walking towards me after he had parked.

Someone is just leaving” he says to me “Get in quick“.

Oh ..”thanks

10 minutes later I was in the dining room having breakfast and my “buddy” strangely ended up sitting right next to us with his wife. He nodded to me.

I could easily have had a big stand up row with this guy and got the two of us all pumped up and angry for something very stupid and ruined both our days.

Maybe, just maybe we should all start to be nice for the sake of Nice?

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork

Don’t win at all costs..

August 5, 2015

Palio - Brendan Canty

Once again we found ourselves in Siena (one of the most beautiful cities on this earth) in Tuscany, Italy for the Palio (one of the best events I have ever been to) this summer.

The Palio is a bareback horse race, which happens at the beginning and the end of the summer. In truth it is a whole lot more than that and when you come to Siena to witness this incredible event you will know what I mean the minute you get here. You will sense it, you will feel it – there is something electric and tribal about it that will move you.

The Palio is essential to the Sienese. The city is divided into 17 districts (‘contrade’) and the Sienese place their loyalty to their district above church or state. Fierce rivalries exist between the neighbouring districts and all Sienese are united year round by their passion to win the Palio.

Palio - Siena

I took this text from a website about The Palio:

Imagine that all Liverpool and Everton fans had been baptised in the church of their team and lived as near neighbours their whole lives. Imagine that their neighbourhoods had been enemies for hundreds of years but only got to compete against each other once or twice a year. Imagine if the players and the ball were blessed in their churches before every match and the centre of the city came to a standstill for a week beforehand  – now you begin to understand the intense and passionate civic rivalry that animates the Palio

The Palio is a year-long strategic battle culminating in two annual events. Each and every Sienese is involved in the Palio in some way; the result of what may seem like ‘just a horse race’ is in fact glory or despair for those who live here. It has been this way since medieval times.

In the Palio, ten hired jockeys (each representing a Contrade or district) race bareback at breakneck speed around a dirt track, whipping each other in a game where anything goes as long as you win and the greatest disgrace is to come second. It’s not uncommon for many of the horses to lose their jockeys during the race – a horse without a rider can still win!  The Palio itself may be over in 90 seconds but the impact makes history”.

You can see that winning means everything to every man, woman and child in Siena who come out in force to cheer on and celebrate the fortunes of their jockey and horse.

However this is not as straight forward as it seems.

Palio - Siena

This year we spent some time with a local who explained to us that huge money goes into the Palio by each of the districts – this goes on wages for the jockeys and their training but it also goes on bribes and other shenanigans. It is now part of the ritual that the jockey might pay another competing jockey to ‘block‘ or interfere with one of their rival districts in exchange for a fee.

He told us that last year one of the jockeys did a ‘double backhanded deal‘ , which was discovered afterwards by his Contrade and as a result he ended up spending 3 months in hospital from a beating!

Palio - massimo-columbu-al-palio-di-siena

We enjoyed the few rehearsal days and then watched the final and as usual the race was over in 90 seconds. I was astounded to see one of the jockeys in front of 60,000 people and in the full glare of TV spend all of his energy wrestling another ‘rival’ jockey off his horse instead of concentrating on winning himself. In any other sport this would be automatic disqualification and a lifetime ban – with the Palio it just seems to be a normal part of the race.

The offending jockey had no interest in winning and all he wanted to do was to make sure that his rival did not win. Somehow the point of this race has been lost and yet it tells a huge truth, which we all see everyday.

With competitors when bitter rivalry sets in you need to be very careful because you might never win yourself.

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Marketing, PR, Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Irelan