Archive for the ‘HR’ Category

A salute to my first boss, James Barber

November 19, 2018

Greg Canty

I was really sad today to find out that my very first boss, James Barber sadly passed quite recently at Marymount Hospice.

Many people play a big role in your life, a parent, a sibling, a friend, a teacher, a classmate, a colleague, a child, a life partner but your very first boss is a very special role and in my case, James Barber was the very best boss I could have had.

Why James choose this enthusiast, post leaving cert 17 year old with a big afro, beyond other candidates I’ll never quite know but I’m very grateful that he did and I’m forever in his debt that he treated me so well and gave me a hunger and love for business as well as a lesson in how to treat young people in their first ever roles.

(The pic is of me on my first day in the job, September 1982 – my mother was very proud if me!!)

The brilliant thing about James is that he always treated me with respect. I never felt like a young kid, he brought me to business meetings when we met clients and he made me feel like my opinion and my input was always valuable.

In particular, I remember our long trips in the car to see a client in Tralee and at the end of those days I used come away from them buzzing after learning so much.

He gave all of us in the office great training, he always gave us detailed briefings and clear guidance about each client so that we were always fully informed and therefore confident that we could execute our work well and we did just that. He was the ultimate professional but he also knew how to motivate us.

James was the first person who introduced me to the world of computers – god knows how much it cost but the practice bought a machine and it sat in his office and we were invited to use it and complete tasks for clients. It sounds odd now but it was really progressive and great for all of us.

My proud boast was that we (Barber & O’Leary) were a lot more than auditors and accountants, we were business consultants and for the most part it always felt like we were adding huge value and I credit James for that clever brand positioning, which always helped us to differentiate against competitors.

He was a great accountant, but he was also a great businessmen and I loved every minute of the work on some of the projects that he was involved with.

Towards the end of my days there after I had qualified I was getting itchy feet as I wanted to be even more involved in business and not just working on accounts, so I moved on.

I think James had other plans for me and it was always a regret of mine that I didn’t explore that more but I had made up my mind to move on.

A few years ago, James actually became a client when he came to Fuzion for help with media for a project he was working on and thankfully our input made a difference and we achieved our objective for him – in a very odd way I found it strange to work for him as I still felt he was my boss, still Mr.Barber and not a peer in the business world!

To this day I still talk about those formative years working at 80a South Mall so warmly and I credit James for my grasp of all types of business and the valuable skills he taught this eager young man.

When anyone passes I firmly believe that they live on through everyone they influenced and I know there is a part of him in me.

James…Thank you for being a great boss and for giving me such a great foundation and I hope I can be just as good for all the young people that start their careers with Fuzion.

Sincere condolences to his wife and children, Vivienne, Stephen, David and Amanda.

Rest In Peace..


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

Discrimination against men!

August 29, 2013

Discrimination against men

I’m up to here with quotas for women and schemes and incentives .. enough!

The latest that has come onto my radar is a scheme and fund by Enterprise Ireland for “Ambitious Women”. – get your entry in because applications close on the 10th September!

Deirdre Clune - Fine GaelI spotted the very talented and intelligent Fine Gael Senator Deirdre Clune, blogging about it on her website  with the headline “New Fund means more Women will be at the Forefront of Irish Business“.

Now … before I go any further you are probably thinking that I have something against women.

I don’t!

I work with a team of women who are absolutely brilliant and during the course of my work I deal with incredible, intelligent, talented, professional and quite impressive women on an ongoing basis.

If you asked me to make a list of people who have impressed me lately, then truthfully more women would be on that list than men!

If you look around you and observe you can see some of these women rising to the top and starting to take the top positions in organisations. In political circles we are seeing exactly the same – Deirdre could very well be one of these in time.

The new Enterprise Ireland scheme (don’t get me wrong, any new scheme promoting entrepreneurship is great) is according to the blurb designed to “accelerate the number of high potential female-led businesses being set up in Ireland

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mr Richard Bruton stated “I’m delighted to add that this recent announcement follows on from two other successful female entrepreneurship funds which were launched last year.

If you read on you get even more of it: “The funding call is open to female-led start-ups in Manufacturing and Internationally Traded Services including Internet, Games, Apps, Cloud Computing, Enterprise Software, Lifesciences, Food, Consumer Products, Medical Devices and e-Health – This means that women can pursue viable business ideas in a multitude of areas, which in turn could generate jobs and get the economy moving

I do hope in addition to helping women jump start their business ideas the fund will also advance Ireland’s reputation on the world stage as these business areas are all globally exciting and sustainable.”

So, a female start up will get assistance but a guy with the same proposition won’t? Hmmm..

Ambitious and talented women in Ireland ….do you really want to be singled out for such special attention?

Such schemes specifically promoting women in business are wrong and if you think about it discriminatory to men and totally missing the point.

We need to be encouraging everyone to start a business – come on!

If there was a similar scheme for men, women would be up in arms and rightfully so.

Condoleezza RiceAmbitious women, wherever you are stand up and go for it

…not because there is a scheme or a quota but because you want it, you deserve it and you are more than able!

No Fund will mean more women are at the forefront of Irish business – you can do it for yourselves the same as the rest of us! 

P.S. I’m waiting for the torrent of abuse when I publish this post – It won’t be pretty!!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion 

Fuzion are a Marketing, PR and Graphic Design firm in Ireland with offices in Cork and Dublin

Turning the screw

April 28, 2013

Cork in the sun !

This blog post has been written and re-written so many times. I have deliberated about publishing it as it is quite a negative one.

Every journey has number of bumps and mine is no different – this is one of my big bumps!

Let’s hit that button!!


The sun was splitting the stones as I walked through Cork city on a gorgeous Saturday ten years ago with Dee and my kids, Brendan and Ellen.

It was a perfect day but my head was about to burst … I was far from perfect.

The torturing turning of the screw was full on and one of the owners wanted this pushy, challenging, drive forward, energetic, self minded General Manager out of their company.

Because of an underlying dispute between the joint owners of the company a big attempt was made a few years before by one of the parties to force me out and I managed, probably out of pure stubbornness to stick in there, putting up with the horrible atmosphere, beating every target and meeting every challenge that they put before me.

Company performance had never been better, we were making good profits and earlier, devious attempts to turn my management team against me had failed with the opposite now happening.

In a tough, competitive environment we were thriving.

The final straw was me taking on someone new on a commission arrangement with the Chairman’s permission – one of the owners felt this was reckless behaviour and coupled with a few other concocted incidents it was deemed that I was not to be trusted any more.

Walk the PlankAfter a visit by the new managing director of this global business it was decided that this boy would have to provide a detailed list of his movements for each week in advance, mornings and afternoons.

If the relevant powers decided this schedule was not appropriate it could be altered. His words were that “I was manager in name only and had to run all of my actions through someone else“.


I had better things to do with my life than put up with this stupidity and being constantly caught in the owners crossfire and on that sunny Saturday I decided I was done. I went home and wrote my letter informing them that my position was untenable and that I would leave in the near future.

A few weeks later I left to work on my own projects.

People ask me was it difficult (my folks thought I had lost my marbles!) to move from a good, secure, extremely well paid  job into self employment – in truth when that decision came it was not a difficult one.

Despite my considerable financial commitments (just like everyone) I had arrived at a point in my life where it was the only decision left to be made. Easy!

This turned out to be one of the best decisions I have ever made but I didn’t appreciate the heavy hands on my back.

Many felt I should take a legal route with my ex-employers but I decided it was better and healthier to focus all of my energy in a positive direction so that I could achieve my new goals and put bread on the table. However, ten years later it still lingers in the back of my mind and I remember the horrible feeling at that time.

It’s really important to me that I enjoy what I do and that in Fuzion we provide a great work environment for all of our team.

I call it #WinHappy

If you find that a screw is being turned on you do your best to take control.

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion (for ten years now!)

Looking after the triangle?

September 9, 2012

Skyscraper workers

He was a really great sales rep working for Guinness out of their Cork office. He had been in the job for a number of years, was very efficient, very intelligent, very successful and was quite popular with his customers.

He was a great asset to the company with his knowledge of the local area, which was a big deal to Guinness as it was very competitive with both Murphy Brewery and Beamish and Crawford located in the city. In his role he would have had a lot of liaison with the various brand teams in Guinness.

This was probably the most competitive patch for Guinness in all of the country. The sales structure in Guinness consisted of sales reps, there were nine regional managers, three divisional managers with an overall Commercial sales director.

As he was highly rated a lot of pressure was being put on him to look for a promotion and move up the corporate ladder. Any promotion would have probably meant a change of location. To most of the team this promotion opportunity, with more seniority, more perks and a bigger pay packet would have been a godsend – our guy had no interest, he was happy in Cork and loved what he was doing.

When this rep’s name came up in conversation in management circles there was always a sense of a “black mark” and a little cloud of disappointment against him because he wasn’t seen as being ambitious enough.

My Triangle Theory!

Triangle Theory

At the widest point of the triangle there are lots of workers. Some of these are ambitious and push themselves up the triangle into more senior jobs with more responsibility.

Above them are even more senior managers and the business owners – at the very top of the triangle there are a select few who earn the big money, are adept at corporate politics and can handle the responsibility and pressure at this level.

Often these guys and gals will have sold themselves for the job, made the big personal sacrifices, possibly relocating themselves and their families and made work their ultimate priority.

For the triangle to work best we need satisfied, happy people at each level – for those who want to push upwards there are opportunities and for those who are happy with their lot they can stay doing what they hopefully enjoy doing.

Isn’t it better having lots of happy sales reps than a bunch of unhappy sales managers?

Sometimes you have to let the Triangle look after itself …

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion are a Marketing & PR firm with offices in Cork and Dublin

Motivating the boss!

March 2, 2011
Give your boss a hug!

Give your boss a hug!

I was working on employee contracts lately, which I really hate because you get into this formal, “what happens when things go wrong” world.

You suddenly go from the niceties of the interview and the informal job offer to the “legal contract“, which at the end of the day is a vital legal document protecting you and your staff members in the event of any issues arising.

I know it has to be written in a particular way but I really try and keep it as “real” as possible capturing the essence of the agreement and the spirit of the working arrangement and our organisation. Even with our very best efforts the contracts still carry some of those awful formal bits.

Before I put the latest offer in the post I have one last glance over it and I realise that I have left something out that is really vital to me, I have actually quite carelessly left it out of all the contracts I have ever issued.

Here goes with the missing clause – In the course of your duties you must motivate the boss!

I can’t ever recall seeing something like this in an employee contract and I’m sure it would be a difficult issue to review if there were ever an issue or dispute but I do think it would be a great thing to put in there.

Like most bosses today I am juggling a million things and so many different roles. I work really hard, I try to make sure our team are motivated and happy (despite tax increases reducing their income), I make sure that our working conditions are comfortable, I make sure we stay up to date on all the latest trends and technology, I make sure that we bring in enough business to pay the bills, I make sure that we collect on time (or as best as possible) from our clients, I make sure that we pay our bills, I make sure that we pay our taxes and most of all I make sure that we deliver the magic that makes all of this happens; satisfied clients – we make sure together that we consistently deliver great results for them.

I don’t expect a medal or anything for the really long hours, effort, endurance and 24/7 focus but at times this can be really stressful and quite exhausting, particularly now when the rewards can be as simple as just staying in business, which I do fully appreciate. While I am normally really upbeat and will gladly take on the role of motivating the others at times I do slump a little – it’s at these times that I really need one of my crew to spot the “dip” and say those few words, give me a motivational pep talk, take me for a coffee or whatever it takes.

Thankfully my crew are good at spotting the dip and aren’t shy at offering a “lift” at the right time – that is one of the most valuable things they could do for me. Probably more valuable that all the other stuff that is required of them – After all there is no jurisdiction or hierarchy over motivation.

How about putting that clause in the contracts? Not so crazy after all ..

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion Communications.