Archive for the ‘Management’ Category

The ‘Always Great’ boat

October 11, 2017

Always Great

Things are definitely much better than they were but something has also switched with everyone’s moods…

People are bouncing again – can you feel it?

Business seems to be coming in a little easier, moods have lifted, budgets have opened up and people are committing to Positive Costs and positive activities once again.

It’s not so long ago that we were fearful of asking people how business was going – it was one bad story after the next. Now they are starting to whistle!

We might begin to feel that we are better business people than we were a few years ago – we might feel this because the tills are ringing more than before. It feels good, it feels damn good, and therefore we must really be great at what we do as the results are there for all to see – isn’t this true?

But ….we need to be very careful and guard against even the tiniest signs of complacency.

We should most definitely enjoy this time but just as importantly, we need to stay objective and keep delivering our “A” game, even when it feels like our “B” or even our ”C” game might suffice.

When times were tough we had to deliver above and beyond to just survive – now it is just as important that we keep doing this, even when it may not seem as necessary.

There is a very welcome rising tide that is lifting all of our boats – Make sure your boat is called ‘Always Great‘ and that everyone on board knows exactly what this means.

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

 

 

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

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

United Airlines and the Costly Culture

April 16, 2017

United Airlines protests.

When you hear the company name “United Airlines” what comes to mind?

When you hear the company name “Volkswagen” what comes to mind?

In both cases, you probably think of the well publicised and very damaging situations that have occurred, which have caused untold damage to these monstrous brands.

At the time of writing United Airline shares had dropped significantly resulting in a market capitalisation collapse of $570 Million.

While United Airlines was a very specific incident and Volkswagen was a very deliberate campaign of deception what they both have in common is that what occurred was not something that you could blame on “a” culprit in each company.

With United Airlines could you point the finger at the security guards who removed the passenger?

With Volkswagen could you point the finger at the engineers who were able to rig the emissions performance?

In each case, the individuals involved knew that what they did was okay with their bosses – why would they do such a thing otherwise?

In each case, their bosses knew that this was what they were expected to instruct their subordinates to do – why else would they give guidance like this?

In each case, their bosses, bosses had jobs to do and targets to meet and the expectation was that these must be achieved as a priority beyond all other objectives.

And so on up the chain of command.

The huge problem in large organisations is that very often something rotten is allowed to creep into the culture resulting in management and employees behaving really badly and eventually it just bursts through and shows its ugly face in a way that is quite extraordinarily shocking to everyone.

Oscar Munoz - United Airlines

For example with United Airlines the initial reaction of Chairman Oscar Munoz was to apologise to other passengers for the “upsetting event” but went on to push the blame onto the 69-year-old victim Dr.Dao for being “disruptive and belligerent“!

If you ever wanted someone to confirm the rotten culture at the airline, Mr.Munoz did it in his next communication to his staff where he praised them and stood behind them:

Our employees followed established procedures for dealing with situations like this. While I deeply regret this situation arose, I also emphatically stand behind all of you, and I want to commend you for continuing to go above and beyond to ensure we fly right

In a strange way, he was 100% correct – they did what was expected of them in these situations and as a result, he applauded them!!

At this point in time, the airline’s reputation was in tatters and Oscar and his team started to frantically backpaddle and within three days their tone had changed and fresh press statements included grovelling apologies to Dr.Dao for the appalling treatment and a full refund to all passengers on the flight (what difference was this ridiculous gesture going to do for anyone?).

The best PR advice when something like this occurs is to come clean and apologise immediately with complete sincerity. The word “Sorry” if people genuinely believe those that are delivering the apology can go a long way to reducing the damage caused.

However, just like in the United Airlines scenario a genuine “sorry” was not possible because the culture was too rotten to even contemplate doing such a thing – the expression ‘not being able to see the wood from the trees‘ comes to mind here.

Your reputation ultimately comes from what you do and how you behave and while good PR professionals can help to lessen the damage from a bad situation, it cannot change the culture, which can often be the reason why these things ended up happening in the first place.

Could your culture end up costing you?

Greg Canty 

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

What do you bring to work? – the Gospel according to The Boss

February 18, 2017

Bruce Springsteen - Born to Run

I always tell the fantastic team that work with me and Dee at Fuzion Communications, that they don’t work for an entity, they actually work for themselves.

Fuzion isn’t the place where they work, it is them, it is us.

Together we turn up, we ply our trade and we give of ourselves and the result of this is Fuzion.

The place where we work is what we collectively make of it, and it is up to us together, to make it a special place that we can all enjoy.

When we get this right and we enjoy doing great work together for our clients we call it Win Happy.

When anyone new starts I explain our simple work philosophy to them and I am sure they think I am a total crackpot because sadly it doesn’t normally operate like this in the workplace.

I am in the middle of a fantastic book and the following powerful excerpt really resonated with me as it describes our philosophy better than I ever can:

There is love and respect in the centre of everything that we do together.

It’s not just business, it’s personal.

When you come to work with me, I had to be assured that you’d bring your heart

Heart sealed the deal.

We are more than an idea, an aesthetic. We are a philosophy, a collective, with a professional code of honour.

It is based on the principle that we bring our best, everything we have, to remind you of everything you have, your best.

That it’s a privilege to exchange smiles, soul and heart directly with the people in front of you.

That it’s an honour and great fun to join in concert with those whom you’ve invested so much of yourself in and they in you, your fans, the stars above, this moment, and apply your trade humbly (or not so!) as a piece of a long, spirited chain you’re thankful to be a small link in.  

Bruce Springsteen

Excerpt from his book ‘Born to Run’

#WinHappy

Greg Canty 

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

 

Trust and restoring broken reputations

February 11, 2017

Maurice McCabe

If things weren’t bad before, they became even worse this week for An Garda Síochána when it was revealed that an “incorrect” sexual abuse file was held against Maurice McCabe by Tusla, the family and child protection agency.

Everyone in the media is being extra careful to avoid stating the obvious conclusions as they risk getting into trouble legally. However, they have published the various statements by those parties involved and reported the facts as they came to light and they keep probing and probing for the truth in this sinister mess to reveal itself fully.

Incidents like this demonstrate once again why we need professional, intelligent journalism to bring us the truth as we can’t rely solely on social media to deliver this. Social media is fantastic as it gives us a powerful voice to demonstrate our dissatisfaction as loudly as we feel is appropriate.

We heard the statement by the Garda Commissioner, Nóirín O’Sullivan, the leader of the organisation who has claimed that she know nothing of the sexual abuse shenanigans with the whistleblower, Maurice McCabe.

Tusla in the meantime have issued their own statement claiming that their file against Maurice McCabe with the atrocious false claims against him were a ‘clerical error‘.

The comical little addition to the Tusla story was that their official apology to Maurice McCabe was sent to the wrong address!

The public are no fools and the generally held, unsurprising conclusion about this story is that senior members of the Gardaí who were unhappy with their whistle blowing colleague tried to smear his reputation in the worst possible way to punish him and protect themselves.

Even worse in this sorry saga, Tusla were obviously happy to play ball with their Garda acquaintances.

This stinks to high heaven and leaves all of us with two awful conclusions:

We cannot trust An Garda Síochána and we cannot trust Tusla.

When you consider the crucial role that both of these state bodies are paid to provide, ‘trust‘ is not a negotiable, nice to have attribute. Trust is everything.

What next?

To begin the long road of rebuilding trust in both organisations there can be no more fluffing about and decisive action and clear communication is required.

Our strong advice to those in charge would be to get ahead of the story, remove all doubts and demonstrate in no uncertain way how important regaining trust is.

This is the time for An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny or Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald to take decisive action and remove Nóirín O’Sullivan from her role and get the investigation started immediately.

This is the time for Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone to demand a 100% honest statement from the CEO of Tusla, Fred McBride as to what actually happened. If this is as farcical as the ‘clerical error’ statement, he should also be removed from his role.

The reputation of these two state organisations is not negotiable – start demonstrating it.

Greg Canty 

Fuzion provide Crisis PR services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland 

 

 

 

 

 

Your most important customer 

August 12, 2016

Cakes - Fuzion

Last week our fantastic and very lovely graphic design intern, Marianne sent everyone in the team this mouthwatering email:

Morning, there are some home-made buns in the reception area should you fancy something sweet. They are cinnamon sugar and amaretto sugar buns (hope no one has nut allergies). Enjoy!

Enjoy?!!

They were absolutely delicious but more than that, this fantastic gesture by her was a brilliant way to make a connection with her fellow teammates on her first week.

This huge gesture blew me away and it got me thinking about customers and customer service.

The most important customers aren’t the crew out there that buy our goods and services, they are the people who work alongside us, day in and day out. Our bosses, our peers, our trainees, our interns – our relationship with these individuals is the most important one of all.

We spend most of our waking hours together and ultimately it is this group who will help to deliver your personal success, who will generate your income, who will make your days more enjoyable, who we need when we have problems and are under pressure.

Most of us can’t do it by ourselves and isn’t it much more fun when we do it together?

The most important customer is the person who works with you – look after them, treasure them.

Well done Marianne and thank you. You get it.

#WinHappy 

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Marketing, PR, GraphicDesign services 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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Culture Creep

December 29, 2015

Tony Hsieh

Tony Hsieh, CEO and founder of Zappos speaks about culture in a very clear way “Our belief is that if we get the culture right, most of the other stuff – like delivering great customer service, or building a long-term enduring brand and business will happen naturally on its own

He believes in this so much that every year he produces a ‘culture book‘ for the company. This isn’t something that management drafts with rules and guidelines and inspirational words but it is something that all employees, partners and vendors are invited to feed into.

The submissions are not edited except for typos as it is intended to capture the culture of his special club.

He gets that the culture of the business is the driving force behind it but he also gets that you can’t dictate it – it is what it is and he uses the book to capture the pulse of the organisation in a clean way.

If you read Hsieh’s book ‘Delivering Happiness‘ you will learn the lengths the company goes to, to ensure that the right culture is ingrained in every employee from the minute they join and even some novel ideas to encourage people who “don’t fit” to quickly exit (they will pay you €2,000 to quit!) to ensure they don’t infect the business.

Culture creep

An article caught my attention recently in the Daily Telegraph about the recent VW scandal with the headline ‘Emissions rigging scandal was caused by the firm’s culture

VW Scandal

The chairman, Hans Dieter Potsch stated that “misconduct, flaws in our processes and an attitude that tolerated breaches of rules” had been allowed stretching back over a decade and ending with the company deliberately cheating pollution control tests on a massive scale.

He went on to state “This was not attributable to a once off error, but an unbroken chain of errors“.

The day an employee starts a new job they quickly learn the lay of the land – what is the place like, what does it take to progress, what things get you in trouble, what are the golden rules?

These important things aren’t what is printed in the ‘hand book‘ or on the company website but they are the living, breathing dynamics of everyday work life that you need to learn quickly if you want to survive and progress in your new job.

Ironically on the VW website they have a campaign called “Think Blue” . Read the blurb: “Everyone can help to treat our environment better. At Volkswagen we are not satisfied just to build cars with lower CO2 emissions. Instead we have taken a much more holistic attitude towards ecological sustainability: “Think Blue.

I couldn’t find anything on their website about the culture and values of the company.

What happened at VW ?

It seems that a culture creep happened whereby my boss thought it was ok to bend the rules because his boss thought it was ok because his boss said it was and this obviously crept up and down the organisation until a culture of honesty and integrity (corporate buzzwords you will regularly see as key values) had virtually disintegrated. This however didn’t stop the marketing machine with their ‘Think Blue‘ campaign!

This culture creep obviously took years to infect the company but it did have to start somewhere with people in senior positions for whatever reasons (pressure, bonuses, incompetence?) making really damaging decisions, which have possibly irrevocably wrecked the proud reputation of this fabulous company built gradually since the forties.

A strong culture is a core element of your brand and it needs to be nurtured and protected by every single person in your organisation. The branding, inspirational taglines, value statements, books and brochures should be expressions of this culture but they must be real and must genuinely reflect the ethos and ‘truth‘ that exists in the business.

Anything else will eventually be found out..

Greg Canty is a Managing Partner of Fuzion Marketing, PR and Design.

 Fuzion provide Crisis PR services and run Brand Workshops for clients from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

 

The Team Challenge and listening to that Voice in your Head

December 18, 2015

Team spirit

It’s that time of the year again and we are planning our ‘team day‘ to sign off another year.

This is always a special day when we discuss our plans for the new year, do a few team things together and toast the successes during the year gone by.

My team is really important to me and while this is made up of a group of individuals it is the collective that makes it so special.

We work hard to create a special atmosphere that allows a team spirit to thrive – this is always about respecting each other, working hard, having fun, encouraging, praising, supporting, celebrating special occasions, team days and every Friday we go to lunch together and break bread.

We call this #WinHappy and it is about working hard together in a good, enjoyable, supportive atmosphere – when you get this right you win with a big smile on your face!

The team spirit process starts when we recruit and we place a big emphasis on the character of the individual as well as their technical ability. In our job specifications we make it clear that we want ‘heart and soul‘ team players.

While we work hard to create that special atmosphere it will only happen when the individual plays their part, which does involve a sacrifice on their part.

Team sacrifice

Will I stay on for drinks after work, will I give up my Friday lunch, will I stay back and help, will I attend the networking event, will I give up my night and celebrate with the team? Why can’t I just punch in my time and head home once my work is done?

While I would love to say we always get it right in Fuzion and succeed in creating that special team spirit there have been times when this just hasn’t been the case. Invariably the reason for this has been that someone who doesn’t fully buy into or fit into the Fuzion ethos has started working with us and it quickly upsets the whole dynamic.

When this dynamic isn’t right it is very damaging for the whole business and everything becomes more difficult. It is like playing a match with a big weight on your back and at the time you realise that something is wrong but often it’s not a very easy thing to sort out.

When it is not right you end up with unhealthy cliques, sniping and personal agendas, people not helping each other, upset and stress, jealousy, silly games, poor work and a lack of commitment. This will impact on the quality of the work at some point.

Even worse in our own business I have witnessed the transformation of great, positive people into disheartened, unmotivated and disruptive individuals in a matter of months when the wrong atmosphere develops. Just one person who isn’t the right fit can change everything.

On each of the few occasions when this happened it has been quite easy to pinpoint the individuals who upset the team balance and in every single case during the recruitment process I can recall that clear voice in my head saying “they are not a fit for Fuzion” or  “this just doesn’t feel right“.

In each of these scenarios I forced myself to ignore the voice in my head when the evidence on their CV’s was so strong convincing me that they would be a great fit for Fuzion – none of these appointments have ever worked out!

I wonder if each of the individuals themselves knew they weren’t a fit? –  I guess when you need a job you too can ignore these voices.

I’m looking forward to our team day, to enjoying the year ahead together and making sure that I always listen to those reliable voices.. 

Greg Canty 

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