Archive for the ‘Personal development’ Category

I had a great year because…

January 1, 2018

Visualisation

For the last few years I have been doing this simple little exercise at the start of the year to help me get focused around things that are important both personally and professionally.

I have found it to be really useful and it has made a big difference and as I look back at last year I can see the things that I have achieved as a result of this focus. In Fuzion we also ask all of the team to do this – it is really important to us that everyone in the team achieves their own personal and career goals.

Making plans and actually achieving them is always challenging and at the start of the year we find ourselves at the start of that loop all over again making promises that often will never materialise!

Benjamin Zander - The Art of PossibilityA few years ago I was inspired by a book about goal setting in a different way called “The Art of Possibility” by Benjamin and Rosamund Zander (a really interesting motivational book by the conductor of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra and his wife who is an executive coach).

Benjamin Zander, the conductor has the task every year of bringing out the very best from a large group of very talented musicians for his orchestra.

His approach is rooted in the power of visualisation – the simple idea behind this is that if you visualise what you want to achieve then there is a much better chance of it actually happening (disbelievers ….stop reading now !!)

This is my approach to his great idea to tap into all of Your Possibilities..

Take a quiet few moments so you can concentrate with a blank sheet of paper and a pen and do some visualisation – Take a few deep breaths and relax and close your eyes.

Now imagine the last working day of this year, just before you head out the door to do some last minute shopping and enjoy a well-earned rest. You are feeling really satisfied as you reflect on your fantastic achievements during the year. Some of these were personal things and some of these were professional things – you are feeling great!

Now open your eyes and start writing:

I had a great year because ….

Now off you go and list the things that will make this year a great one for you:.

Take your time and be as specific as you can including all of those business and personal goals that will give you that huge sense of satisfaction on that last work day.

Now you need to study this list and start figuring out how you can make this list come to life.

Put your piece of paper in a safe place so that you can refer to it throughout the year to make sure your wish list stays on track.

Enjoy realising all of your possibilities..

Happy New Year

This clip of Benjamin Zander is really motivational and well worth watching.

Greg Canty 

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

Stop playing politics

October 30, 2017

Jeff Flake speech

In the earlier part of my career as an accountant I used to hear people talk about “Being Political” and naively I never quite got what it meant.

Did it mean being sneaky, being dishonest, playing silly buggers instead of just doing your job?

I never quite got it, and I did think that, if it did exist it was something that happened in large organisations or literally in politics, where it sadly seemed to be a necessary part of that game.

As far as I was concerned. as long as I worked hard I would get ahead and there was no reason for me to believe that I needed to act otherwise.

I worked hard in a busy accountancy and management consultants office and progressed well. I worked hard in an American subsidiary of a multinational and progressed well. I worked hard in a subsidiary of Guinness and progressed well and I found myself promoted to the role of General Manager at the age of 28.

I could see “politics” happening externally around me but it was still a case of, work hard and you will always progress.

I then took up a role with the fantastic Guinness company in Dublin and six months later I discovered that my ‘hard work’ previously effective instrument was no longer sufficient to progress – I had to learn how to play politics to get on!

I never quite cracked this skill and while I had a fantastic time working at St.James Gate I can quite honestly admit that I never fulfilled my potential, even though I did learn a lot and make some contribution to the business.

I guess I was never the type that was suited to playing games and I guess this is why I was always suited to entrepreneurship, where you make your own bed and lie in it.

What does “being political” actually mean?

Being apolitical refers to situations in which people take an unbiased position in regard to a political matter.

I guess if you are being political it means you give up on your own views and principles, you take positions on things that are not yours to stay in some sort of favour with others, for some other benefit (a promotion, a raise maybe?).

Once this creeps in, as I saw in Guinness you never get to see all of the potential of the people there. Many will leave frustrated and those that stay will be the ones who are good at surviving in that environment. A lot of positive energy gets suppressed and the business never performs at the level that was possible.

At a certain point it is accepted that “this is the norm” and something bad creeps in forever.

Republican Senator Jeff Flake

I watched the speech last week given by Senator Jeff Flake of the Republican Party in the United States whereby he was declaring that he was ‘turning his back‘ on politics and not running again.

He used the words “the new normal” and how we must not let what is happening now become ‘the new normal‘.

If you listen to the content of his speech it is very interesting and quite sad with some very basic points, which illuminate how bad things have become when you ‘play politics‘ at the very highest level with the dangerous potential of affecting the whole world.

There are times when you must risk your career in favour of your principles” – the opposite is a scary place to be. Who are we if we don’t follow principles – do you want that person working with you?

We are all complicit when we don’t stand up when we know wrong things are happening” – this should be something basic you would want in everyone you work with.

The flagrant disregard for truth and decency“`- the new norm?

The reckless provocations, most often for the pettiest and most personal reasons” – the schoolyard bully?

Heaven help us if this is politics as usual” – this feels like a huge cry for help and something higher to intervene

Reckless, outrageous and undignified behaviour has become excused as telling it as it is” – politics in all its glory

When this come from the top it is something else, it is dangerous to democracy

Our strength comes from our values” – the most powerful statement of all.

It is often said that children are watching” – We are setting an awful example for the next generation

Remaining silent and failing to act in fear of making enemies is dishonouring our principles” – Yep!

I think you get the idea…

If you want your business to flourish then be proactive about creating a culture that brings out the very best of people. and one where no one is afraid of speaking their mind in fear of the consequences.

Stop playing politics…

Well done to Jeff Flake for standing up to the biggest bully of them all, potentially the most powerful and most dangerous man in the world today, Donald Trump.

Check out the full speech by Jeff Flake, which already many are considering to be one of the most important of our age.

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

 

 

 

 

Is age diversity the biggest opportunity?

October 28, 2017

Fintech 20

I was thrilled to be the moderator on one of the discussion panels at the fantastic FinTech conference at UCD organised by Simon Cocking and his team from Irish Tech News.

There are clearly many opportunities in this dynamic sector and the jam packed agenda featured startups in the space, established businesses, financiers and angel investors as well as sponsors with a vested interest in the sector.

One of the observations that was made on the day was (as usual) about the gender mix in the room, which was I’m guessing, about 75/25% male versus female.

This probably reflects the tech sector generally as it just seems to attract more males than females – the event was a free to attend event.

Mary McKenna, an Angel Investor and a great person into bargain, shared her philosophy about how she chooses projects to invest in. While the project or idea always has to be great and have an element of ‘doing good’ she looks for great, committed people in that business to drive it forward.

Her other critical criteria is that the founders must be female!

A few (including me!) immediately questioned her logic for taking this position – were females better, could they be trusted more, did they bring special qualities to the table? Why Mary??

Mary’s answer was really simple – it’s my money and I can do what I want with it. I’m choosing to invest in females and that’s that! There was a collective shrug of the shoulders in the auditorium. Fair enough….

Mary might miss out on great projects and bigger opportunities, that also do good because of her narrow criteria, but it is her money and her prerogative.

If the gender equality police had their way this would be a crime – if it was a stated preference for male founders I’m guessing there would be total outrage!! (equality must play both ways people).

Age Diversity

On one of the panels, which was discussing the challenge of attracting talent, inevitably the topic of male versus female was raised. One of the panellists changed the diversity focus to age instead of gender, which they felt was a more relevant one worthy of more discussion.

To emphasise the point he went on to explain a recent recruitment experience that he had in their company. He was explaining the value of recruiting older people instead of the obsession about millennials – recently they employed an older person and I sat up to hear a little more…

Someone in their sixties maybe? – he was trying to make a point, after all.

It was someone in their forties!!

As a 52 year old I was shifting uneasily in my seat as I reckoned if I was not self employed, many would not even consider me for a job.

I’ve been seeing quite a few revealing articles on this topic recently – one in particular makes some great arguments for the importance of age diversity in business,

An article on the Chron, tech website says: “Companies that employ workers in wide ranges of age have the advantage of creating a dynamic, multi-generational workforce — with a diverse range of skill sets — that is beneficial to the company”

Specifically they list the following advantages:

Diverse Skill Sets – Each age group brings their own unique skills and talents. Young employees are likely to have a strong grasp on the use of high-tech business mediums and more mature professionals often have exceptional interpersonal skills and perform well in environments where traditional in-person communication is used.

Technology – While the younger generation have grown up with technology all generations are using it.

Business Skills – Just as younger generations are credited with having good working knowledge of business technology, more mature members of a workforce have the advantage of traditional business skills.

Mentoring – Employees of all ages have the opportunity to teach, share and learn from one another.

Continuity – A mix of maturity and experience with the vitality, energy and rawness of youth is likely to create a strong mix that ensures a strong identity and culture that protects continuity of the business

So..while we are all getting quite obsessed about the boys versus girls, please don’t forget about the old fogies in their forties, fifties, sixties and beyond – we have a lot to offer!

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

 

 

 

 

Podcasts and Super Powers

September 3, 2017

Super Powers

I was just after dropping my brother Colin and his family at Shannon Airport for their early flight back to the States.

I wasn’t quite in the mood for music as I faced that awful Limerick to Cork road so I searched some Podcasts that I had downloaded to pass the horrible journey.

First up was an interview with a former news anchor who has since specialised in Digital Marketing – I fully agree with the core theme of the conversation, which was all about discovering the passion behind the people and showing some personality and even a little vulnerability through genuine social media updates and storytelling via blogs.

The second podcast that took me all the way to my front door was an interview with a guy who worked as Head of Creative in an advertising agency.

The interviewer used a series of clever ‘quick fire’ questions to get to know this guy a little better and he asked a fantastic one, which I thought was really simple but also thought provoking and quite brilliant.

What is your work Super Power?” he asked this clearly successful Creative Director.

The answer he gave was one that I wasn’t expecting: “Resilience” he answered.

The interviewee went on to explain that in his career he received many knocks and push backs but he used all of these as ‘fuel’ to try harder and prove others wrong.

He also explained that in the course of his business he had lost many pitches to prospective clients – once again these just made him more determined to succeed next time.

He reckoned this try and try again  ‘Super Power‘ was his greatest asset that had led to career success.

Having someone on your team that is very resilient is definitely a huge advantage.

He also mentioned another ‘Super Power‘ which was his ability to survive on very little sleep, which he reckoned was also a big plus in the advertising industry!

The very unusual thing about these ‘Super Powers’ is that while they are clearly valuable they are things that you would never see listed in someone’s bio in a pitch document or on your website.

I really found this question to be a powerful one – as we are in the middle of updating the bios for our team I was struggling a little with descriptions that in some cases just weren’t capturing some of the special and most valuable attributes that our crew possess. I’m going to add a ‘Super Power’ description for everyone!

So…the valuable lessons that I learnt at 7am on a crappy Sunday morning – listen to Podcasts that might help you to learn something new and try to capture the ‘Super Powers’ of your team!

What is your Super Power?

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

 

 

 

 

You look good!

July 31, 2017

I’ve just received a connection request from a person on LinkedIn.

I don’t recognise the person’s name and they describe themselves as being the General Manager of a company.

On the face of it, maybe a good person to connect with?

But….

..the person’s profile pic (not that young) is a selfie of them wearing shades and a baseball cap, pictured alongside another person. They are clearly having fun at some event and in their eternal wisdom have decided that this pic was a good one to use for their profile.

I am fascinated by LinkedIn and must admit that most users seem to have figured it out, and are quite good at putting their best foot forward.

However, I am still seeing oodles of accounts with typos, all lower case for their name, no description of what they do and really poorly chosen photos – holding a pint at a function does not make a great business photo!

LinkedIn is your personal, business website – it’s not Facebook!

Think carefully about the image you choose for yourself (and those in your team) as we all tend to judge each other by how we look.

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

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

 

Expressing what you think of others..

July 3, 2017

Trump

Sometimes when you make your feelings known about others it can end up saying even more about you than it does about them:

Trump tweets

Be careful what you say online..

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

 

Back to life

June 20, 2017

Back to Life

….another holiday done.

This time it was with Dee and a gang of family and friends who went to Arezzo in Tuscany in Italy for their very tribal Jousting Festival – if you haven’t been, then check it out as it is a very special ritual that happens twice every summer in the city.

For the most part the whole of our gang stayed together in an Agri Tourism holiday farm development in the country about 15 miles from the city.

We lounged by the pool, we walked in the soaring heat into the local town of Subbiano for the cheapest fresh bread, rolls, prosciutto, cheese and fruit, we enjoyed our coffees and delicious pastries, we joked about how it was impossible to break 5 Euros (it was incredibly cheap everywhere!), we went to a vineyard, we had meals out, we drove to the wonderful Sienna and we sat about day and night sharing beer, great wine, delicious food, endless chit chat and lots of laughter.

Dee and I also spent two days at the beginning of the holiday by ourselves in the beautiful city of Verona, the home of Romeo and Juliet and many superb restaurants.

And now it’s all done, I’m sitting in the temporary boarding lounge at Bergamo Airpost as we make our journey “back to life“, ordinary life, until the next time.

I did manage to unwind a little, I stayed on top of work by keeping an eye on emails each day and I did really enjoy the time with friends and loved ones. 11 days is never enough time to properly relax but you have to make the most of your downtime.

So …normal life waits, the sun is shining in Ireland thankfully, I’m looking forward to seeing the two dogs, Honey and Bert, I’m looking forward to catching up with friends, mum and dad, I’m looking forward to seeing my work buddies and then there is the work itself.

Work – that thing that I seem to spend most of my life on, that thing that seems to give me a sense of purpose, that thing that definitely consumes me.

People talk about Work/Life/Balance and this is mostly measured by how much time you spend working and how much time you have for other things.

For me it all depends on what the “W” looks like – if it’s a grind, providing no satisfaction, then a minute spent working is a minute too much.

I love what I do as we have carefully created something very special, that is interesting, rewarding and challenging. I do know however that you have to have downtime, so that it stays interesting, rewarding and challenging and you are able to apply yourself to it fresh, with energy and enjoyment.

I run that battery down a little too much so I do need to be careful, which is my big post-holiday resolution to myself.

So, back to life?

I’m lucky, It’s a good life..

#WinHappy

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 Ultimate Football Legend

June 18, 2017

“Legend” is a huge word and when we talk about football legends we all have our favourites depending on what we look for in a player, the era when we grew up, the part of the world we come from and our favourite teams.

Could it be Pele, the sublime Brazilian magician with the huge smile who captured the worlds attention at the beginning of the football watching TV generation or is it  the more recent Messi or free scoring Ronaldo (ok, he’s brilliant but what a poser!)?

As a huge Liverpool FC fan I have to think about putting Kenny Daglish on my list as well as Robbie Fowler who in his prime must get a mention. How could I ignore Steven Gerrard who played a huge role in any success the team enjoyed in the more recent past and I also loved the no messing, elegant centre half Sami Hyppia.

When pushed for an absolute winner someone else, someone very special, but quite unknown rushes to the top of my list. 

He’s a man who played to a very high level in Cork before emigrating to the United States in 1958, captaining teams that enjoyed national success. He played as a centre half in those teams and according to many people I have met down through the years he was highly respected.

Football, or soccer wasn’t popular in the U.S. but he did play a little over there and he continued to play in local leagues when he returned to Cork in 1964.

Like all proud fathers he played endless hours of football with his own son and then his grandchildren, passing on his passion, his encouragement and his skills to other generations. These different generations were brought to see Cork Hibs, Cork Celtic and later Cork City FC matches on a regular basis.

His love of football and fantastic, encouraging manner with young people had the neighbouring children knocking on his front door wondering was he coming out to play football with them on a regular basis!

I had the honour of walking with him recently in Ballincollig Park in Cork. Suddenly I found myself chatting to myself as he was no longer walking alongside me.

I looked back to see that he had stopped and was kicking a football back and forth to a young girl who was at the park with her mother. He was showing her how to kick the ball properly and had her repeating the action, over and over.

My number 1, football legend is Michael Canty (Mick to his teammates), my dad.

Thank you Pops, you are the very best

Greg Canty 

No man’s land in the sun

June 12, 2017

We are a few days into our summer break and for some reason I just can’t settle today.

Maybe it’s because it’s a Monday or maybe it’s because we have spent a few days lazing around, eating great food, drinking great beer and wine and my natural clock is telling me I should not be relaxing anymore.

Then again when I think about it I haven’t really been relaxing.

Day one was travelling and discovering Verona. 

Day two was a bike tour of Verona , more driving and more discovery and day three was a three and a half hour car journey on busy motorways to Arezzo, some shopping, meeting up with the guys and settling into our fantastic accommodation. We are staying in a gorgeous farmhouse holiday development called Agriturismo Azienda Agricola II Pozzo complete with their own olive pressing and vines. 

Yesterday was our first ‘wake up without having to go anywhere’ days, but we did drive to the town, grabbed some food, did some grocery shopping, lazed by the pool and then headed out again for dinner. A few of us sat around and had a few drinks before retiring.

Today I woke up needing to move, go, do something but after breakfast the day quickly caught up on us as the sun beat down so instead it was a laze by the pool day but I never managed to settle.

I wasn’t relaxed enough to pick up a book so I checked emails, I checked Twitter, I listened to part of the new Roger Waters album, I listened to a podcast, I rang my mum, I chatted to the guys – I had “ants in my pants” without being able to properly settle down for a minute.

A siesta was suggested ….No!!! I need to move, not stop.

And now I turn to writing a blog about this silly state I find myself in.

While everyone else is able to slow down to zero I still find that I’m just not able to, at least not today, not now.

I am caught in that “no man’s land” state of being on holidays but still not being able to give in and properly relax – I better relax soon because before I know it it will be time to come home.

Ok…what will I do now? 

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