Archive for the ‘Personal development’ Category

The Bravery of Loris Karius

May 27, 2018

Loris Karius

Like all Liverpool FC fans I am devastated today after our team lost the Champions League Final to Real Madrid in the most bizarre match, which saw us lose our most dangerous player Mo Salah to injury due to a cynical challenge after 30 minutes, witness a blunder in a million and a then a goal in a million and then another blunder.

Our charismatic manager Jurgen Klopp said after that you need luck to win a final – he was right, we experienced the exact opposite and lost 3-1.

While a lot of the focus afterwards was on the Gareth Bale wonder goal there was just as much attention on the two “blunders” by the Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius.

As usual social media erupted and some of the nicer comments (on the negative side of the fence) were that he would never recover from such a display and would certainly never wear a Liverpool shirt again.

However, another story has been just as powerful as we watched the heartbreaking tragedy of a young man making the biggest mistakes of his professional career in front of the biggest possible audience – we watched him weeping on the ground.

For me the most striking part of this story was his bravery.

Instead of disappearing from the pitch into the nearest and darkest cupboard he walked to the Liverpool fans weeping and gesturing as he sought forgiveness.

He didn’t avoid interviews, he apologised to the fans.

He went onto Instagram today and apologised, knowing he would probably get a barrage of abuse:

I know I messed up with the two mistakes and I let you all down

I hope he gets over this huge setback and that he fulfils all of his potential and becomes a legend at our club.

In this age of money, little loyalty and an abundance of cynicism in sport we need real characters with bravery.

Loris – I’m looking forward to seeing you back in a Liverpool shirt.

 

Greg 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ok ….my first podcast is finally live!

February 28, 2018

Fuzion Win Happy Podcast

This podcast journey that we have been on started on holidays last year when Brendan, my son suggested that we listen to a podcast called S-Town.

Podcast?…I’ve never really listened to them and after all I prefer either listening to music or talk radio when traveling but why not, let’s give it a try.

When my son recommends anything to us we tend to listen as he has great taste and within the circles he moves, he is on trend and if anything cool and interesting is happening he will be on it.

S-Town

S-Town from American Life was a fascinating series of podcasts that told a really riveting story. We downloaded the whole series and queued it up on my phone to make a punishing four hour journey a little less painful!

In the blink of an eye we found ourselves in the car park of our destination hotel and even though we were in the car for four hours we sat there and listened to the end of the gripping episode.

Wow, the journey flew because we were engaged with interesting content, which we had curated ourselves.

Roll on eight months, and we are now regular podcast listeners, enjoying a wide range of content on a regular basis and quite intrigued by how this simple format is catching on with people.

Why are podcasts so good?

For me the biggest benefit is that it gives me the ability to listen to something that I have total control over when I am on a journey or exercising (nothing too extreme I promise!).

While I love my music there are times when I’d like to be entertained, informed or educated and I can do all of this with my selection of podcasts as I commute to work, travel or hop on my exercise bike.

I find podcast listening has changed my media routines quite a lot – I still listen to the radio for news and topical items, but now instead of waiting painfully through a boring topic or suffering through a news cycle that repeats frequently I switch to whatever podcast that I have in my queue.

My own listening is quite diverse and it includes things like Legends and Losers, a brilliant marketing show delivered by the engaging Christopher Lochhead, The Stand by Eamon Dunphy where he talks football and covers other issues such as U.S. politics and the Maurice McCabe saga, Pod Save America and the Axe Files, both covering American politics and delivered by ex senior members of the Obama administration, Blindboy (Rubberbandits fame) where he gives you a very strange version of how he views the world, Reply All, an American Show that investigates strange occurrences online, The Anfield Wrap, which discusses all things Liverpool and an assortment of other things including The Woman’s Podcast, which gives me another perspective on life!!

All in all, this mix of content keeps me entertained and informed about things that interest me. As you can see I’ve subscribed to a mix of business, marketing, politics, lifestyle, sports and entertainment and each week I discover some new gem that gets added to my lists (finding enough hours in the week to listen to all of these is the biggest challenge).

I don’t listen to everything, I quickly hit next if a podcast doesn’t hold my interest but just like Netflix, we have another format that allows you to curate your own content, when you are ready to tune in.

While Netflix competes with TV, I reckon podcasts are now competing with live radio and music.

I’m noticing an interesting trend with advertising on podcasts (these are often delivered in person by the podcast host) whereby the same companies keep popping up – ZipRecruiter are big advertisers on many of the American podcasts I listen to. Have they figured out that this is a great way to reach their target audience?

All of this change is leaving us with a big challenge – the more our audience have the ability to ‘curate’ their own content the more it is difficult for us to get through to them.

If you want to stay relevant you need to understand the dynamics about all media then maybe you should consider jumping in?

So…..I’ve done just that and produced the very first Fuzion ‘Win Happy’ podcast (woohoo!!!) which is available on iTunes and other formats.

For this first podcast I interviewed Brendan Foster, a senior partner of Grant Thornton in Dublin on his last day as President of Dublin Chamber. The role is a year long and he has passed on the “chain” to Anne O’Leary of Vodafone.

Brendan Foster - Dublin Chamber

He is a really nice guy, who I have got to know over the last few years as a fellow Dublin Chamber Council member.

He has witnessed the highs and lows of Celtic Tigers and recessions and is a very proud Dubliner who certainly wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth!

The whole podcast process has been a huge learning experience of buying and testing equipment, practicing interview/chat techniques, learning how to edit audio files, mix music, create intros, design artwork, hosting and putting all of this together into a final product and publishing!!!

My first effort is so far from perfect it’s not funny but at some point you have to stop deliberating and press “publish” and just accept the learning curve for what it is – I will get better !!

I’m really enjoying the whole experience, I’m having incredible conversations with great people and I can see the potential of the format for Fuzion and for our clients.

A huge thanks to Brendan Foster for jumping in and if you do fancy listening then tune in and please, please, just like that band who plays their first gig, excuse the imperfections!!!

Happy listening!!

Click here for a link to the Fuzion Podcast

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

Sorry for your loss…

February 12, 2018

Sorry for your loss

Another phone call, another person reaching out.

I haven’t spoken to her in a long time but I can guess why she is calling.

The thing is, my dad sadly passed away two weeks ago and I am still receiving calls, texts, emails and cards from many people offering their condolences. As well as this, people are still stopping me on the street or pulling me aside at meetings and having a private word.

The condolences vary from a simple “sorry for your loss” to people who knew dad and will share their own memory of him, to others who want to share their own personal experiences with grief and loss.

In many cases I can end up having the most personal conversations with people, who up until this moment I would have only had a professional relationship.

On one occasion (there have been so many), just last week, I stood in the corridor listening to one man telling me fond stories about his own father who passed away over 10 years ago. I got a sense that he just loved the opportunity of talking about his dad – my relationship with this man has changed forever.

A part of me feels that in reaching out it allows everyone to be a little human and share something that is normally private and precious to them. I get the feeling that people want to connect, they want to reach out at a level that is beyond the every day superficial interactions, and death in a very strange away provides this opportunity.

The reaching out by people, has been so incredibly welcomed – I always wondered, if it would feel like a nuisance and a little tiresome to the person on the receiving end of the barrage of condolences, but it is so much the opposite.

I also get that very often people are very uncomfortable about what to say to the person who has suffered a loss – just shake their hand, give them a hug and let them know you are thinking of them.

Each and every interaction is a valued support.

So, please, whatever is going on in your busy life, reach out to that colleague, that neighbour, that old acquaintance when they have suffered a loss.

It’s worth everything to them.

Greg Canty

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