Archive for the ‘Personal development’ Category

Monotonous roles and having a real purpose

November 27, 2018

Mini

I stood at the counter of the credit union with my daughter, Ellen as we filled out form after form after form – it must have been at least 100 forms with multiple signatures on each (at least that’s how it felt!) as well as answering a multitude of questions. We were there for nearly an hour and it was painful. I was a guarantor for the loan that she was applying for, which is why I was there.

I watched the very helpful lady that was dealing with us and I thought about her job, all day, everyday completing forms, pushing paper and inputting and I felt for her. She was really nice and kind and made sure that we understood the whole process and most importantly how much the monthly repayments would be and when the first one would kick in. At the end of the process we were told the money would be in her account the following Monday afternoon.

I also watched the guy behind her, who was sitting at a terminal and he appeared to be busy inputting “stuff”. Again, I wondered – what boring jobs they have. How could you do this day in day out. would it not destroy your soul?

The reason we were there was that my determined daughter needed to replace her car as her old one eventually packed up. She didn’t want any old car, she wanted something special, one that she would enjoy, a car that would get her excited and one that would put a smile on her face each day she would drive it.

She had done her shopping and set her heart on one in the UK, a gorgeous and relatively new Mini, with good mileage – she was to fly to the UK and collect the car and bring it back on the ferry. She had the whole thing figured out including the VRT (why are we paying so much more than the UK who are also in the EU??).

She rang me this week, totally exhausted – she had returned home in her new car and she was absolutely thrilled with herself, and she now had transport so she could get to work again and she could do it in style!

I thought about the lady in the credit union and the other guy and their monotonous roles – they do this everyday so that people can fulfil their dreams and get the things they want and need in their lives.

Maybe they are great jobs after all?

What is your purpose?

Greg 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR and Graphic Design agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

 

Listening to all of the Signals

November 21, 2018

Rush - Signals

I’ve been thinking a lot about signals recently, the signals that people will send you from time to time and the power of signals when you send them and what they can achieve.

(the pic. is the cover of an album by Canadian band, Rush called Signals)

Some of the signals are big ones from a business or organisation, which are meant to be noticed.

Big, clear signals that are built to deliver clear messages that they want their audience to digest in brochures, websites, adverts or press releases and sometimes there can be much smaller signals, which can be every bit as important such as phone manner, meet and greet, the little stories that can be shared via social media and even the tone of social media interactions.

The big and small signals apply equally with us, mere mortals, human beings occupying space on this earth. We do the big stuff with how we dress and present ourselves, how we speak, the language we use and our choice of subject matter, our personal interactions, how we communicate on email, our blogs and our videos, our bios on our social media accounts and the actual posts themselves.

With business or with our personal signals it is quite easy to “paint a picture” that is advantageous to you and your goals with your target audience but sometimes this may not always quite be “the truth”.

All of us, professionally or personally owe it to ourselves to present the best version of “the truth” to our audiences, but we also owe it to ourselves to never blindly accept what we see from others as there could always be another story, which may not be that obvious.

When it comes to business or personal, as receivers of these signals we need to be careful not to take what we see at face value, but instead look carefully at all of the other signals to discover what the real truth is.

For me, I have found that when something hasn’t quite worked out with an organisation or a person, there was always some signal there that I had actually noticed but had ignored because it was small and it just didn’t stack up against the bigger signals, which surely were the correct version of the truth?

Sellers – be careful with all of the signals you push out.

Buyers – be careful and take the time to look for all of the signals, and obey them!

Greg 

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

 

A salute to my first boss, James Barber

November 19, 2018

Greg Canty

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rest In Peace..

Greg 

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

Sumud and jumping off the busy “Wheel of Life” with Mick Hannigan, Co-Director of the Indie Cork Film Festival

August 19, 2018

Mick Hannigan

When I sat down to record an episode of the Fuzion Win Happy podcast, with Mick Hannigan, Co-Director of the Indie Cork Film Festival the conversation turned up many surprises, as these chats always do!

Sumud

The first thing that I learnt was that Mick was just after returning from a three month stint volunteering in the West Bank, organised by The Quakers.

He was more than surprised to find himself up a mountain in a place called Yatta (Hebron) herding a small flock sheep with a shepherd – this was just one of his duties as an international monitor in this troubled area.

He witnessed many things in his time there, including many experiences that would leave him with hope, or Sumud as they would say in Arabic.

Since I took a job in an accountancy office in the South Mall, in 1982 as a seventeen year old I have never stepped off that wheel of working – Would you step off your busy ‘Wheel of Life’ and volunteer for three months and really make a difference?

Listen to Mick’s experience in the West Bank by clicking here.

Fuzion Win Happy Podcast

30 Years Talent Spotting

Mick grew up in Blackpool in Cork, had a fun childhood but didn’t like seeing his classmates getting beaten in school.

His colourful life took him to a punk era London in the seventies and then with a few more years under his belt and more maturity he returned to Cork to complete his education in UCC.

Voluntary roles in the Quay Co-op and the Triskel, eventually led to a role as Director of the Cork Film Festival, which he held for 27 years.

His acrimonious removal from this role that he was passionate about, hurt deeply, but eventually he picked himself up, he dug deep and was instrumental in creating the Indie Cork Film Festival, which is now in it’s 6th year.

He carefully followed the ownership model of Cork City FC to ensure that some of the “politics” that he feels affected his previous organisation would not be allowed to reoccur at the Indie Cork Film Festival.

For Mick both of these roles allow his passion for spotting Irish film talent to flourish, and allow a Cork and Irish audience the chance to enjoy something special every year – thank you Mick!

When you get kicked do you have the resilience to pick yourself up and stay on your chosen course?

Click here to listen to Part 2 of our chat with the very special Mick Hannigan.

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

 

 

 

Connecting Head and Heart with Catherine Moroney, AIB

July 1, 2018

Catherine Moroney - AIB

A good buddy of mine and fellow Dublin Chamber Council member is Catherine Moroney. who also happens to be the Head of Business Banking with AIB,

I grabbed her recently for an episode of the Fuzion Win Happy podcast – I’ve been intrigued by her as she is very lovely and has clearly risen to the top of the career tree in AIB, as she holds down one of the most senior roles at the bank (how can you be so “nice” and still successful? – a fantastic role model).

How exactly did this family woman rise to the top, what was her magic?

I discovered a very interesting background as this self declared “cone head” shared stories about Paddy, her dad, about her early days growing up in Dublin, part time work in a hospital for patients with long term illness and switching from studying Archaeology in college to a job in banking!!

I pushed her hard about what it was like personally and professionally working in the bank throughout the highs of the Celtic Tiger and the colossal crash, we chatted about how the bank is handling diversity, how it is helping customers prepare for the uncertainty of Brexit and the challenge of introducing technology and not losing that connection with customers in the process.

Catherine also shares a very personal, life changing story that will shake you to your core – I’m not sure how I would cope with what she had to deal with.

Click here to listen to the show and get to know Catherine..

Enjoy…

Fuzion Win Happy Podcast

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

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