Archive for the ‘Personal development’ Category

PRIDE and the motivation behind picking up other people’s rubbish with Tom Butler, Ballincollig Tidy Towns

September 15, 2019

Ballincollig Tidy Towns

I’m always blown away when I bump into Ballincollig Tidy Towns volunteers up early on a Sunday morning as we head to the Regional Park to walk our two dogs, Honey and Bert.

Normally it is a person working diligently by themselves with their litter picker and their black bag. I always make a point of saying “hello” to them and saying “thank you”.

I quietly ask myself the question…. “What could possibly motivate you to get up on a Sunday morning and voluntarily start picking up other people’s rubbish and tidying up our town?

Our downtime is precious, time to rest, time to do our own chores, spend time with family and friends and to enjoy our hobbies, whatever they might be. As for these people, well, how do you explain it?

I was delighted to have the chance to finally chat with Tom Butler, a friend from back in the day who has been Chairperson of Ballincollig Tidy Towns for the last 20 years and ask him this very question.

To try to understand, I asked Tom about the influences in his life, lessons learnt from his scouting days, lessons from his dad, Jim, and what drives him to do what he does each day. He explained how he got involved and the incredible difference the awards have made to towns and villages all over Ireland.

Why does Tom do what he does? – it’s simple, it’s all about Pride.

Click here to listen to the chat with Tom in the Win Happy podcast 

A huge thanks to Tom Butler and the team in Ballincollig Tidy Towns for making our place so special.

Enjoy the show!

Greg 

Greg Canty is the producer of the Win Happy podcast, which is brought to you by Fuzion Communications, a full service PR, Marketing, Graphic design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in Dublin and Cork 

 

For information about podcast production, feel free to contact Fuzion

Beating the odds with SME loving co-founder of Renatus Capital, Mark Flood

September 9, 2019

Boojum

I just love chatting to people, which is what prompted me to start podcasting in the first place..

It wasn’t any great desire to become a “star” behind the microphone but it was a desire to capture some of the interesting chats that I have with interesting people about their lives and their careers and yes I do lock all of this into a theme of “Win Happy”, which for me is all about people hopefully finding happiness in their lives as they go about chasing their dreams.

In this episode I chatted with the co-founder of Renatus Capital, Mark Flood.

I first met Mark a few years back for a coffee at the cafe in the beautiful National Art Gallery in Dublin on Clare Street – we had met initially through a networking event at Dublin Chamber of Commerce, which prompted a cuppa!

I was really impressed by this sharp, very driven young man as he was telling me about this new equity finance company, Renatus Capital he had just co-founded with his old boss from BDO, Brendan Traynor.

Mark Flood - Renatus Capital

You just knew that Mark, raised on a horse farm in Meath after numerous roles including managing the Racing Post in Ireland was just itching to finally “do his own thing” – he is an entrepreneur through and through, which probably came from watching his dad literally horse trading all of those years ago.

What I really loved about Mark and what they are doing at Renatus is that they have a very sharp focus and criteria about the companies they support and their involvement with them, which is very full-on. Everyone involved in each investment is really “in the game” and when this happens you have every chance of success.

This is proving to be a winning recipe for success, which can be seen from their three key equity investments to date with Boojum, Simtech and Rennicks.

Mark, while loving every minute of his work with this busy, busy business has to do some inevitable and very delicate juggling of that valuable finite commodity, his time, as he also has a young family.

Every entrepreneur knows that success doesn’t happen without you giving your projects everything and unfortunately this always comes at a personal cost and we need to carefully weigh up all of this as we try to ‘Win’ but more importantly Win Happy!

I wish Mark and the Renatus team the best of luck in their quest..

Click here to listen to my chat with Mark and the fantastic work that they are doing at Renatus Capital.   

Enjoy the show!

Greg

Greg Canty is the producer of the Win Happy podcast, which is brought to you by Fuzion Communications, a full service PR, Marketing, Graphic design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in Dublin and Cork 

 

The conductor and the magic of teamwork

July 19, 2019

Christian Vásquez

We enjoyed a really special evening this week at the Summer Proms with a wonderful performance by the ‘National Youth Orchestra of Ireland‘ at the National Concert Hall in Dublin, who are without doubt a very talented Irish treasure.

What caught my attention particularly on the night was a very clever way of inspiring the many players by the energetic and charismatic conductor, Christian Vásquez from Venezuela

The blurb on the internet describes him as “Renowned for his charismatic stage presence, powerful interpretations and compelling musical integrity“. I got it!

I must own up to my lack of knowledge when it comes to orchestras and the role of the conductor, but if I ever needed someone to bring this to life for me it was during this performance.

The evening was a full symphonic programme made up of:

TCHAIKOVSKY : Symphony No. 2 in C minor, Op. 17 (Little Russian)
MANUEL DE FALLA : The Three Cornered Hat: Three Dances from Suite No. 2
JOSE PABLO MONCAYO : Huapango
ALBERTO GINASTERA : Dances from Estancia
ARTURO MÁRQUEZ : Danzon nr. 2
ZEQUINHA ABREU : Tico Tico

After the first segment finished the audience applauded to offer their appreciation – Christian the conductor, stepped back into the middle of the orchestra and accepted the applause but then he started to point to some of the individuals in the orchestra gesturing them to stand up and accept particular applause.

He pointed to a drummer at the back, the harpist on the left, a bass player in the middle, a violinist on the right and then a group from each section until all were standing up in unison.

While he ever so slightly embarrassed each of them with this unusual gesture, you could see them beaming with pride amidst their brief moment in the spotlight.

After each musical segment he repeated this gesturing to different individuals and as the night came to the very last sequence nearly everyone in the orchestra had been singled out for individual recognition.

I have no doubt that each player gave a little bit extra, more effort, more emotion, more passion, more verve, and more joy as they played their part on that very last song.

At the very end of the night I saw one of the players wiping his eyes – I am going to assume, these were tears of joy, a night he will never remember.

Getting the most from the talent at your disposal is one of the most important jobs as a manager.

While it is a team effort, taking the time to acknowledge the individuals in your team is one of the greatest things a manager can do. It’s not always easy to do but it always makes a difference and

…you will see the magic in the performance!

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

 

The people we meet everyday that make our world go around!

July 8, 2019

 

O'Conaills Chocolate and Coffee Shop

While we come to work and share that experience with our colleagues (and hopefully that’s a positive one), our lives are filled with a much bigger circle than that, with many different characters all participating in this play!

The neighbours, the bus drivers, the shop keepers, the postman and even the homeless people that you bump into on a regular basis form part of that greater circle that make up our normal routine.

Many of these characters will connect with you and you form relationships with them over time, with lots of surface level banter, but mini relationships all the same, and hopefully one’s that enrich your day and not the opposite.

The characters that work in the local coffee shops meet me a lot as I get my caffeine fix throughout the day, and I find that even in those few minutes when you complete that simple transaction there is an opportunity to connect and brighten each other’s day.

My favourite is O’Conaills Chocolate Shop, which is just around the corner from our Cork office.

I have a little banter with all of the team there but in particular I’ve got to know Julian (from France) and Rachel (from New Zealand) quite well as we swap idle chat about weekend and holiday plans – I miss the banter with the friendly Liv from Ohio who has recently left to continue her world travels!

On a visit a few weeks ago I joked with Julian and Rachel… “is the only thing you two do is bake buns and make coffee?

What do you expect us to do here” they asked and I joked that they could be in a band and play music for customers as they come in!

This week Julian surprised me on my coffee visit when he pulled out a guitar and played a song for me !!

We are all in this life together, going about our business and our lives.

Be nice to everyone you interact with, as it makes for a much more enjoyable life!

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

We have two lives & the second one begins when you realise you only have one!

June 4, 2019

Mario de Andrade

This beautiful poem written by Mario de Andrade (San Paolo 1893-1945), a poet, novelist, essayist and musicologist who was one of the founders of Brazilian modernism, was shared with me by my great friend Fr. John Ahern.

*MY SOUL HAS A HAT*

I counted my years
& realised that I have
Less time to live by,
Than I have lived so far.

I feel like a child who won a pack of candies: at first he ate them with pleasure,
But when he realised that there was little left, he began to taste them intensely.

I have no time for endless meetings where the statutes, rules, procedures & internal regulations are discussed,
knowing that nothing will be done.

I no longer have the patience
To stand absurd people who,
despite their chronological age,
have not grown up.

My time is too short:
I want the essence,
my spirit is in a hurry.
I do not have much candy
In the package anymore.

I want to live next to humans,
very realistic people who know
How to laugh at their mistakes,
Who are not inflated by their own triumphs
& who take responsibility for their actions.
In this way, human dignity is defended
and we live in truth and honesty.

It is the essentials that make life useful.
I want to surround myself with people
who know how to touch the hearts of those whom hard strokes of life
have learned to grow, with sweet touches of the soul.

Yes, I’m in a hurry.
I’m in a hurry to live with the intensity that only maturity can give.
I do not intend to waste any of the remaining desserts.

I am sure they will be exquisite,
much more than those eaten so far.
My goal is to reach the end satisfied
and at peace with my loved ones and my conscience.

We have two lives
& the second begins when you realise you only have one.

Send this to all of your middle aged friends!!

…It is forbidden to keep it

The Magic Ingredients of Winning!

May 8, 2019

Liverpool FC Barcelona celebrations

While I am basking in the most beautiful feeling of my team, Liverpool FC, once again pulling off another, monumental, miraculous performance to win against incredible odds against Barcelona it’s worth thinking about some of the factors why and maybe we can all take some lessons from it.

Everyone Matters

The team that went out on the pitch to face the mighty Barcelona, one of the best teams in the world wasn’t the first choice team. Many of the star names were missing and those who stepped in, players who have been pretty much second choice all season did a superb job.

…some of your team might surprise you when you ask them to step up.

Karma

At times the wonderful Barcelona were very cynical including the former Liverpool player Luis Suarez. He deliberately injured the Liverpool left back Andy Robertson, which meant he couldn’t play in the second half. His replacement scored two goals!

Philippe Countinho, the wonderful Brazilian midfielder, another former Liverpool player had an awful night. When he was with Liverpool he downed tools at a critical time to agitate for a dream move to Barcelona.

…play a good fair game, do your work ethically and honestly. It will come back in your favour.

Attitude

Jurgen Klopp, the manager from heaven always has a positive, beaming smile and an infectious enthusiasm and passion. Before this game he encouraged the team to go out and enjoy the special occasion, do what you can but make sure you enjoy it. I thunk they did just that!!

..work hard to instil a positive attitude in your team

Belief

No matter what, you have to believe that anything is possible. Jurgen told the team that he thought the task of turning around a 3-0 deficit was impossible but……he also told them that if anyone could this group of players could. They came out on the pitch believing.

…make sure your team know how great they are and believe in their capability

Morale

It is as clear as day that the morale in this team is incredible – there is a bond that has them fighting for each other and this is obvious in their behaviours, their celebrations and their social media posts.

…morale is a precious intangible, work on it

Confidence

That fragile thing, confidence. When you win and keep winning you feel unbeatable, invincible. When the opposite happens you can crumble. The best of us can lose confidence and this can happen when just a few things go against you. Understanding how this works and how you manage it is key.

…keep doing the right thing and have faith, it will bring you results

Liverpool v Barcelona

Resilience

When this team goes behind, when they get beaten they have a resilient mind, they can resist the negative feelings and believe that they have the quality to recover.

…you don’t lose, you learn for the next time. There is always a next time

Experience

There are older players who just add an extra grit and steel and maturity to the team. James Milner, that older head, who somehow manages to outrun and outfight many of the younger players can bring something special from the whole group.

…have a little thought about the older codgers like me and for the older codgers, never underestimate your value to the team

Youth

While the old guys play a valuable part the young guys can also bring freshness, vitality and quality to the team and somehow they are not out of place, even in a red hot, pressure pot atmosphere. Well done Trent and Andy Robertson!

…nurture the freshness and energy that youth brings and support them to thrive

Quality

While attitude and heart and soul will get you so far, you do need to have quality in your team. Liverpool paid big money to bring in a goalkeeper and a central defender in the last year and this quality with the right attitude makes an essential difference

…do what you can to entice the good guys and gals and what you can to hold onto them

Values and Expectations 

Some of the new players took a while to become part of this team – until they get the Liverpool way and understand what is expected of them, and can be relied to do it, they are not allowed on the pitch

…take the time with everyone you introduce to your team to ensure they get your culture and values

Quick thinking

Trent Alexexander Arnold, the young 20 year old from Liverpool gave a lesson in always being alert and looking for opportunities. When everyone else was doing the expected and taking a while to get organised for a corner, just like they do each week he spotted that they weren’t paying attention, they weren’t ready.

His alert mind spotted the gap, a momentary lapse of concentration and before anyone knew it a spontaneous, unplanned perfect ball was passed in and Liverpool had their winner, 4-0!!

…stay alert to opportunities, and encourage everyone to act on them

Staying Calm

Even under pressure you need to stay calm, even when things are going wrong, even in an intense atmosphere. Liverpool have learnt how to stay calm.

…count to 10, count to 20

Training and Hard work

Followers of Liverpool know that the pre-season training is intense and it is all about preparing the team for a gruelling season. The team work hard, run hard and more than opponents, put the opposition under pressure constantly and this takes fitness as well as hard work.

…train your team and work hard!

Learning 

Each year Klopp has learnt how to improve in a demanding English league and also how to manage a European campaign. In his first two seasons the hectic Christmas period seemed to wear his team out, which always resulted in a barren spell. He also struggled to manage both competitions. He has adapted the style of play as he has progressed and it is working!

…constantly review what you are doing, learn and adapt.

Digging Deep

When your back is against the wall you need to be able to dig deep, really deep to cope. He has “dig deepers” in this team, who keep producing the goods. Digging deep is now a habit, a hard habit to break!

…make sure you acknowledge when members of your team dig deep and how much you value it

Habits

It’s so important to get into really great, positive habits. Winning is a habit, just like hard work and always doing the right thing is a habit.

…identify the habits, the metrics that are needed to deliver success and make sure the team know and understand them

Enjoyment!

Klopp preaches to his team to enjoy their football, he preaches to the fans to enjoy the football, even the matches that seem impossible. His smile shows us that he believes it.

…work should be fun and not all serious, enjoy the experience

Management 

Jurgen Klopp manages this team, those regular players and the non regulars, the youth coming though as well as his backroom team, everyone playing their part together.

The other critical part that he manages is the crowd – he is a master of bringing them with him and showing how much and needed their support is, and the very special role that they play in generating a winning atmosphere and even more important, avoiding a negative atmosphere.

…pay attention to your team. look after them and that special dynamic

Support

Jurgen Klopp says that the incredible win would not have been possible without the support of the crowd. Not only does he bring the crowd with him and earns their support but he does the same with the players who aren’t on the pitch and the former players.

…start with you, support those around you and encourage your team to do the same

Communications

While we are talking about our industry, Klopp is a master of communications.

When he came to Liverpool, in his very first press conference he said that he would convert the fans from “Doubters to Believers‘ and in a sweep he not only won the support of every single fan but he also started a very clever process of communicating what the role of “supporters” is and the power of believing.

He is a brilliant communicator, carefully weaving his messages, carefully avoiding certain topics – he is a master!

…learn how to be a great communicator (we can help!!)

Now, enough of this blog post…back to basking!!

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

 

The Ethics of Business?

April 15, 2019

This was an impressive new venture with some good backers and people involved.

Let’s take the meeting.

These guys were launching a new App and they needed a Marketing and PR Plan to help them – we had our briefing meeting with them, getting stuck into the detail so that we had a deep understanding of their requirements.

We did our research and the team went to work developing a detailed plan for them, one which would achieve their objectives.

We met the guys and presented our plan, which they loved and they gave us the green light to proceed.

We were thrilled with the client win and to be working on such a new and exciting venture, so we handed it to our accounts guy to draw up the contract and ‘lock in’ invoicing and payment arrangements.

Problem!!

The guys would not be in a position to pay the monthly bill on receipt of an invoice at the end of the month as their funding would not be through at that stage. They would not be in a position to pay for three months.

This was really disappointing as it was the first time we heard that there would be an issue with payment. It strangely never came up in the briefing meeting!

Solution – At this stage we had a lot of work done, we were really enthusiastic about the project so as long as funds could be guaranteed we would live with the delay.

Problem number 2 !!

The guys now shared with us that funds were not in place and they were still in a pitching phase, so three months was just an estimate, which they were quite confident about but they could not guarantee with any certainty.

Solution 2 – Taking a huge leap of faith in them we offered to proceed with the work as long as we would get a Personal Guarantee to ensure that we would be paid.

What do you think happened next?

It turns out that these guys were not prepared to provide us with a personal guarantee and instead wanted us to bear all of the risk of our arrangement with them.

In effect they were quite happy entering an arrangement with us knowing that there was a good chance we would not get paid for months or at all.

Furthermore, it turns out they were hoping that we would have more faith in their project than they had themselves so as you can imagine we had no option but to walk away from the work, despite having done lots at this stage.

Ethics?

You meet all types in business but you do hope that the vast majority of them will be honest and honourable and you have to try your best to protect yourself to ensure that you don’t fall prey to the chancers, and we have met quite a few in our time.

The really worrying aspect to this “transaction” was that these young guys who are starting out on their entrepreneurial journey with credible backers/advisors, already have a belief that this is all a game and a perfectly acceptable way to deal with people.

This might be the way that new business is now being conducted but..

Don’t be anyone’s fool..

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

 

It pays to be an asshole?

March 14, 2019

Asshole

At some point in time the penny dropped that it makes you look like a really great, authoritative person if you are abrupt, rude and condescending to others.

Whatever happened in your past, this was a lesson that you learnt along the way, this was a trick that seemed to get you up that corporate ladder to the lofty position that you now hold.

Was this a parent, a mentor or a boss that taught you this great way of going about your business?

It makes you look big and everyone you deal with look and feel really small and this might actually inspire them to do more for you and maybe even do this from a position of “fear”.

This will really work won’t it??

I just had the “pleasure” of some time in this persons company (we all know at least one) and I am predicting the very worst for them and their role and the collateral damage that they will leave in their wake.

The clock is ticking..

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

 

Peter Drucker, Management Guru and a Powerful Perspective on age

March 6, 2019

Peter Drucker

I was listening recently to a podcast hosted by Tim Ferriss who was interviewing the author of what I consider to be my bible of business books, Good to Great, Jim Collins.

One of topics discussed was age and Jim put this into huge perspective by chatting about his inspiration, Peter Drucker.

Jim was lucky enough to meet this giant of the management world and when he met him first Peter was 86 and still at full throttle.

Peter was a prolific writer and one of the most respected of his time and in many ways his writings about management are still held out as being ground breaking and as relevant today as they were when they were written.

Jim was sent an image of a bookshelf that was full of all of Drucker’s books and there was a line drawn across the image that marked the volume of books written when he was 65, the typical retirement age.

Incredibly, at 65 years of age Peter Drucker had written just one third of his books!!

Peter Drucker passed away in 2005 at the age of 92 – he wrote another 10 books since Jim had met him at the age of 86!

As I am nudging closer to another birthday (those numbers keep getting bigger!!) I keep telling myself that I am only at the beginning..

Thank you Peter Drucker…

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

 

 

The Season of Goodwill?

January 6, 2019

Christmas Carol

Another Christmas “season” comes to an end.

The long break that we were looking forward to for ages, the one we all needed to get some much needed R and R,, just came and went in a flash and it is done, the Christmas tree is down and we get back to our normal routines and kick off another year with resolutions and great intentions,

This year was a strange one, well at least it was for me.

This time last year the big “C” finally got the better of my dad, he had a bad turn literally as dinner was served on Christmas day and then we entered that dark and horrible, inevitable tunnel that saw him sadly pass away on the 25th January.

So heading into this Christmas break I wondered how it was going to be for me and the family and I could see this “dilemma” echoed by so many others on social media and in the general conversations that people have – for many it just isn’t a good time for many different reasons.

I wasn’t really sure how I would feel, how it was going to be for my mum and the rest of the family.

Thankfully it felt great, the decorations went up and I could not help but be carried along by the genuine season of “Goodwill”.

I felt a genuine sense of joy, we had worked hard all year and we were going to enjoy a much deserved break and spend precious time with friends, family and the two dogs, Honey and Bert!

One silly moment captured what this time of year is all about for me.

We were in a huge queue in the fantastic newly revamped Dunnes Stores in Bishopstown Court in Cork, which nearly stretched the full length of one of the aisles.

I’m sure that this was the very last place anyone wanted to be spending an hour of their busy lead up to Christmas and instead of being stressed and irritated in the queue people were in great form and there was plenty of friendly banter between everyone.

There wasn’t one cranky person, the Dunnes Stores team even went as far as handing out sweets and bottles of water to those in the queues, and for those with babies and the odd older person who wasn’t great on their feet, they were moved up without any grumble from anyone.

There was one guy in a line directly opposite me and we were having some fun as my queue seemed to move a lot faster than his – I won the race!

Everywhere you go at this time of the year people wish you Happy Christmas and a Happy New Year and while part of it is formula, a big part of it is genuine – we are allowed to be nice to each other at this time!

How bad is that?

A close friend of mine (who absolutely hates Christmas and refuses to get together at this time) sent me a text asking how I was. I think she was expecting me to be down because of dad but instead she got the opposite and she got really cross with me when I explained that I was in great form and feeling genuine joy.

You must think of others who are having a hard time at Christmas” she responded.

Of course I do think of others but I am joyful and I won’t alter that because of your beliefs!

I pushed her to join us over Christmas – even if you don’t “believe” it’s still a great time to relax and enjoy the company of friends without the stress of work and life.

Nothing doing unfortunately, and she insisted that she would avoid all contact until the “season of goodwill” was over…bizarre!

The present I bought for her will be delivered some time in the next few weeks.

My biggest concern was for my mum this Christmas but she refused to be down, she put up her tree and decorations and despite the incredible sadness and loneliness she had fun and spent lots of time with us, as well as the inevitable tears for dad, which we all shed at various times – we miss him deeply.

So reflecting on it all, the traditions, the commercialism, the symbolism and the rare time off I feel it is the very best time of the year, a time to be embraced and enjoyed with friends and family.

And if nothing else, it is a “season of goodwill” and how bad, that for this special window of time each year we are all a little nicer and a little kinder to each other.

How many weeks is it to Christmas?

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