Archive for the ‘Positivity’ Category

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

 

 

 

 

Simple Courtesies and your Reputation

August 8, 2017

thank youMany thanks Greg,

Thank you for your time today and for all of this information. I’ll discuss with a colleague early next week and will be back in touch afterwards.

Warm regards,

 

You are so nice and you must work for a great place I thought …

This was an email I received today from a prospect I had chatted to on the phone – after our chat I put a brief proposal together and emailed it to her.

You might think there was nothing special about her email that warranted me feeling so positive about it?

I did spend time assessing what their business needed and giving her advice and I did spend time working on a proposal – surely, this warranted some acknowledgement?

Of course it did!

Unfortunately, I find this basic level of courtesy has disappeared from business. In extreme cases we have met a client, spent a lot of time with them to get a firm grasp of their requirements, spent the best part of a day writing a plan, spent a few hours presenting to them and then….nothing.

It drives me bonkers – reply to my email, return a phone call. If you don’t want to want to work with us for whatever reason, that’s fine, but at least respect the amount of time, enthusiasm and work that we have done by replying and being courteous.

This speaks volumes about you and your organisation and it can be turned really easily with a tiny “thank you, we appreciated the effort but…

Your reputation can often be about the small things as much as the big things!

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

 

 

 

 

Some eggs are gold

July 11, 2017

Golden opportunity

Do you serve any eggs?” my buddy asked

Were they even serving food I wondered at this stage? It was 3:30 in the afternoon but he was starving and needed something before he hopped in the car to drive to Dublin.

I had recommended the place so I hoped he would be looked after.

The waitress in the bar/restaurant assured us that the kitchen was still open and handed us the menu.

We can’t do eggs, you can only order from the menu” she explained.

Oh no I thought – here was a golden opportunity for the outlet to shine, go on grab it.

My buddy glanced through the menu and I reckon for dietary reasons he didn’t want to order anything that was on offer.

I suggested that he ordered a steak sandwich – he didn’t want the fries that came with it so he asked could he get the steak sandwich with an egg?

No sorry, you can only order what’s on the menu” she emphasised again.

Hmmm, the place was really quiet. There was a chef on duty – how difficult could it be to put on an egg to go with the steak?

It was clear that there was no flexibility so the steak sandwich was ordered. It duly arrived with the chips that he didn’t want, which he pushed towards me to eat – they were really tasty and he scoffed down his steak sambo.

What was so difficult about doing an egg?

– were there no eggs in the kitchen?
– is the chef only able to make what’s on the menu?
– is there no button on the till to handle a deviation from the menu?
– was any deviation just too much for the staff to handle?
– could the team that were working that day just not care
– was there a fear that if you actually gave the customer what they wanted, they could be asking for anything next??!!

Whatever the motivation for the lack of flexibility the result was really poor for the outlet.

My buddy won’t be back there and while I like the place I won’t be back there in a hurry either as my recommendation left me a little red faced.

A simple egg and the outlet would have had two happy customers.

That was a very costly egg…

Are you rigid with your product and service offering to the extent that it is costing you customers?

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

Happy New 172!

July 2, 2017

Mad Men new car, Cadillac

So it’s the beginning of Part Two of 2017.

Maybe, like the car registration system we can now have two starts to the year?

If you think about it the idea of breaking the year into two parts was a really clever one. In previous years there was a huge buzz about the start of the year.

We all wanted a new car but once you had gone past April you probably started to think that it may be worth waiting until the next year as ’17’ was starting to age a little – you definitely did not want to buy something in the latter part of the year.

How about we make it ‘171’ and ‘172’ and get two bites of the cherry?

Great thinking by the motoring sector!

Maybe you can start the second part of your year with all of the buzz, vigour and great intentions that you had on your first day back at work this year?

So, what are you going to do with your ‘172’ ?

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

Doubters to Believers

June 28, 2017

Jurgen Klopp - Doubters and Believers

When Jurgen Klopp took over as manager of Liverpool FC in October 2015 he made a huge statement to the worldwide fan base through the media with a simple message:

We have to change from doubters to believers

Jurgen is clever, he quickly picked up on the mood at this famous, previously successful club and he knew that very often it is strangled by the quick loss of faith by the fans if something doesn’t go the team’s way on the pitch during a game.

The fans groan “same old story“, “we’ll throw this one away“, “that fella’s useless” ..when that negativity creeps in it spreads like a virus and before you know it everyone is a doubter.

Fans stop cheering, fans leave early, players get nervous, they choke, fans stop attending, the team starts losing, corporates stop entertaining clients at games, sponsors move on, the best players at the club want to leave and others don’t want to come to the club, success gets further and further away.

Jurgen understood this and from the beginning he sent messages to fans in his press conferences, in the match programmes and during the games he encourages them (by gesturing frantically!) to support and scolds them for not doing so – at a match that wasn’t going according to plan at the very beginning of his reign he scolded the fans who left early in his post message press conference – you can play your vital part in the success of this team.

We are all like Jurgen with the teams that work with us, with our customers (or clients if we are being posh) with those who we would like to be customers and all other stakeholders.

We have to change them from Doubters to Believers.

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 Brexit Scary Monster

January 21, 2017

Old Man drinking a pint by Robert Devereux

Jack walked through the door of his local in the small village in North Cork and made his way slowly with his head down to “his” bar stool.

Alright Jack” asks Mary the bartender who without even asking takes a glass and starts pulling a pint of Guinness. In her 20 years serving Jack he only once asked for a different drink. That was a hot whiskey about 10 years ago when he had a heavy cold!

Jack was unusually quiet and the normal happy go lucky, joke a minute guy was not the person sitting at the bar today.

Jack, are you alright?” Mary probes as she places the creamy pint in front of him.

I’m ok Mary, I’m ok” and the tone of his response didn’t convince her for a second.

He studied his pint and stroked the side of the glass as he always does, before that first taste and he took his first big gulp of the night.

Jack, what’s wrong?” Mary asked

After a big sigh and another gulp of his pint, Jack opened up “I wasn’t sure if I was going to come for a pint tonight. Things are bad

But Jack you always come for a pint, what’s up?

They say it’s going to be a hard Brexit, everyone is saying it. The newspapers, the radio and even Fr. John after mass this morning was talking about it. A hard Brexit is really bad news for all of us.

..he pauses for air and finishes his pint.

I was listening to those two this morning on the radio, Shane Coleman and Colette Fiztwhatever her name is, and they were interviewing some businessman. He was telling them that the whole Brexit thing could actually be good for us, but they told him. It’s bad for us, really bad

Without asking, Mary grabs a glass and starts to fill another pint but Jack gestures to her that he doesn’t want it.

And to cap it all Theresa May is going to trigger Article 50 in March. There will be no more pints for me, I tell ya

Mary grabbed the glass again and started filling another pint.

Jack, do you even know what Article 50 is? This pint is on the house and will you do me a big favour?

What Mary?

Will you ever cheer up and stop listening to those gobshites talking negative day in day out and enjoy your pint

Thanks Mary, I’ll do that”.

He is smiling now, enjoying his pint “Did you hear the one about Donald Trump and his Mexican golf caddy in Doonbeg?” 

No Jack. What about Donald Trump and the Mexican golf caddy? 

The Mexican caddy told him that if he kept losing balls like that he should think about building the wall here instead

She smiled and hoped the next one would be better but at least Jack was back!

While Mary and Jack are fictitious characters I can imagine conversations like this all over the country. I read and hear the negativity about Brexit everywhere and the truth is we really have no idea how it will play out for Ireland.

What I do know for sure is that if we are not careful we will talk ourselves into another recession.

Mary..another pint please and have one yourself

The wonderful image of the man drinking a pint is by artist Robert Devereux (http://robertdevereux.blogspot.ie/2015/06/old-irish-man-drinking-guinness-oil.html)

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

 

 

 

 

 

Wishing your time away..

January 16, 2017

Monday Morning Blues

It’s Monday morning, we struggle out of bed and it’s off to work – the clouds are hovering over our heads. We have the Monday morning blues..

I wish it was the weekend.

I can’t wait for the weekend, I can’t wait until the bank holiday weekend, I can’t wait until the James Vincent McMorrow gig, I can’t wait until my summer holidays, I can’t wait until Christmas!

While it’s great to have things to look forward to it’s even more important to embrace each day and everything that we do.

Enjoy your Monday, enjoy your work, enjoy that time with your workmates and your clients and everyone that you interact with and then get yourself home, to the gym, to wherever you go and enjoy that.

Make a choice and look for that enjoyment in everything that you do.

Stop wishing your time away.. it’s way too precious for that. 

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

 

The Art of Possibility – I had a great 2017 because..

January 1, 2017

Klopp - We believe

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 2016 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 important to us that everyone in the team achieves their 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 application of 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 I want you to do some visualisation – First take a few deep breaths and relax and close your eyes.

Now imagine the last working day of the year just before you head out the door to do some last minute shopping and enjoy a well-earned rest. You are feeling very 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 write at the top of the blank page the date:

Friday, 22nd December, 2017

Now write down this personal statement:

I had a great year because ….

Now off you go and list the things that will make 2017 a great year 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 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 – it’s there waiting for you.

Happy 2017!!

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

(the pic at the top of the post refers to the quote that Jurgen Klopp made when he was recruited as Liverpool Football Club manager. His message to the fans was that he wanted to change them from ‘doubters’ to ‘believers’. He gets visualisation! )

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

Relentless – Secrets of Success

August 1, 2016

Relentless - Mary White

Relentless is a powerful word and you can picture something that never stops, wave after wave, determination, a powerful, unstoppable force.

For some reason the book “Relentless” by Mary White about the Cork ladies GAA team caught my attention.

This wasn’t a book about the success of a glamorous Premiership team, a World Cup team, a famous boxer or even a high profile GAA team – it was the incredible, largely under the radar, success story of the Cork ladies GAA team.

I think what grabbed me about this story is that there had been a huge transformation from decades of virtually zero success to an 11 year period whereby 29 titles were won including 10 All Ireland finals, nine Division One titles and 10 Munster titles.

Relentless - Mary White

Without a doubt Cork always had huge potential with a large selection of talented players to choose from, many who had enjoyed success at Club level but for some reason this never transformed itself into a successful county team.

Surely there was some magic behind this transformation, one thing that we could point to, one secret that we might all learn from that could help us in all aspects of our lives?

I eagerly turned the pages to search for the secret..

Instead of one “thing” I discovered lots of factors that contributed to this incredible achievement:

Pride in the Jersey

There was a really interesting incident after another miserable defeat against Kerry, which could have been a turning point. After the match the players one by one were throwing their jerseys on the dressing room floor and a leader appeared.

Mary O’Connor, the only player to have won a medal with Cork ‘lost it’ at this point “We don’t throw the Cork jersey on the ground any more. We earn those jerseys and we need to respect that. Fold them and put them back into the bag for the person kind enough to wash them for us. Our attitude needs to change, and it changes now!

Step up a leader – well done Mary O’Connor.

The right people on the bus

Some of the key individuals who were involved from the previous era had to be removed as they were identified as part of the problem – there had to be changes and even though this was a painful process it had to happen in order for real change to occur.

The need for this change to occur was identified as being necessary.

Belief

An unwavering belief was instilled in this group – while this seems like an obvious one it was a huge achievement to make a team of disbelievers actually believe that success was possible.

How do you change this mindset?

Clear vision and goals

This group of players were given a clear vision and goals by the manager. The manager produced a paper, which was distributed to the group, which outlined clearly what  his vision was for the group.

This is what I want – who is with me?

Hard work/Training

This Cork team trained more than any of the other teams. This training improved the team. Lets repeat this – they trained more than any of the other teams. Train more, win more – that’s a big lesson!

While this is a very simple factor this group of players were inspired and motivated to want to give so much of themselves. Cork is a big county and many of the players were travelling huge distances on a regular basis just to get to training.

How do you get a group to want to do this?

Commitment

Over this 11 year period this large group of players were inspired to give total commitment to the team – this wasn’t a glamorous ‘premiership’ project whereby stardom would be guaranteed. It was about something totally different.

How do you change a group to suddenly make them want to give absolutely everything?

Comradery not Rivalry

In the early days these individual talents used come together and stick to their own club cliques, sitting together and not mixing. It’s simple to see how this behaviour would not lead to a successful formula.

This changed and in time this bunch of individuals and cliques were playing for each other – how did this change occur?

Dealing with disagreements

Disagreements used happen as you could imagine but instead of these leading to divisions and a disjointed group a fair mechanism of dealing with these occurred and the group got tighter with problems being solved without festering resentments.

This was a big achievement that cannot be underestimated.

Cork ladies GAA team

Coping with disappointment

Success was not immediate and there were some early disappointments that could easily have meant that heads would drop and the rebuilding project would derail.

This was not allowed to happen and instead valuable learning’s were banked from every disappointment to help towards future success.

Later on there were further setbacks, which could easily have demoralised the team and end the run of success. This team always rebounded from every single setback.

Evolution and Experience 

The management team had a lot of experience and a very clever thing they seemed to achieve was a powerful blend of experience and youth at all times in the team. Over 11 years this balance always seemed to be there with new faces, youth and energy carefully and constantly being introduced to an experienced group producing a winning formula.

Judging the need for fresh faces and getting the timing of their introduction right is a huge skill.

Playing for each other – friends?

At the Dublin Momentum Summit I heard Munster and Irish rugby legend Paul O’Connell speaking about the importance of ‘playing for each other‘.

This element was abundantly clear in Relentless. This team made up of club rivals who initially wouldn’t sit together would end up doing anything for each other.

A spirit and togetherness was instilled in this group that made them virtually unbeatable – this was demonstrated time after time throughout the 11 years, most often during times of sadness and loss.

This team had trips away in the sun, half of them ended up with food poisoning on one of these trips – did someone decide that going away together was good for team bonding?

Never say die attitude

From the outside you imagine a team that was invincible, one that blew all opposition out of the way. While there was plenty of evidence of this during the 11 years there were also many times when this team were beaten, dead on their feet and staring at certain defeat.

This team won these matches – it always seemed to find something at these moments, there was a belief deep inside enough of the team or the management to turn things around and change certain defeat to success.

At times it was the experienced players, at times it was inspired substitutions – at all times there was enough belief in the team to lift everyone. 10 points down with 15 minutes to go and being played off the park in the 2014 All Ireland final – this Cork team won these matches.

Who instilled this in this Cork team?

All players count and no stars

While this team did have its top performers and it’s “stars” there were times when matches were won by the young guns, by the unsung heroes by the solid defenders who knew how to close games out.

This was a team, not a group of talented individuals.

Injuries and comebacks

I was really shocked by the amount of injuries endured by members of the team. For some stupid reason I was thinking with ladies there wouldn’t be as many (stupid me!) – the book is littered with stories of initial despondency, motivation, resilience, hard work, incredible recoveries and determination by those who were injured and there were the teammates who wanted to win for them.

This team had steel in abundance.

Complacency

When you win a big trophy for the first time do you take the foot off the gas? When you win a second time – do you notch down a gear and maybe not work quite as hard the next year, because after all, you are the best?

Managing complacency and guarding against it must have been one of the greatest achievements of this team – who was responsible for making sure this did not happen?

Brave decisions

Someone has to make the tough decisions and have the intelligence and gut to know when the time is right to make them. Choosing who is in the squad and who isn’t, who is in the team and who isn’t, dropping big players and introducing unproven, young players. At key moments in matches knowing when changes were needed and making the right changes.

Someone made a lot of very brave decisions over and over.

Simplicity

These 11 years had no extraordinary factors – there were no fancy methods, definitely no fancy facilities, no fancy perks. Deliberately keeping it simple and with no frills seemed to work perfectly.

Psychology

Knowing the right thing to do at the right time and knowing the right thing to say at the right time to ensure this team were always in the right frame of mind to win over and over was pure genius.

At times the team thought that the methods of their coach, former teacher, father of six, grandfather Eamonn Ryan were a little strange but ultimately they trusted him implicitly and would run through brick walls for him.

The book has many examples of inspirational things he did and said to individuals and the team such as the ‘flying V formation of geese flying‘ analogy:

By flying in V formation, the whole flock adds at least 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own.

People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going more quickly and easily because they are travelling on the trust of one another.  

Humility

Finally one of the most impressive success factors evidenced in the book is the humility of the team and the management. No one was allowed get ahead of themselves and everyone treated everyone with the utmost respect.

Their rivals held the Cork team in the highest regard because of how they behaved themselves and how they ‘wore’ their considerable success.

This humility is best captured by coach Eamonn Ryan when he was asked about this incredible success story, the team and his role in it:

I’m grateful for their cooperation, for no recriminations when I made a mess of things, and I’m grateful for their patience when things didn’t go well.

They did their best, I did my best, and we all had a great time

I spent the whole book looking for that one thing, that one factor that could explain all of this success and it seems to be …

Eamonn Ryan - Cork Ladies GAA

The Coach – Eamonn Ryan

He created a family situation where everybody relied on everybody else, and we all new we needed each other

He took over this team in 2004 while he was coming to the end of treatment for prostate cancer.

This former teacher had a fantastic, simple, positive way of training and motivating the team: “Whatever we did, he was praising us loads. Praise meant so much to us, particularly the older girls. When it came to Cork we had no confidence in ourselves or in the set-up and brick by brick, Eamonn built it back up. He kept telling us we were great footballers

It seemed to work!

Mary White - Relentless

I highly recommend this fantastic book by Mary White which is available online and in all good bookstores!

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next guy paying for what the last guy did!

July 12, 2016

Paul Kelly - Console

That’s the last time I’m holding the door open for someone,

It’s the last time I’m going to let someone out in traffic,

The last time I’m going to open my mouth and offer an opinion,

The last time I’m going to spend loads of time on a proposal,

The last time I’m going to pay for lunch,

The last time I’m donating to charity,

The last time I’m going to give an honest answer,

The last time I’m doing pro bono work,

The time I’m going to trust a suppliers word,

The last time I’m going to look after a staff member,

The last time I trust someone and give them credit,

The last time I donate to a charity…..

While we must always learn from our experiences we must be really careful that the next guy doesn’t get short changed because of what happened with  the  last one.

Never stop being prepared to do good things.

Greg Canty 

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