Archive for the ‘Sport’ Category

Jurgen Klopp and his Ten Management Tips

December 7, 2015

Jurgen Klopp

I’m writing this a little bit depressed after a very disappointing defeat away to struggling Newcastle but in general we have seen a transformation of Liverpool FC in the last two months since Jurgen Klopp, the manager has arrived.

The players have been transformed, the same squad that we thought were lousy purchases are now looking like great players and we have had a few very impressive results of late (except for Newcastle!) and it does seem to be wholly down to the charismatic manager (the self declared Normal One) who has previously enjoyed huge success in Germany with Borussia Dortmund.

Pretty much every Liverpool fan believes that success is around the next corner, which was certainly not the case before he joined the club.

How can a manager make such a difference and can the lessons we learn from him be applied to our own businesses?

What does Jurgen do that is so special?

1.”Belief” 

The first thing he did when he joined the club was he made a declaration to the fans “We need to change from doubters to believers

He gave every fan and player something to think about – we must believe if we want to achieve, which is a simple and yet powerful statement.

He went on to say that he believed in the team at the club, which was why he joined in the first place – if you were a player listening to these words you would feel good about yourself.

Do you believe in your team?

Jurgen Klopp

2.Honesty, openness and no jargon

When he is asked a question by the media he gives a straight, honest and open answer. He talks in a simple way that we all understand and can relate to.

He tells us that football is a simple game ..he is right!

Can you be open and honest with your team?

Jurgen Klopp hugging

3.Don’t be afraid to hug!

We watch him going onto the pitch after the matches and playfully hugging the players. This seems to be a lot more than professionals doing their jobs!

Are people happier when they are treated like this?

4.Have fun

Jurgen loves to laugh, he has a huge smile and he seems to do it all of the time and it is infectious. At the press conferences the media laugh with him.

He tells the players to enjoy themselves on the pitch.

Can work be fun?

Jordan Henderson with Klopp

5.Don’t take it too seriously

Unlike Bill Shankly the legendary Liverpool manager who said football was “more important than life or death” Jurgen says it is just a game and that it should be enjoyed and not taken too seriously – you can see he lives this.

Are your team so stressed that they can’t function properly?

6.Work Hard

This is a key success factor with him. All of his teams are known for their ferocious work ethic – without hard work you won’t win.

This is totally non-negotiable with him.

Are your team prepared and motivated enough to give  you 110%?

7.Have a plan

Already he has managed a few historic victories against some of the big teams and he puts this down to hard work combined with good planning. In one of these matches he fielded a surprising team who played exceptionally and won – he explained after that he had time to plan and prepare with this group of players so there was no point using some of the bigger stars.

Are you planning carefully?

8,Things go wrong – that’s football!

He commented that with the Liverpool team he noticed that they would implode if they conceded in a match and as a result could not recover from this situation.

He has taught the team to accept that things will go wrong and that this is part and parcel of competing – just learn not to give up when it happens!

Do your team have resolve?

9.Mr Motivator

He does seem to have the gift of bringing the best out of each and every single player. He seems to know when a hug works, when a few positive mentions in press conferences will work and when helpful advice from the sideline works (he does scream and roar during the matches).

We clearly don’t see everything that goes on but the players have gone on record as to the huge difference he has made to them.

Do you feel motivating your team is important?

klopp celebrating

10.Passion

Take just one look at him when he celebrates a goal or even when he lives every kick and moment of the matches…he is incredibly passionate!

If you aren’t passionate can you expect your team to be?

What factors would you add to this list?

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion PR, Marketing and Graphic Design, with offices in Dublin and Cork

Facing the Music 

October 7, 2015

Brendan Rodgers, Liverpool

Week after week I watched the pre and post-match interviews.

As a lifelong Liverpool FC fan I’ve been concerned about the team’s loss of form and I am glued to each of those interviews to see what our manager, Brendan Rodgers had to say.

I was starting to feel a lot of sympathy for him as the line of questioning was unrelenting. At each interview it was the same thing “Are you under pressure?” “Are the players under pressure?” “Is the team suffering from a loss of confidence?” “Do you have the backing of the owners?

Then of course this becomes the topic with all of the pundits, the former players and it makes for headlines in the newspapers “Rodgers under pressure“..the screw is slowly but surely being turned.

Normally the interviews used to focus on the match, the tactics, the performance of players, the injury situation but most of the recent ones were all about his job security. It became the latest episode of an ongoing soap opera.

Interview after interview he batted these questions away, not getting frustrated and insisting that he and the team were not affected but instead they were concentrating on their jobs. He recently did speak about the ‘hysteria‘ around his job by the media and he did mention a ‘group’ who wanted him out.

He did have a point – it was a little over the top.

Match after match the manager of each team must ‘face the music’ – good result or bad result he has to face the media. This must be a tough and very punishing routine when things are not going your way.

I was impressed that the Liverpool team started so impressively in the local derby match against Everton. This was a huge game for him and the team – while the match wasn’t perfect the team were very focused despite the pressure.

Once again after the match he faced the music – it was the same story.

After the same repetitive line of questioning he stated that he didn’t need to look for reassurance from the owners and he hoped he would be the manager for years to come.

This was even more cruelty – the team had just earned a good result away to Everton and this was still the big topic of the questioning!

An hour later when he got off the team bus he was summoned to the office and relieved of his duties. The pressure valve was finally released.

The club confirmed the news by simply posting a press statement on the company website.

This was clearly prepared in advance, carefully crafted and just posted on the website and more than likely issued to the media by their press office.

Ironically no one in management had to sit in front of the media and ‘face the music‘. Their statement would suffice.

Football is a very cruel sport where the players and the managers are in the full glare of the media spotlight constantly and no matter how much they are trained to handle this pressure it must eventually wear them down.

Brendan Rodgers – thank you for the incredible highs of the 2013/2014 season where you had the team playing some of the most incredible and exciting football I have ever seen.

You very nearly did it!

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion PR, Marketing and Graphic Design, with offices in Dublin and Cork

 

Win at all costs?

April 29, 2014

Mourinho celebrating against Liverpool

Besides being totally and utterly devastated after watching Liverpool lose the advantage in the title charge because of a defeat to a very cynical, Jose Mourinho, Chelsea side I was surprised at the mixed reaction to the match.

In my view, (which I realise is totally biased because I am a Liverpool fan) I felt Chelsea came and effectively cheated their way to an awful victory.

Despite having 190 million pounds worth of talent on the pitch Jose Mourinho instructed his team to spoil the football match by constantly disrupting it by time wasting and then ‘parking two buses‘ in front of the goal – it was a successful ploy as Chelsea won the match and Liverpool despite being the better team couldn’t create a clear chance or a piece of magic that would lead to a goal.

How could those talented players want to perform like this? Is this why he lost the support of some of the players at Real Madrid?

I’m gutted that horrible, spoiling tactics won the match for Chelsea and that the win came from an awful, misfortunate slip by the most passionate player on the pitch, Stephen Gerrard, which led to a simple gift of a goal.

In there was any fairness wouldn’t you think that if any luck was going on the day it would be to the team that tried to play football and not to the nasty, negative and horrible Mourinho and his team? I was sick watching him run to the supporters punching his chest after they scored – “you deserve nothing” I felt.

After the game this view was shared by nearly every Liverpool fan I spoke to and so many others – how can such cynicism win through, it’s bad for football, why didn’t the ref punish time wasting at the beginning of the match instead of at 92 minutes when the damage was done?

While this was the most popular view I was surprised by how many others who felt it was a tactical masterpiece, his aim was to spoil and he succeeded, who cares how you do it, isn’t winning the objective?

After all, how you win is irrelevant..

In your business is it win at all costs?

Greg Canty

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

Oscar Pistorius and the Paddy Power PR Win

March 4, 2014

Oscar Pistorius Paddy Power advert

One thing is for sure – it has us all talking!

Was this the obvious objective when Paddy Power cobbled together their latest advertising stunt?

Just in case you have missed it, Paddy Power are taking bets on the Oscar Pistorius murder trail against his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. They caused outrage initially by offering odds on the outcome of the premeditated murder trial – 7/4 for a guilty verdict and 2/5 for not guilty.

Not only does this stunt interfere and shape public opinion about the verdict of the court case, there was also an immediate public reaction with many Twitter users branding the gimmick ‘vile’ and ‘disgusting’.

Paddy Power then took things even further, by offering losing bets a refund if the 27-year-old is found not guilty. This “no lose” offer for customers was featured heavily on newspaper adverts adding even further fuel to this controversial fire, demonstrating that Paddy Power didn’t really care about the negative public and media reaction.

Not only has Twitter been on fire about the issue but newspapers and radio have given the “bet” extra momentum through extensive negative coverage.

On national radio, RTE Liveline, Paddy Power defended the move to take bets on the trial: “This is the biggest profile trial that has ever been. It’s the only topic of conversation around the world. It’s to provide customers with the opportunity to bet on something that everyone is talking to.”

It sounds as if they are doing us all a huge favour by allowing us to take bets on such an event – are we that desperate?

The Advertising Standards Authority in the UK have already reacted though their official Twitter account: “We’re fast tracking a formal investigation into the Paddy PowerOscar Pistorius‘ ad. No need to lodge a complaint, we’re looking into it” .

There is also a campaign running on change.co with 117,000 people already (at the time of writing) who have signed a petition to Patrick Kennedy, MD of Paddy Power to “please remove your offensive betting on the outcome of the Oscar Pistorius trial and donate any profits so far to a women’s charity fighting violence against women

Despite all of this the Paddy Power adverts continue to run and the company defends them under the heading of “customer service”.

Oscar Pistorius

The horrible truth is this is a huge awareness victory for Paddy Power, way beyond the cost of the adverts or any payouts for winning bets. Sadly the bigger a storm we make of the issue the more attention we draw to Paddy Power and the more traffic will be pushed towards their website.

If this negative publicity was deemed to be damaging to the Paddy Power reputation you can be assured it would be retracted immediately but I am guessing that the view from within the company is that the publicity is good because the belief is that the target betting audience isn’t that bothered.

The women’s groups and the general public can be outraged all they want but as long as the campaign helps the company to attract the betting fraternity this is one of those times when any publicity is good publicity.

However, while the campaign appears as a clever win for Paddy Power it does leave a bitter after-taste, which in the long run could undermine the brand alongside the flawed Olympic star who at one point could do no wrong.

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion are a Marketing, PR and Graphic Design agency in Ireland with offices in Cork and Dublin

Nature, Nurture and all things Equal

February 9, 2014

Men's 100m final Usain Bolt

All of the finalists in every men’s Olympic 100 meters from 1984 onwards have been black. Not only that but all have had their family origins  in sub-Saharan West Africa, whose inhabitants are genetically programmed to run fast.

Speed over short distances comes from fast-twitch muscle fibres, which contract twice as fast as slow-twitch. Calf muscles of elite sprinters have 75% fast-twitch. Half milers have 50-50 fast, while long distance runners mostly slow. Although slower they can endure longer, which might explain why Jamaica produces elite sprinters such as Usain Bolt but no long distance stars.

The fastest Jamaican 10,000 meter runner would not have qualified for the London Olympics.

The Sports Gene David EpsteinI was fascinated by the subject matter in the review of a book by David Epstein called “The Sports Gene” in a magazine called Oldies, on our way to Munich. (Oldies !! I know what you are thinking – what was Greg doing reading that? It just looked like the most interesting magazine on the shelf at the airport newsagent. Some fabulous articles in it.)

One of the central themes in the book was: Are we purely a product of our genes or can we shape our destiny by dedication and hard work?

This is a difficult topic as it forces you into areas such as race, genetics, gender in our politically correct world.

There are definite conclusions in the well researched book such as  “sporting prowess is in fact, usually down to your genes plus plenty of practice“.

Michael Shermer in his review of the book in the Wall Street Journal commented  “it was bound to put the cat among the pigeons with the blank-slate crowd who think we can all be equal as long as we equalise environmental inputs such as practice“.

There are things that some people due to race, gender or genetics are just better at and instead of fighting this we should understand it, appreciate it and even embrace it.

Whether it is sport, work or life instead of arguing and getting all riled up about the imbalanced percentages we should try better to understand why this is the case and explore if it is nature causing the differences and nothing else.

The most important thing for me is that if I want to run the 100 metres, become a ballet dance, operate a crane, play the drums, become a nurse, become a politician, or start a new business I can.

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion are a Marketing, PR and Graphic Design agency in Ireland with offices in Cork and Dublin