Archive for the ‘Teamwork’ Category

Positive Work Environments with Frank Scott-Lennon

April 14, 2018

Frank Scott-Lennon

Frank Scott-Lennon of HR for SMEs is a good friend, a mentor and a terrific IR specialist and someone that I was really interested in sitting down with as part of our Fuzion Win Happy podcast series.

It’s quite amazing when you sit down with someone and have a big, deep conversation, how much you discover about them and how their rich life experiences contribute so much to the person that they are today.

Frank is a brilliant IR specialist (which is no surprise when you look at his CV) and on occasions I have gone to him for advice and he always listens intently and has a wonderful skill of identifying the real issues for you and outlining a clear strategy for dealing with them.

One of the many reasons that I love Frank is his passion for people and creating the best work environments and this can be seen by him founding in another business, Well Being For Work,which focuses on just that.

In this episode with this special man, I heard about early heartbreak with the death of his father, which literally changed his early life and there are many other twists and turns, which I will leave for you to discover for yourself.

If you ever need some brilliant HR advice or some great mentorship you will be in the safest hands with Frank.

A huge thanks to Frank for his friendship, his great advice and for agreeing to sit down with me.

Click here to listen!

I hope you enjoy it..

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

Tommy Doyle – How to be a winner?

March 19, 2018

Tommy Doyle celebrates with Mick O'Dwyer

In 1993 at the age of 28, I was appointed General Manager of a Guinness owned drinks company called Deasy & Co. We were a wholesaler, supplying beer and soft drinks to pubs, off licences and shops in Cork and Kerry as well as manufacturing our own soft drinks.

We had a distribution depot in Cork city and a distribution depot and manufacturing operation in Clonakilty in West Cork.

At this point in time I had been the Financial Controller for nearly four years and I’ll admit that I was starting to get very bored as I was just repeating myself each year and I needed a new challenge. When asked would I take on the role of General Manager it was huge for me and it opened up a new exciting career path for me.

One of my first big tasks as GM was to appoint a Sales Manager and I recruited from our own team of sales reps.

I appointed a guy called Tommy Doyle who was working with us for about a year at this stage. Tommy had moved from Tralee to Cork to work with us and he had a big reputation as a Kerry GAA football star.

Being quite honest, I never had much interest in GAA, so I didn’t quite appreciate that Tommy had won seven senior All-Ireland medals with Kerry and the depth of character that it takes for such a monumental achievement.

I quickly saw this when Tommy took on the sales manager role and watched his hard work, total commitment, drive, determination, incredible focus, teamwork and motivation transform the performance of our team of nine sales reps, which led to huge company performance.

Since those days in Deasy’s I worked with Tommy again in other roles and witnessed further success. He has since moved onto general management positions, and has with no surprise been successful in various industries.

He is now the General Manager of the Kinsale Bay Food Company, a successful business in the very competitive food sector in Ireland. The company, based in Cork produce a wide range of award winning, quality gluten free  products, which can be found in the multiples as well as artisan stores throughout Ireland.

Time and time again I have seen this very special, highly driven man achieve huge success in every role that he has taken on.

During the ‘Beast from the East‘ recently when we were all housebound I managed to grab Tommy (he lives close by!) for over an hour, with the help of a bottle of red wine (it had to be Michel Lynch for nostalgic reasons) to find out what you need to do to win your first All-Ireland medal, what it takes to win seven and how these winning attributes transfer so effectively to the business world.

Fuzion Win Happy Podcast

I captured this, some fascinating insights into the legendary Kerry manager, Mick O’Dwyer and much more in a special episode of the Fuzion Win Happy podcast.

If you have the time click the link above and enjoy.

A big thank you to my great buddy Tommy Doyle for his friendship and for some valuable lessons he has taught me since 1993!

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

 

 

Tommy has turned out to be one of my best buddies

Is age diversity the biggest opportunity?

October 28, 2017

Fintech 20

I was thrilled to be the moderator on one of the discussion panels at the fantastic FinTech conference at UCD organised by Simon Cocking and his team from Irish Tech News.

There are clearly many opportunities in this dynamic sector and the jam packed agenda featured startups in the space, established businesses, financiers and angel investors as well as sponsors with a vested interest in the sector.

One of the observations that was made on the day was (as usual) about the gender mix in the room, which was I’m guessing, about 75/25% male versus female.

This probably reflects the tech sector generally as it just seems to attract more males than females – the event was a free to attend event.

Mary McKenna, an Angel Investor and a great person into bargain, shared her philosophy about how she chooses projects to invest in. While the project or idea always has to be great and have an element of ‘doing good’ she looks for great, committed people in that business to drive it forward.

Her other critical criteria is that the founders must be female!

A few (including me!) immediately questioned her logic for taking this position – were females better, could they be trusted more, did they bring special qualities to the table? Why Mary??

Mary’s answer was really simple – it’s my money and I can do what I want with it. I’m choosing to invest in females and that’s that! There was a collective shrug of the shoulders in the auditorium. Fair enough….

Mary might miss out on great projects and bigger opportunities, that also do good because of her narrow criteria, but it is her money and her prerogative.

If the gender equality police had their way this would be a crime – if it was a stated preference for male founders I’m guessing there would be total outrage!! (equality must play both ways people).

Age Diversity

On one of the panels, which was discussing the challenge of attracting talent, inevitably the topic of male versus female was raised. One of the panellists changed the diversity focus to age instead of gender, which they felt was a more relevant one worthy of more discussion.

To emphasise the point he went on to explain a recent recruitment experience that he had in their company. He was explaining the value of recruiting older people instead of the obsession about millennials – recently they employed an older person and I sat up to hear a little more…

Someone in their sixties maybe? – he was trying to make a point, after all.

It was someone in their forties!!

As a 52 year old I was shifting uneasily in my seat as I reckoned if I was not self employed, many would not even consider me for a job.

I’ve been seeing quite a few revealing articles on this topic recently – one in particular makes some great arguments for the importance of age diversity in business,

An article on the Chron, tech website says: “Companies that employ workers in wide ranges of age have the advantage of creating a dynamic, multi-generational workforce — with a diverse range of skill sets — that is beneficial to the company”

Specifically they list the following advantages:

Diverse Skill Sets – Each age group brings their own unique skills and talents. Young employees are likely to have a strong grasp on the use of high-tech business mediums and more mature professionals often have exceptional interpersonal skills and perform well in environments where traditional in-person communication is used.

Technology – While the younger generation have grown up with technology all generations are using it.

Business Skills – Just as younger generations are credited with having good working knowledge of business technology, more mature members of a workforce have the advantage of traditional business skills.

Mentoring – Employees of all ages have the opportunity to teach, share and learn from one another.

Continuity – A mix of maturity and experience with the vitality, energy and rawness of youth is likely to create a strong mix that ensures a strong identity and culture that protects continuity of the business

So..while we are all getting quite obsessed about the boys versus girls, please don’t forget about the old fogies in their forties, fifties, sixties and beyond – we have a lot to offer!

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full-service agency that offers Marketing, PR and Branding  services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

 

 

Two sides of the “Change” coin

October 1, 2017

TakeoverWe were about to board a flight and I bumped into someone we knew as we joined the queue for the plane.

The company where he worked, quite a large and successful international business had just been taken over by another large business.

I was curious as to the changes that had occurred since the takeover and the impact this had on the people working there, the culture, the shift in values and direction and the resulting effect on morale.

He was thrilled with the changes – in his view the business was a lot more focused, there was now a strong performance management system in place and as a result this meant recognition, rewards and opportunities for the hard working individuals who were achieving.

He went on to explain that before the changes things tended to be more relaxed and rewards were shared equally across the business with top performers and poor performers all treated the same. Some bad habits has crept in and this was demotivating for many of the employees who had joined the business in the last few years.

The changes were great!

two sides of the same coin

When I took my seat on the plane I ended sitting next to someone from the neighborhood. Up until now our interactions never got past a friendly wave and chit chat about the weather as we walked our respective dogs.

On the hour’s flight the chat eventually came around to where we worked and it turned out that she was working for the same company as the person I met as I boarded.

She had worked there for many many years and from our conversation seemed to be very much part of the fabric of the place.

Curiosity got the better of me so I asked the same question about the changes since the takeover.

This time I heard a totally different story to the one I heard earlier.

The changes were really bad, the place wasn’t the same anymore, the business had got a lot more cut throat with an obsession about cost cutting and performance.

The new regime were forcing changes through, simple perks that many of the teams enjoyed were being withdrawn so their deep reciprocal commitment to the business was being withdrawn in equal measure.

The new owners just cared about money and not about the people, many of whom played a huge part in the success of the business that the new owners wrote a big cheque for. This was her view and she wasn’t a bit happy.

She spoke warmly about different instances down through the years that demonstrated the wonderful comradery that existed in the business and that warm “family” spirit that had everyone going the extra mile when needed.

Now it was all about the “young ones” wet behind the ears, all trying to impress the new bosses, who were running around the place with clipboards who cared about no one but themselves – the place had definitely changed for the worse.

If there was a package, she was gone !!

I would want both of these great people working for me.

Change can be a fantastic opportunity and it can be an awful threat depending on how the evolving culture suits you.

For the new owners it’s important that they take the time to understand the magic that exists within the business (that they clearly valued highly) and embrace this as much as possible as they develop an evolved culture, which will hopefully be the best of both worlds.

For the existing teams it’s important to understand that the new owners are different, that they will bring different attributes to the party and that they need to give them time and the opportunity to evolve together.

Leopards may never change their spots but if people are willing to listen and learn we can evolve together into something ever better.

The value of the new business will only be preserved if they recognise what is good, treasure it and make it even better.

Change is tricky but the results can be fantastic – great communications can play a special part in delivering these fantastic results.

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

Ryanair – The bit that comes before the Crisis

September 25, 2017

Ryanair - Always Getting Better

Early last week we were asked to comment by the publication Fora.ie about the whole Ryanair fiasco and what we thought of how they handled their crisis.

In a crisis situation we always advise –

  • Don’t hide
  • Quickly establish the facts
  • Be 100% truthful
  • Always provide a solution (or a least be honest about working hard to find one)
  • Don’t be afraid to say sorry (as long as you mean it)
  • Don’t be shy about telling people the good things you are doing

This can be achieved with a combination of holding statements, follow up statements, interviews and implementing any necessary changes.

In the case of Ryanair there wasn’t really a formal apology but Michael O’Leary was door stopped by reporters and did say it was “clearly a mess” but he went on to point out that it was just 2% of their passengers that had been affected. I think Michael is missing the point here about focussing on the good things!

On their website where they have a page dedicated to the cancelled flights they also remind people of this “2%” as well as listing the flights that have been cancelled. They also provide a ‘link’ to a page that directs people to an EU legislation document about entitlements to refunds and compensation.

The words “sorry” or “apologise” don’t appear anywhere!

Ryanair - Cancelled Flights

Understandably customers are irate – Ryanair are not helping the situation by drip feeding news about cancelled flights, their customer contact lines not being managed efficiently and are still overheating their situation by promoting flights at “€19.99”.

Furthermore, they have been denying that part of the problem is pilots leaving to take jobs in other airlines.

This scenario has got even worse with pilots going public with their gripes and painting a pretty awful picture about what life is like working for the ‘low care’ airline.

All of this comes at a time when the airline has been trying to refocus it’s brand with their “Always Getting Better” campaign.

A different scenario? 

So – would it have made a difference if Ryanair were upfront, issued a formal apology and showed genuine empathy with inconvenienced customers and were honest about solutions and assurances going forward?

The answer would be a big “Yes” but there is also a big “But” to contend with.

The effectiveness of this approach will depend on what people feel about the company when embarks on such a course –

  • Do people feel warmly towards the airline?
  • Do they believe that there is a genuine concern for customers?
  • Do they believe that staff at the airline are treated well?
  • Do they believe that this company does charitable work?
  • Do they believe there is a strong moral compass at the airline?
  • Have they communicated the great things (if such things exist) they have been doing to the general public and stakeholders?

Maybe realising this Michael felt there was no point pretending to care?

In a crisis a robust process will definitely help but the best preparation for a crisis is to be good and do good things and communicate this effectively – it is only then that people will be willing to listen to your apology and accept it.

Leopards don’t change their spots and not caring will bite you in the butt eventually.

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full-service agency that offers Crisis Consultancy Services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

 

 

Podcasts and Super Powers

September 3, 2017

Super Powers

I was just after dropping my brother Colin and his family at Shannon Airport for their early flight back to the States.

I wasn’t quite in the mood for music as I faced that awful Limerick to Cork road so I searched some Podcasts that I had downloaded to pass the horrible journey.

First up was an interview with a former news anchor who has since specialised in Digital Marketing – I fully agree with the core theme of the conversation, which was all about discovering the passion behind the people and showing some personality and even a little vulnerability through genuine social media updates and storytelling via blogs.

The second podcast that took me all the way to my front door was an interview with a guy who worked as Head of Creative in an advertising agency.

The interviewer used a series of clever ‘quick fire’ questions to get to know this guy a little better and he asked a fantastic one, which I thought was really simple but also thought provoking and quite brilliant.

What is your work Super Power?” he asked this clearly successful Creative Director.

The answer he gave was one that I wasn’t expecting: “Resilience” he answered.

The interviewee went on to explain that in his career he received many knocks and push backs but he used all of these as ‘fuel’ to try harder and prove others wrong.

He also explained that in the course of his business he had lost many pitches to prospective clients – once again these just made him more determined to succeed next time.

He reckoned this try and try again  ‘Super Power‘ was his greatest asset that had led to career success.

Having someone on your team that is very resilient is definitely a huge advantage.

He also mentioned another ‘Super Power‘ which was his ability to survive on very little sleep, which he reckoned was also a big plus in the advertising industry!

The very unusual thing about these ‘Super Powers’ is that while they are clearly valuable they are things that you would never see listed in someone’s bio in a pitch document or on your website.

I really found this question to be a powerful one – as we are in the middle of updating the bios for our team I was struggling a little with descriptions that in some cases just weren’t capturing some of the special and most valuable attributes that our crew possess. I’m going to add a ‘Super Power’ description for everyone!

So…the valuable lessons that I learnt at 7am on a crappy Sunday morning – listen to Podcasts that might help you to learn something new and try to capture the ‘Super Powers’ of your team!

What is your Super Power?

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full-service agency that offers Marketing, PR and Branding  services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

 

 

The most important person to health in Ireland is an IT man!

May 21, 2017

Richard Corbridge, HSE, EHealth Ireland

There was huge interest in the Dublin Chamber, morning event hosted by solicitors Mason Hayes Curran because the speaker was Englishman, Richard Corbridge who is the Chief Information Officer with the HSE and CEO of eHealth Ireland.

The very public hacking of the computers of the NHS in the UK brought the Cyber Security topic into focus and this fed an even greater interest than usual in this Dublin Chamber event.

While I was expecting a big talk about Cyber Security from the affable and very engaging Richard I ended up hearing something much more important, I heard about ‘First Dates‘.

Richard used this fantastic ‘first dates‘ analogy to describe how essential it is that the health system in Ireland needs to wake up in 2017 because quite frankly, first dates are no longer acceptable.

This simple point struck a huge chord with me.

Very recently I attended a ‘huge’ and incredibly serious consultation with a senior doctor with a close relative. At this consultation, the topic was of the gravest nature and literally half of the session was spent with the doctor flicking through various papers and asking the most basic of questions in an attempt to bring himself fully up to speed so he could deliver the best medical advice.

As I sat there I couldn’t help thinking that not only was a lot of valuable time wasted by this ‘paper’ system but the margin for error is just colossal.

When you meet a doctor for the first time (when you are born?) this should be the only first date you ever have to experience. Everyone else along the way should have your full medical history at their fingertips so that they have the full story and all of their valuable time and energy should go into the best possible diagnosis.

Richard spoke about many things including the huge positive changes that have been experienced in some of the maternity hospitals where this IT vision has begun and also some incredible improvements with certain medical conditions such as Epilepsy directly as a result of technology.

He also spoke about his committed team, who pulled out all stops to make sure we didn’t suffer the same fate as the NHS. He needs to bring this team with him and expand it to achieve what is needed.

Richard’s enthusiasm for his vision is infectious but it is clear that he is trying to achieve this vision in a mammoth, understandably slow-moving public sector organisation. My sincere hope is that he receives all the support that he needs and that he digs deep and stays the course because it will be frustrating.

To achieve this vision Richard needs to communicate it over and over as eloquently as he did last week both internally and externally and he must not stop until his vision has been achieved.

The irony in all of this is that the health of Ireland rests in the hands of an Englishman who isn’t even a medical doctor!

Richard…thank you, but please, please, don’t give up, we won’t allow you to!

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

What do you bring to work? – the Gospel according to The Boss

February 18, 2017

Bruce Springsteen - Born to Run

I always tell the fantastic team that work with me and Dee at Fuzion Communications, that they don’t work for an entity, they actually work for themselves.

Fuzion isn’t the place where they work, it is them, it is us.

Together we turn up, we ply our trade and we give of ourselves and the result of this is Fuzion.

The place where we work is what we collectively make of it, and it is up to us together, to make it a special place that we can all enjoy.

When we get this right and we enjoy doing great work together for our clients we call it Win Happy.

When anyone new starts I explain our simple work philosophy to them and I am sure they think I am a total crackpot because sadly it doesn’t normally operate like this in the workplace.

I am in the middle of a fantastic book and the following powerful excerpt really resonated with me as it describes our philosophy better than I ever can:

There is love and respect in the centre of everything that we do together.

It’s not just business, it’s personal.

When you come to work with me, I had to be assured that you’d bring your heart

Heart sealed the deal.

We are more than an idea, an aesthetic. We are a philosophy, a collective, with a professional code of honour.

It is based on the principle that we bring our best, everything we have, to remind you of everything you have, your best.

That it’s a privilege to exchange smiles, soul and heart directly with the people in front of you.

That it’s an honour and great fun to join in concert with those whom you’ve invested so much of yourself in and they in you, your fans, the stars above, this moment, and apply your trade humbly (or not so!) as a piece of a long, spirited chain you’re thankful to be a small link in.  

Bruce Springsteen

Excerpt from his book ‘Born to Run’

#WinHappy

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service agencu that offers 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

Time to Prioritise Caring

December 30, 2016

Caring

As we roll into another year we inevitably start thinking about the things we have achieved and the things we want and wish for in the new year.

If I was to express my wishes for next year in one word I would choose the word “Caring“.

I’m not sure if it is just now that I feel there is a real deficit of caring in the world, if it is just what I am seeing and reading or whether it is a reflection of my age and if I am starting to think and observe things differently?

I am worried that there is not enough caring in the world and I feel that this year has plummeted with awful incidents in Nice, Berlin, Aleppo and some of the horribleness that we witnessed in the United States by the President Elect, Donald Trump in his campaign.

Lessons in how to win elections were absorbed by a new generation and “caring” isn’t quite the word that comes to mind when you reflect on what we saw being played out for months and months in the lead up to the awful result.

Closer to home our year ended in Ireland with the homeless coming together under the simple ‘Home Sweet Home‘ banner and they occupied an unused office building, Apollo House to put much needed roofs over heads and put a public spotlight on this big issue, which is getting worse and worse. The homeless need this as they can’t go on strike to get attention.

We heard the involvement of high profile Irish musicians including Glen Hansard and Hozier being sadly criticised by some in the media as being a stunt by them to raise their popularity!

What has happened with the way we think about things?

The courts moved in double quick time (they can when they want to) incredibly to process an injunction against the occupants.

The very sad “win” was that the homeless were allowed stay in the disused office building until January 11th – Merry Christmas!!

When living in a disused office block over Christmas is considered a win for those poor temporary residents we have arrived at a very poor state of affairs. Unfortunately this was a win for them – can you imagine?

My wish for the new year is that we start genuinely caring for each other, that we teach our children the importance of caring and let them witness it everyday, that we teach caring in our schools, that we make caring a priority in our workplaces, that caring becomes part of the values that companies live by and that we put caring for people in our communities, on our roads, in our cities and countries before any other criteria.

Let’s start caring.

Happy New Year and a big thank you to all the readers of my blog posts – see you next year!!

Greg

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