Archive for the ‘Teamwork’ Category

Mourinho and the mystery of the lost magic?

August 28, 2018

Mouinho - three fingers, respect

As a Liverpool FC fan it was a natural thing to watch for the Manchester United result coming through last night from their home match against Spurs, three games into the season.

Things were ominous for moaning Mourinho and Co. as they had lost their last match away to Brighton the previous week and the self declared “Special One” has just not been himself for quite a while – in truth he hasn’t been himself for a really long while.

While I have always detested him I remember enviously watching the clear comradery that he seemed to share with his players, back in the early days of Chelsea FC where that combination of talent, money, team spirit and passion seemed to create an unstoppable force, which resulted in three Premier League titles, which he was quick to remind the press about last night in his press conference.

He wants respect from them for what he has achieved before.

Mouinho Chelsea

The magic seems to have deserted Jose Mourinho, whatever has happened. He doesn’t seem to be happy and even with his expensively assembled squad (of course he moans that he doesn’t have more) including World Cup winners, they stuttered at home and lost 3-0.

Spurs are a really good side and there is no shame in this but the timing of the result was awful for him, the team and their fans.

The big question is what happens next?

A great manager will use this result to dig deep, to reboot the team, to rally them to the cause, to make them believe in themselves and to motivate this talented group to start performing to their optimum level.

Great players who believe in this cause, this club, their teammates, their manager and themselves will treat this result as a big line in the sand and will together, use it to kick-start their season.

While this could be a possibility it seems a remote one as Jose has clearly lost the magic he once had in abundance might just need to take a break, to look deep inside himself to find out what has changed and why isn’t he smiling anymore?

We all have bad days and when we lose this feels lousy and inevitably leaves us lacking in confidence and motivation – when this happens it’s up to us, all of us, managers and players to rally together and reboot.

It’s easy when you are winning, it’s tough when you are not and that’s when the true leaders appear, to turn things around.

Jose is not winning but even worse (for Manchester United fans!!) he is not happy – is he the guy who can reboot this team?

#WinHappy

Greg 

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

 

Have we gone past the Sweet Spot?

August 6, 2018

I think we are now well and truly at that point in the economic cycle where we have gone past the sweet spot.

We’ve pulled away from the dark days of the recession and things slowly got better and better, we’ve lost that sense of caution and we find ourselves here, still in the upside but we have passed that sweet spot and we are starting to experience the downside of that upside.

We can see recognise the clear signs..

  • Business costs are increasing
  • Cost of living is increasing
  • Landlords are pushing up rent
  • Team turnover rates are increasing
  • Wages are increasing
  • Attracting great talent is getting more difficult
  • Expectations are higher but without the sweat
  • Traffic is getting worse
  • Hotel rooms are in short supply and increasingly expensive
  • We end up making decisions that don’t make sense anymore

This is the time when we can easily end up in dangerous territory if we make too many bad decisions, which will leave us vulnerable to even the slightest ill wind.

While this might seem like a negative post it’s a positive, future proof one.

Don’t undermine your solid foundations, keep doing the right things, carefully assess all of your decisions, keep a close eye on all of your KPIs, keep your team motivated and stay focused and stick to your plan.

Stay calm and keep doing good business,,

Greg 

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

 

What does the customer REALLY want?

July 9, 2018

Fuzion Communications team

We had our team day planned- we were all heading to Kinsale for the day!!

The mini bus was ordered and I went on a quick off-licence run with one of the guys, nothing mad but a few beers and ciders, something for everyone.

Instead of the mini bus that was ordered a few taxis arrived – my heart sank.

To the taxi company there was no difference between a mini bus and a few taxis. In their book each option got our crew to our destination – isn’t that the point of transportation?

Fuzion Communications team

To me this was a real let down – the team bonding, the banter and the fun and yes, the few drinks together was going to be an important part of our team day, including the journey there and the journey back.

There was no point saying anything – they just wouldn’t get it!

It’s really important that you clearly understand what your customer really wants when they order your product or service …. what do they really want?

Of course we had a great day but it could have been even better.

A big thanks to Hal McElroy of the Trident Hotel , who organised our boat trip with Ocean Addicts.

Greg 

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

Strategy – A good strong “why” will stop the arguments!

June 12, 2018

Strategy

I found myself in the middle of a big argument with a colleague about a decision that had been made around an initiative.

To cut a long story short, it was cancelled and I wasn’t at all happy about it as I believed this was a really poor decision according to all of the well thought criteria and rationale that I had in my head!

He thought it was the right thing to do to cancel it and I thought it was totally wrong and we both argued tooth and nail for our point of view. In the end we had to agree to disagree as it would soon be dark as there was no shifting of our respective opinions.

I reflected after on this argument and the potentially damaging heated disagreement and realised that the absence of a clear strategy that would have given the argument a clear focus was the main reason that had us in a battle of words that was going nowhere fast.

Why?

If the why (or the strategy) was clearly established, understood and agreed in advance of our “argument” then there would have been a good chance that we may have had no need for any conversation!

Armed with a good ‘Why’ a logical decision could have been made by answering a few basic questions:

– Who is our agreed target audience?

– Why are they important to us?

– What is our agreed objective for that audience?

– What are the best tactics for reaching that audience?

– How did this initiative work as a tactic that delivered the objective for this audience?

– What were the KPIs that were agreed to assess the success of the initiatives?

– What was the cost of the initiative?

– How did the initiative work in the past and how did it perform against the agreed KPIs?

– Could anything have been done to improve the performance of the initiative?

– Are there other alternative tactics that would deliver the same or better results?

With a strong and transparent assessment framework that is rooted in a clear strategy our conversation would have been very straightforward.

Have a strong why that everyone agrees with and your life will be much easier all round !

p.s. I know I was right!

Greg 

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

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