Archive for the ‘Teamwork’ Category

The conductor and the magic of teamwork

July 19, 2019

Christian Vásquez

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

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

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

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

The evening was a full symphonic programme made up of:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

…you will see the magic in the performance!

Greg

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR and Graphic Design agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

The Magic Ingredients of Winning!

May 8, 2019

Liverpool FC Barcelona celebrations

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

Everyone Matters

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

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

Karma

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

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

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

Attitude

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

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

Belief

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

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

Morale

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

…morale is a precious intangible, work on it

Confidence

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

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

Liverpool v Barcelona

Resilience

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

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

Experience

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

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

Youth

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

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

Quality

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

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

Values and Expectations 

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

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

Quick thinking

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

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

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

Staying Calm

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

…count to 10, count to 20

Training and Hard work

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

…train your team and work hard!

Learning 

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

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

Digging Deep

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

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

Habits

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

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

Enjoyment!

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

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

Management 

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

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

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

Support

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

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

Communications

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

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

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

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

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

Greg 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR and Graphic Design agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

When losing is winning!

March 21, 2019

Nelson Mandela - Winning and Learning

A really big potentially lucrative and very complex prospect came our way and like every prospect you must assess how much time and work you need to put into the plan between the:

  • Initial briefing
  • Background research
  • Brainstorming ideas and approaches
  • Writing the plan
  • Getting it ready visually
  • Rehearsing the pitch
  • Presenting the plan to the prospect

This one was really big and our ambitious team decided to go for it and they dug very deep spending days and nights working on the plan until the day came to present.

A big challenge here is that this work must happen alongside the normal client work, which helps to keep the lights on after all!

Apparently of the five agencies that were invited to pitch, two had withdrawn from the process and we were one of three who were remaining.

Our guys made their presentation, which they felt went really well so their confidence levels were up and then the anxious waiting and very painful period begins.

A strange thing happens when these prospects come to you – at the beginning it is a simple case of ‘will we or won’t we‘ and other than the possibility of a new client there is no emotional investment at this time.

At the point of presenting when you have poured heart and soul as well as bucket loads of time you are totally invested in the result with a huge emotional investment in the result.

The news came though via a very polite call from the prospect…

We didn’t win, we came a close second!!

We were the personal choice of the person who called us but someone more senior voted for another service provider, a mammoth of the consulting world.

While this was a disappointing loss in particular for those in the core team who worked on it, I explained to them genuinely that I believed it was really a win.

Nelson Mandela made a famous quote: “I never lose, I either win or I learn

Taking Mandela’s inspirational quote we did learn but we also won – our team had a chance to demonstrate two of our Core Values, they were Ambitious and they were Brave, they had the opportunity to showcase the deep expertise in our team and they had the joy of working closely together, even when there was a good chance the odds were stacked against us.

On our Fuzion Friday (we go for lunch every Friday with the team) we toasted our Dig Deepers, our true winners!

Bravely onto the next big challenge…

Greg 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR and Graphic Design agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

 

 

 

Monotonous roles and having a real purpose

November 27, 2018

Mini

I stood at the counter of the credit union with my daughter, Ellen as we filled out form after form after form – it must have been at least 100 forms with multiple signatures on each (at least that’s how it felt!) as well as answering a multitude of questions. We were there for nearly an hour and it was painful. I was a guarantor for the loan that she was applying for, which is why I was there.

I watched the very helpful lady that was dealing with us and I thought about her job, all day, everyday completing forms, pushing paper and inputting and I felt for her. She was really nice and kind and made sure that we understood the whole process and most importantly how much the monthly repayments would be and when the first one would kick in. At the end of the process we were told the money would be in her account the following Monday afternoon.

I also watched the guy behind her, who was sitting at a terminal and he appeared to be busy inputting “stuff”. Again, I wondered – what boring jobs they have. How could you do this day in day out. would it not destroy your soul?

The reason we were there was that my determined daughter needed to replace her car as her old one eventually packed up. She didn’t want any old car, she wanted something special, one that she would enjoy, a car that would get her excited and one that would put a smile on her face each day she would drive it.

She had done her shopping and set her heart on one in the UK, a gorgeous and relatively new Mini, with good mileage – she was to fly to the UK and collect the car and bring it back on the ferry. She had the whole thing figured out including the VRT (why are we paying so much more than the UK who are also in the EU??).

She rang me this week, totally exhausted – she had returned home in her new car and she was absolutely thrilled with herself, and she now had transport so she could get to work again and she could do it in style!

I thought about the lady in the credit union and the other guy and their monotonous roles – they do this everyday so that people can fulfil their dreams and get the things they want and need in their lives.

Maybe they are great jobs after all?

What is your purpose?

Greg 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR and Graphic Design agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

 

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