Posts Tagged ‘Fuzion Marketing & PR’

The Team Challenge and listening to that Voice in your Head

December 18, 2015

Team spirit

It’s that time of the year again and we are planning our ‘team day‘ to sign off another year.

This is always a special day when we discuss our plans for the new year, do a few team things together and toast the successes during the year gone by.

My team is really important to me and while this is made up of a group of individuals it is the collective that makes it so special.

We work hard to create a special atmosphere that allows a team spirit to thrive – this is always about respecting each other, working hard, having fun, encouraging, praising, supporting, celebrating special occasions, team days and every Friday we go to lunch together and break bread.

We call this #WinHappy and it is about working hard together in a good, enjoyable, supportive atmosphere – when you get this right you win with a big smile on your face!

The team spirit process starts when we recruit and we place a big emphasis on the character of the individual as well as their technical ability. In our job specifications we make it clear that we want ‘heart and soul‘ team players.

While we work hard to create that special atmosphere it will only happen when the individual plays their part, which does involve a sacrifice on their part.

Team sacrifice

Will I stay on for drinks after work, will I give up my Friday lunch, will I stay back and help, will I attend the networking event, will I give up my night and celebrate with the team? Why can’t I just punch in my time and head home once my work is done?

While I would love to say we always get it right in Fuzion and succeed in creating that special team spirit there have been times when this just hasn’t been the case. Invariably the reason for this has been that someone who doesn’t fully buy into or fit into the Fuzion ethos has started working with us and it quickly upsets the whole dynamic.

When this dynamic isn’t right it is very damaging for the whole business and everything becomes more difficult. It is like playing a match with a big weight on your back and at the time you realise that something is wrong but often it’s not a very easy thing to sort out.

When it is not right you end up with unhealthy cliques, sniping and personal agendas, people not helping each other, upset and stress, jealousy, silly games, poor work and a lack of commitment. This will impact on the quality of the work at some point.

Even worse in our own business I have witnessed the transformation of great, positive people into disheartened, unmotivated and disruptive individuals in a matter of months when the wrong atmosphere develops. Just one person who isn’t the right fit can change everything.

On each of the few occasions when this happened it has been quite easy to pinpoint the individuals who upset the team balance and in every single case during the recruitment process I can recall that clear voice in my head saying “they are not a fit for Fuzion” or  “this just doesn’t feel right“.

In each of these scenarios I forced myself to ignore the voice in my head when the evidence on their CV’s was so strong convincing me that they would be a great fit for Fuzion – none of these appointments have ever worked out!

I wonder if each of the individuals themselves knew they weren’t a fit? –  I guess when you need a job you too can ignore these voices.

I’m looking forward to our team day, to enjoying the year ahead together and making sure that I always listen to those reliable voices.. 

Greg Canty 

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

Pillars of Society to be exposed?

June 23, 2015

Betrayal

I knew something was wrong with my buddy. I had known this for a while as he just hadn’t been his normal colourful, jovial full of beans, self.

I’ll tell you another time” was what I got from him the few times I pushed to figure out what was wrong.

Eventually he started to open up “I’ve really messed up, I’ve been an awful fool” he began.

I’ve lent the guys some money to help them keep things afloat before they bring in investors and I’m starting to get worried that I won’t get it back“. He was talking about the two guys he was working for.

It might sound totally off the wall that an employee would lend his employers money for their business but this was just typical of him.

In truth he can’t “work for anyone“. He gives everything 1,000% as he has done in every aspect of his life for as long as I have known him. He is passionate, he takes ownership and he gives absolutely everything to things and people he cares about. In this case this unrivalled passion had out him and his family in a very vulnerable position.

Early days

To be honest I was surprised and concerned when I heard he was working with this crew as in the trade they always had quite a poor reputation for not paying their bills etc.

I mentioned these rumours to him when he took the job but he was convinced that they were legit and while they had cash flow problems it was because they had overextended themselves (just like half the business people in the country). He felt they were good guys underneath it all and he was going to do everything to help them pull through this challenging time.

As usual he gave this job everything, hardly ever taking a day off and as always working every spare minute – I was worried that he would burn himself out. During the course of his time working there he introduced me and I got to know the two guys he worked for, one in particular. They were quite open about how thrilled they were with my friend and the job he was doing for them but they were also concerned that he was doing too much.

Waiting on investment

As mentioned earlier it turns out that besides working every hour that god sends he also lent them a significant amount of money – they were about to bring in an investor into part of the business and a deal was supposed to be close. However the cash flow situation was critical so they needed emergency funds to tide the business over until this deal was over the line – without these funds there was a risk that the business would literally implode. The banks were in no mood to lend money.

On this basis he lent them personal money to help tide them over until the date when the investment money came through – of course this was crazy but if my buddy believes in something or someone he would do anything to help them.

It started with a relatively modest amount of money – the investment process was delayed so more was required. There were further delays so even more was required and this went on and on for months. In the end it accumulated to quite a huge sum, enough to buy a house – at this stage he was virtually putting in money to protect the money he had already put in or else all would be lost.

Deal done

Eventually the investors insisted on a 100% buyout and a deal was done, much to the relief of my buddy. Unfortunately at this point in time his relationship with his bosses had broken down, primarily because of this money situation and when he looked for the return of this nothing was forthcoming.

I even jumped into the middle of this situation to see if I could do anything by way of mediation as I could see this situation getting very nasty – while they acknowledged to me that they owed him the money they insisted that they were not in a position to repay it and could only manage this over a period of more than 10 years.

My buddy who bailed out these “friends” with his own personal nest-egg was now totally caught and had to resort to the courts to force the return of his money.

Pillars of Society

In my view what happened next was one of the most despicable, disgusting things that I have ever witnessed in business.

These “friends” that he literally tried to save were now denying that they ever received any money, they went on to discredit the job he did, they called his character into question, they accused him of ruining their business, they accused him of turning up for work drunk (this man didn’t have a minute to relax and have a drink!) and they accused him of putting them in fear of their lives.

I can see the deep hurt, stress, pain and worry that this has been caused to my buddy and his family – he was prepared to do anything for these modern day businessmen, his “friends” and this is what he got in return.

Not only did they take his money but they were now trying to rob every inch of his character and his reputation.

These are respected businessmen in the community with one holding a very prestigious position in a national members organisation: Pillars of our Society!

While this story is unbelievable I have sadly witnessed lots of similar stories (admittedly, none quite as nasty and as horrible as this one) where great, honest people have been taken advantage of by people with no scruples and no morals who feel this is all ‘just business‘.

Justice?

My buddy has no choice but to take this case all the way to the courts and I sincerely hope that these ‘pillars of society‘ will be exposed for everyone’s benefit and that my friend and his family will get their hard earned nest-egg back.

Unfortunately they have taken much more than his money and someone who would do anything for anyone will no longer be quite the same.

I hope justice will finally be done..

Greg Canty

Note: 24th July, 2016 

After publishing this post originally I had second thoughts as I felt it might upset my buddy and his family so I put the post to sleep.

I’ve since reflected on this and feel it is better that we talk about these things as we must all do our utmost to make sure that people in business behave properly, with morals and scruples.

Ironically after putting this blog post “to sleep” I received a letter from the solicitor who was representing these two guys instructing me to remove my blog post (it obviously got to them – I hope they read it properly and had an opportunity to reflect on their actions) as it was defamatory against his clients.

I politely responded to their solicitor indicating that the post was not ‘live‘ and that even if it was there was no mention of them anywhere so it could not be defamatory. If they recognised themselves in the post that’s not really my issue.

I love how people like this think that they can behave appallingly and then if anyone says anything bad about their behaviour they jump up and down feeling that they are the ones who have been wronged!!

If you wish to read more about defamation and protecting your reputation check out a post I wrote on this very topic.

Greg Canty 

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

 

 

 

 

What is it about Cork and Dublin rivalry?

October 21, 2014

welcome to cork

Recently I was at the inspiring IGNITE UCC graduate innovation programme launch event whereby this years participants were introduced to the attendees.

One after the other. each of the enthusiastic new entrepreneurs stood up and very quickly pitched their business idea to the audience.

Hi, my name is Greg and I am developing an APP that records receipts for valuable things you purchase just in case they need to be returned at a later date” (not a bad idea..huh!! )

The simple routine was, ‘My name is ..and my idea is..‘.

We heard one good idea after another and then it came to Eileen Weadick’s turn.

Hi, my name is Eileen Weadick, I’m from Dublin and I hope you don’t hold that against me!” She went on to tell us about her company, eXtensicon that offers a technical content service for companies mainly in the Information Communications Technology sector.

Eileen was one of the only people to mention where she was from.

I chatted to her after and asked her why she felt she had to mention where she was from in such a way – no one else did. Even though she has been living in Cape Clear for years she explained to me that she still gets stick from some people for being a ‘Dub‘ or a ‘Jackeen‘.

Often it is harmless but sometimes there is a little bit of an edge to it she further explained.

While it seems odd and makes no sense that anyone would feel negatively disposed towards her there is a clear and real ‘truth‘ in what she was saying.

In Cork being very honest we do have an issue with the ‘Dubs‘ and the normal, friendly welcome that we are well known and much loved for, can be put firmly to one side if we hear the wrong accent.

What is that all about?

Do we think they feel superior to us and do we feel inferior to them?

Do we feel they get the breaks that we never get?

Do we feel they think we are all from the ‘country‘?

Is it so engrained in our history that these feelings are automatically passed down to us?

Maybe we feel they might know more then we do and it is our automatic defence mechanism?

I spoke to a guy from Dublin last week about the whole Cork/Dublin dynamic and he said he spent three years trying to ‘crack’ Cork but he never succeeded – he reckoned being from Dublin was the reason for his lack of success.

When we worked on the Cork Marketing project we found there was no reason to compete with Dublin – we are a modern European city with plenty to offer in our own right. If truth be told and we were to compare we have the distinct advantage of having a more relaxed and better quality of life.

When I worked with Guinness in Dublin I was surprised how enjoyable the whole experience was and how the anti-Cork feeling that I was expecting before I joined never, ever materialised.

We work a few days a week in Dublin and I do find myself stressing to anyone we meet that we have a real office there and often I wonder if my Cork accent is a disadvantage to doing business.

Based on my experience I genuinely don’t feel there is a similar prejudice against Corkonians but they do want to know that you are physically there and that you are up to the job in a larger market. Once you convince them of that you get business on merit.

While local knowledge is valuable and priceless, so too is a fresh perspective.

Why not enjoy both equally and have the best of both worlds?

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion who have two Dubs working for us in Cork!

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

 

 

 

The Cobbler and Upselling

July 28, 2014

The Cobbler

Why didn’t he tell me the shoes needed new soles when I got the heels done?

Its a big pain in the butt to bring your shoes with you in a bag, take them to the cobblers, store your ticket and return a few days later to collect them.

When I took them to him the soles looked ok so I just asked him to do the heels.

Just a week later a hole appears on the sole of my just repaired shoes and we go through the whole routine again..very annoying!

Surely he spotted that the soles were weak and needed to be done? Why didn’t he tell me?

In a world where we are all encouraged to up-sell is he crazy, losing easy business I wonder?

Has this wise cobbler learnt from years of experience that he is better off just doing what the customer has asked for instead of suggesting extra things that may be needed and leaving the customer with the possible view that they are always being ‘sold‘ something and maybe not returning?

I would have liked to have avoided the unnecessary nuisance of returning a second time but I did wonder how I would have felt if he was suggesting some extra work that wasn’t that obvious to me.

– If the customer trusts you they will accept your recommendation

– If the customer hasn’t built up trust with you they may feel like they are being pressurised into spending more money unnecessarily and you may lose the sale

– Until your customer trusts you do your best to point out the hole.

If the hole isn’t that obvious you might be better doing a great job on the heel and they will be back ..

What do you think?

Greg Canty

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

 

 

 

How did you survive the recession?

May 5, 2014

navigating the storm

It looks like we have come through the recession and things are finally improving – it was a rough, tough, bumpy ride but we got there!

As things start to improve the horrible memories will fade into the past but hopefully the valuable lessons we learnt will stay with us and we will be stronger for them.

In our industry we were particularly vulnerable as many businesses totally shut down on their positive spend and investment in Marketing and PR was deemed by many as unnecessary in tough times. Budgets were slashed and at the beginning of 2009 we lost a lot of good accounts. On top of this we suffered a lot of bad debts, which was really hard to carry.

Thankfully we dug in and we survived and we managed to come through this challenging period without losing any staff, without having to reduce wages – in fact it was the opposite. We managed to grow our business and we took on extra staff and we opened an office in Dublin.

Personally I took a lot of inspiration from a book I read called ‘Storming the Recession‘.

In my view we survived the recession because of a few things:

  • We did our best to stay deliberately positive at all times
  • We worked hard at keeping our team motivated and protected them from tax increases
  • We used social media extensively to boost our awareness and promote our services
  • We looked for and grabbed unique opportunities, which only occur in tough times
  • We kept our pricing competitive at all times
  • We made sure we delivered for our clients – their budgets are precious and it is essential their investments are wise ones
  • We looked for extra ways to deliver value for clients including embracing new media enabling them to connect with customers in new ways
  • We diversified our services and started to run training courses in PR and Social Media – most of these were done in the evening and the extra income really helped. These courses also helped to increase our network and awareness
  • We absolutely worked our socks off punching in incredibly long hours – we thought recession would mean less work!!

There were times when things were really tight and very worrying but we always seemed to just about get through. Maybe we were lucky but then again maybe you make your own luck?

This was a unique time that no doubt will come again and is important that when that happens we remember how we coped the last time round, which is why I am forcing myself to write this!

What did you do to survive the recession?

Greg Canty

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