Posts Tagged ‘Good to Great’

Cork – Let’s Shake it up!

January 5, 2015

 

Good to Great

2014 was a good year.  There were definite signs of recovery, which our own business could see first-hand through our offices in Cork and in Dublin.  We were finding that people and businesses may not have had more money to spend, but there was an air of optimism and that there was a willingness to invest once more, in their businesses, in their homes and on themselves.

In Cork there were a number of indicators that have helped generate this air of positivity.  Work began on One Albert Quay, by John Cleary Developments and BAM Construction, which is initially creating 300 construction jobs and once the construction phase is completed will accommodate up to 1,800 new workers in the city centre. This is one of the largest projects of its type in the whole of Ireland at the moment.

We saw award-winning Cork entrepreneurs such as Dan and Linda Kiely of VoxPro, growing from strength to strength and announcing that by 2016 they plan to employ 4,000 highly skilled people in Cork.

The Cork Convention Bureau continued to punch above its weight, attracting international conferences to Cork in 2014 to the value of over €9 million.

Work continued on the Cork Marketing Strategy – or Cork INC as people have started to call it, where all of the major stakeholders, led by Cork City and County Councils are looking at more joined up thinking in promoting Cork to Foreign Direct Investors.

As part of this project, the research showed us that Cork is seen as a special place to do business. Not only is it economically viable with an intelligent and motivated workforce on our doorstep thanks to our terrific education institutions, but it is also seen by everyone as a great place to live. When it comes to ‘life success’ which is a combination of career and quality of life, Cork beats most other locations globally, hands down.

When we were working on this project it was fantastic to hear so many people playing back to us what we already knew!

Cork also led the charge in the tourism sector with visitor numbers up and the hospitality sector reporting a busy high season. Visitors flocked to attractions such as the English Market, Blarney Castle and Fota Wildlife Park as well as the wilds of East and West Cork.  A lot of visitors know what a special place Cork is!

All of this has made 2014 a good year for people living in Cork. However we can’t just stop at this and we need to be on the front foot and really shake things up and make things happen for ourselves.

As anyone who knows Fuzion and in particular my partner Greg Canty, will know that we are big fans of Jim Collins, the American business consultant and author.  Jim’s most famous theory is how “good is the enemy of great”.  He believes that good organisations can unwittingly slip into a mind-set of  good is good enough and that this complacency can prevent the organisation becoming great.

My wish for Cork in 2015 is that we don’t slip into this mind-set.  Cork is perfectly set to take full advantage of the upturn in the economy which now seems to not just be rhetoric, but fact – instead of thinking “good”, let’s plan for “great”.

As a really nice pre-Christmas boost, IBEC announced that economic growth in Ireland is expected to hit nearly 6% in 2014 – the strongest rate in Europe, with continued strong growth predicted in 2015. If Ireland can be the star of Europe why not work together to make Cork the star of Ireland.

Cork stakeholders have a responsibility to make sure that we take full advantage of these positive figures and that this time next year; we are all saying that 2015 was a great year for Cork, that we did not get complacent with “good”, but worked towards being “great”.

I have many things on my wish list for 2015.

Cork Convention CentreOne wish is that finally we get going on the much-needed Convention Centre.  There have been enough delays on this for a variety of reasons – many of which I can’t fathom – but Cork needs it urgently if we are to be seen as a “great” player in this arena.

Something desperately needs to be done with our amazing city centre. We are passing way too many empty retail units on Patrick Street and even more empty offices on the South Mall and neighbouring streets. I hope that 2015 is the year we see some tangible initiatives to really fill these empty spaces with a creative mix of uses. With some creativity, positive incentives and initiatives and by working together we can get these streets buzzing once again.

Cork Airport is haemorrhaging flights and this flow needs to be stopped in 2015. I think we all know the answer to this one and my hope for Cork Airport in 2015 is that it gets more autonomy from Dublin and becomes an independent airport. Shannon Airport is thriving to the detriment of Cork Airport and this needs to be addressed urgently. Not only do we want access to fantastic destinations for business and pleasure, we also want to see this traffic reciprocated with more overseas visitors able to discover our fantastic city and surrounds through direct access through our state of the art airport.

We have two very proactive and powerful new CEO’s in Ann Doherty for Cork City Council and Tim Lucey for the Cork County Council who need to continue to show us leadership and steer Cork together towards a great year in 2015.  They both have vast experience in heading up major organisations and now they need to lead us through positive change and progression.

I would ask that they would be confident and brave and a lot more than just safe pairs of hands. Our local politicians and all other stakeholders must support them in this regard and even allow them to take some risks as they push forward.

A colleague of Fuzion’s in our work on the Cork Marketing Strategy over the past year and a half, Malcolm Allan of Place Matters, puts it brilliantly when he says “if you continue doing the same thing, you will get the same results”.  Malcolm is one of the leading global figures in Place Marketing and sees great potential for Cork, but we need to bear his words in mind in 2015.

Let’s make 2015 the year that we really changed things in Cork, taking full advantage of the economic improvements and that we all played our part to make things happen. So much has been invested in plans, consultants, research etc. so let’s make 2015 the year that Cork took major steps to take its rightful place among the leading city regions in Europe and beyond.

My last wish is that all of us genuinely work together and apply a ‘rising tide’ mentality so that overall Cork benefits and not specific interest groups.

Let’s make sure we all have a great year, because Cork and all Corkonians born and bred and those like myself who are lucky enough to be adopted by Cork and to call it home, deserve it.

Lets shake it up!

Deirdre Waldron - Fuzion PRDeirdre Waldron is a Partner of Fuzion

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

This post first appeared as an Opinion Piece in the Evening Echo 2-1-15

How to Attract Top Talent

October 2, 2014

Attracting Talent - Superman

Attracting top performers to your organisation is the key factor for future success according to many of the top CEO’s and one of the biggest challenges they are facing today.

Understanding how top performers think is critical and to get this right organisations must figure out what motivates and inspires them and then how to create an environment where these things exist.

Some of the common attributes that top performers look for in an employer are:

Real value alignment

Top performers want to believe that the organisation they are working for are strongly aligned to their own personal values. These ‘key’ corporate values must be clearly communicated and could include things like customer ethos, creativity and innovation, involvement in the community,  teamwork, opportunity and personality.

Quite simply “If you want me to work for you I must believe in you

Positive reputation

In the eyes of the top performer, the organisations they consider working for must have a strong, attractive brand and a great reputation in the marketplace. This by default will enhance their own personal reputation and help them to progress with their career. When the question is asked “where do you work?” you want to be able to answer proudly and even create a little job envy ..”Oh, you are lucky to work there“.

Special personal opportunities

Top performers want to know what sets the organisation apart and what does that mean for them: Special experiences, unique opportunities, enjoyment, satisfaction, achievement and rewards, career progression and a great work life balance are things that important for these individuals.

Development opportunities

The opportunity to develop both personally and professionally is crucial for the job satisfaction of high achievers. They want to invest their talent and precious career time in an organisation that can help develop them and progress their career positively.

Communicating

If these attributes genuinely exist in the organisation (easier said than done!) then the challenge is to communicate these to Top Performers in a way that attracts their attention.

Some of these attributes are easy to convey such as organisation success, great products and services but other ‘softer‘ attributes are difficult to convey in a believable way to prospective talent but it can be done.

Website

The organisation website will be the first port of call for anyone considering working with the organisation. Organisation websites are normally built with customers in mind but you will find that the more progressive ones will go to great efforts to demonstrate the opportunities that exist for staff and will try to provide evidence that their place is a genuinely great place to work.

While describing employee programmes and opportunities is a must on the website, the ‘evidence’ will come from the staff themselves and with clever corporate videos, team blogs, demonstrations of team activities and team testimonials the opportunities can be communicated in a believable way.

For an ‘active‘ job seeker the website will be useful, but to attract someone more ‘passive‘ who may not be considering a career change you must work much harder to get their attention.

Social Media 

Social media in particular, free from the formality of the organisation’s normal communications is a powerful platform for communicating the softer aspects of the organisation. These channels are the perfect way to demonstrate the personality of the organisation, the positive work life balance activities, the team spirit and publicising some of the community work and other things that showcase the ethos and values that exist.

For example happy pictures of team activities can speak volumes for any organisation.

For deeper messages well written blog posts, which allow more informal and softer communications can be distributed cleverly on the social media platforms to really demonstrate the special personality of the organisation.

PR

If the right attributes exist for the organisation then it is vital that these are communicated to the widest possible audience through the media using PR.

Your brand is ‘what other people say about you‘ so it is really important that you carefully plan and shape how your organisation is perceived. Not only should the organisation’s progress and success be communicated but every opportunity should be taken to publicise community work and other non-commercial activities that really show how special the place is.

One of the clever ways to do this for our clients is through profile pieces in the media with individuals who work there. These are a powerful way to capture stories and communicate the real personality of the organisation.

Awards

Awards are another clever way for an organisation to showcase other aspects of their personality and ethos. For example many organisations in Ireland are competing for the Chambers Ireland CSR  and ‘Great Place to Work‘ awards. Companies as diverse as Diageo, Microsoft, EMC and McDonalds are all participating in these awards, which demonstrates in a tangible way that it is not all about profit within their businesses.

In 2013 Fuzion proudly won a Chambers Ireland CSR award for our international Safebook anti-cyberbullying campaign, which we hope speaks volumes about the type of business that we operate. We care!

The top performer is not a work horse and they care deeply about their careers and about things that really matter to them.

Jim Collins in his iconic book ‘Good to Great‘ says one of the key factors of successful organisations is great people.

It’s up to you to attract them!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

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

 

Factor 15, the Flywheel and that crew in Killarney

September 6, 2011
Factor 15

See you in 2012!

I’m getting ready for another day, up early and wondering what to wear ..

The rain pounding against the bedroom window and a night of strong winds rattling fence doors and outdoor tables and chairs guides me towards something sensible and yes we will be wearing a coat today. This was after a cold September night (I find that hard to say as don’t really want to admit that August, the summer of 2011 is done and dusted) when we had to fire up the heating for a while. Strangely enough that wasn’t the first time – in August we turned it on twice!

Grabbing a towel from the cupboard in the dark and something drops onto the floor – Light on..My God, I haven’t seen that in a while and I won’t be needing it again for a really long time unless we escape to somewhere sunny for a week (now there’s an idea!). It was a bottle of Factor 15 sun protection – I didn’t get to use much of this in 2011 – whichever way you cut it the summer was shocking and it has left a lot of us really disappointed. We could definitely have done with some (any ..) sunshine.

I illogically held onto the strange idea that we would have a great summer because we had a lousy winter and even more illogically that we would have a great summer because the usual “leaving cert” summer heat wave never happened. Indian summer – nah, doubt it..

What can we do?

At least we don’t depend on the weather too much for our business but it does to some extent as it would affect some of our clients working in the tourism sector and we do a lot of work in this area.

Tidy Town success for Killarney
Tidy Town success for Killarney

Yesterday was a huge day for one of our clients, The Killarney Chamber of Tourism & Commerce. They have just won the Tidy Towns competition for 2011 and unfortunately had to celebrate in terrible weather yesterday (5th Sept, 2011). In Killarney they are hugely dependant on the Tourism sector and as you imagine the lousy weather can’t have helped them a whole pile.

Ironically they had a great year despite the elements – you could put this down to many factors but as a close observer I put it down to simply doing the right thing consistently.

In my last blog I spoke about the fabulous book by Jim Collins, called Good to Great where he scientifically unearthed the factors that led to the sustained success of what he called “Great” companies.

The reasons for Killarney’s terrific Tidy Towns win and the terrific season is rooted in one of the success factors that Jim Collins talks about. He speaks about the Flywheel..

Initially it takes a lot of effort, toil and sweat to achieve a small movement to the flywheel – it takes a lot of people pushing and pushing in the same direction before you achieve any movement – eventually some momentum is achieved and with more and more pushing even more momentum is achieved. Before you know it the flywheel is moving quickly and just needs another nudge now and then in the right direction to maintain the momentum.

To the outside world it looks like it is easy, that success just came knocking on the door and it just had to be opened. To the people involved they are shocked at anyone that thinks it was easy – they remember the times when huge effort was required to achieve even the tiniest momentum.

Killarney – we have been working with them for about 6 years. Yes, they are blessed with the most incredible natural attributes but they have this team spirit, this rising tide mentality, this can do attitude, this belief that nothing happens by itself and that they need to be proactive at all times to achieve success.

Jaunting Cars - Killarney
Winning is Easy?

The town is beautiful, it is spotless, the tourist product is superb, the hotels, guesthouses and B&B’s know their business and are experts at delivering a genuine welcome. They have Summerfest, they have the Rally, they have Christmas in Killarney, they have the Irish Open, they have the right attitude. You may have noticed the teams of volunteers in Killarney, adults and children early in the mornings and late in the evenings painting, tidying, gardening and picking up rubbish all around the town – at one point this year there was a row because some of these guys refused to be featured in some PR shots for a TV programme.

That’s not why they are doing it” we were told. That goes against the grain with our Never Waste a Good Story mentality – very frustrating. It does tell you a big story about them – this is about collective pride in their town. Well done Killarney!

They can’t do anything about the rain but they can can decide how they go about their business – control what you can, go about your business in the best possible way and if the sun shines it’s a bonus!

Flywheel..

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Three Circles and the Path you Choose

August 28, 2011
Greg Canty & Brendan Canty

Parental advice!

My son Brendan Canty has just qualified from CIT, having completed a multi media course. He wants to work in film in some way and he is also really passionate about music.

How unusual – a 22 year old being passionate about music!

Like every other parent you worry about what your children will do – you want them to find a job, earn a living and in this climate it has never been quite so tough.

You need to find a god solid job” I hear myself saying..

Well – he has set up his own website operating under the name Feel Good Lost and he has been busy producing videos for bands from all over the world – with the web and modern technology this is all quite easy, apparently!

His last music video was for a “secret” American solo artist who goes under the name Slow Magic and the track he produced was for a song called Corvette Cassette. There is a video producers peer website called Vimeo (this is like a worldwide YouTube for video and film producers), which has just featured this song as a staff pic – at the time of writing the video has been viewed 63,000 times across the world.

While Brendan does some excellent corporate video work for Fuzion and his own clients he excels when he combines his love of music and his film profession. On Friday nights he DJ’s in The Pavilion in Cork combining music and visuals as part of his unique set operating under the Feel Good Lost name.

Slow Magic // Corvette Cassette from Feel Good Lost on Vimeo.

He is following his dream and his passion and it had me thinking about career choices and Three Circles..

In Jim Collins fabulous business book Good to Great (for me this book is a business bible) he talks about companies using a Three Circle criteria as a guide to the activities they should get involved in:

A company should only engage in activities that:

  1. It is passionate about
  2. It can excel at
  3. It can make money from

The basic principle is that if companies concentrate their efforts on activities that meet all three of these criteria then they will inevitably be very successful – this is one of the factors that Jim Collins attributes to the success of what he calls “Great” companies.

If you are looking for a new job or a new challenge how about using the Three Circle Criteria for deciding which path you choose?

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion


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