Archive for the ‘Bullying’ Category

Trust and restoring broken reputations

February 11, 2017

Maurice McCabe

If things weren’t bad before, they became even worse this week for An Garda Síochána when it was revealed that an “incorrect” sexual abuse file was held against Maurice McCabe by Tusla, the family and child protection agency.

Everyone in the media is being extra careful to avoid stating the obvious conclusions as they risk getting into trouble legally. However, they have published the various statements by those parties involved and reported the facts as they came to light and they keep probing and probing for the truth in this sinister mess to reveal itself fully.

Incidents like this demonstrate once again why we need professional, intelligent journalism to bring us the truth as we can’t rely solely on social media to deliver this. Social media is fantastic as it gives us a powerful voice to demonstrate our dissatisfaction as loudly as we feel is appropriate.

We heard the statement by the Garda Commissioner, Nóirín O’Sullivan, the leader of the organisation who has claimed that she know nothing of the sexual abuse shenanigans with the whistleblower, Maurice McCabe.

Tusla in the meantime have issued their own statement claiming that their file against Maurice McCabe with the atrocious false claims against him were a ‘clerical error‘.

The comical little addition to the Tusla story was that their official apology to Maurice McCabe was sent to the wrong address!

The public are no fools and the generally held, unsurprising conclusion about this story is that senior members of the Gardaí who were unhappy with their whistle blowing colleague tried to smear his reputation in the worst possible way to punish him and protect themselves.

Even worse in this sorry saga, Tusla were obviously happy to play ball with their Garda acquaintances.

This stinks to high heaven and leaves all of us with two awful conclusions:

We cannot trust An Garda Síochána and we cannot trust Tusla.

When you consider the crucial role that both of these state bodies are paid to provide, ‘trust‘ is not a negotiable, nice to have attribute. Trust is everything.

What next?

To begin the long road of rebuilding trust in both organisations there can be no more fluffing about and decisive action and clear communication is required.

Our strong advice to those in charge would be to get ahead of the story, remove all doubts and demonstrate in no uncertain way how important regaining trust is.

This is the time for An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny or Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald to take decisive action and remove Nóirín O’Sullivan from her role and get the investigation started immediately.

This is the time for Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone to demand a 100% honest statement from the CEO of Tusla, Fred McBride as to what actually happened. If this is as farcical as the ‘clerical error’ statement, he should also be removed from his role.

The reputation of these two state organisations is not negotiable – start demonstrating it.

Greg Canty 

Fuzion provide Crisis PR services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland 

 

 

 

 

 

Heartbreaking “Ape in Heels”

November 16, 2016

Michelle Obama

I couldn’t believe reading these deeply disturbing reports about people in influential roles in the United States calling the classy, intelligent, impeccable First Lady, Michelle Obama an “Ape in Heels”

Pamela Ramsey Taylor, a local resident who runs a non-profit group in Clay County, a town in West Virginia, referred to the first lady as an “ape” in a Facebook post:

It will be refreshing to have a classy, beautiful, dignified first lady in the White House. I’m tired of seeing a Ape in heels,

pamela-ramsey-taylor

The female town Mayor, Beverly Whaling responded to this post with her own comment “just made my day Pam“.

Beverly Whaling

The town of Clay, which has a population of just 491 has no African American residents, according to the 2010 census. In Clay County as a whole, more than 98% of its 9,000 residents are white.

Thankfully a petition calling for the mayor’s resignation had gathered over 170,000 signatures, showing that people are deeply offended by such behaviour but it doesn’t disguise the disgusting, deep held, barbaric and hateful racist views that are still held by some people.

Both women have been fired or resigned under pressure from their respective roles. Incredibly Taylor after “apologising” said she was consulting lawyers to pursue legal action against people who had “slandered” her!

The saddest thing for me is that Donald Trump’s, distasteful, hate filled election campaign has made people like Pamela Ramsey Taylor and Beverly Whaling think suddenly that it is now quite ok to say “out loud” what they have always been thinking.

If the incoming President can say successfully spout lies and hateful rhetoric and is cheered on by nearly half of the electorate then why can’t I?

What lessons has the world learnt?

What lessons have our impressionable young people learnt from the distasteful campaign that they have just witnessed ?

The hate is just beginning and our world has become even more horrible.

Stand up to it.

Greg Canty 

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

 

 

 

 

Snapchat and the schoolyard bully

August 7, 2016

Schoolyard bully

Let’s just copy exactly what they are doing

These must have been the crystal clear instructions to the programmers who work for Instagram as the new features on the platform are unashamedly and with no apology exactly the same as Snapchat.

Snapchat, the quirky social media platform has taken the world by storm and I guess recognising the imminent threat to their dominance Facebook instead of trying to buy them as they did with Instagram have just decided to try to blow them out of the online waters by “cogging” them.

Snapchat versus Facebook

I don’t like this, I think it is a poor and awful reflection of their business philosophy, their ethics and I’m starting to question their value system. This isn’t just any value system, this is the value system of Facebook, the clear dominant force in global social media.

Facebook aren’t just any other company they are a profitable giant who are without doubt the dominant force in social media. They gobbled up Instagram with their cheque book and we can see already how the two platforms are being worked for advertising purposes.

Then there is Twitter who are bravely hanging in there but they seem to be struggling to monetise their platform sufficiently to make any profit and their growth in user numbers has hit a plateau. As a serious competitor they are struggling.

Snapchat have kicked up a big storm and are challenging but the schoolyard bully has just landed a big heavy, powerful punch and they find themselves lying on the ground bewildered, battered and bruised.

For the sake of social media and the sector not being totally dominated quite dangerously by the schoolyard bully, keep tweeting and keep snapping!!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion offer Social Media Consultancy and Training from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Sick notes and morality

August 1, 2016

sicknote

Eventually the day of reckoning arrived and it looked like we were hours from the court case starting.

We were there just to support my buddy and unfortunately his wife and his son had also been dragged into it.

The previous week saw plenty of movement with offers coming through to my buddy to repay him the significant amount of money that was personally lent by him to his previous employers, his great “friends” to prop up their business.

This was big – they were now admitting they owed the money and there was no more mention of the crazy things they had been accusing him of. Unfortunately their offer to repay was in instalments over 10 years, which could never be acceptable as one could not trust that this would be executed without fuss.

For this reason my buddy couldn’t accept the offer and to add insult to injury they had subpoenaed his wife and son to attend court as their witnesses!! This was crazy and totally irrelevant and I’m guessing a simple, deliberate tactic to upset them by dragging them into the intimidating atmosphere of court.

The intimidation certainly did not work and my buddy, his wife and son were in determined mood to fight to get their money.

We sat in the pub across from the court while the wheels of the court process slowly turned and while the solicitors played their games. The pub was full of little groups of people all with their solicitors huddled over cups of coffee discussing their respective cases.

At least today, nearly two years on, the case would be heard and this nightmare might finally come to an end for them.

An unexpected call came through …”sick notes

Sorry??

My buddies ex employers, the “friends” had both tried to excuse themselves and adjourn the case due to sickness. One had a note saying he was unable to attend due to migraine and the other was unable to attend due to stress! The poor things getting sick on the same day – it wasn’t even first day back at school – what would their mum and dad have said if they pulled that excuse!

Both notes were coincidentally for a period of 5 days, which would happily take them past the end of the week by which time the courts would have closed for the summer recess.

This is a stupid, blatant game that is too easy to play and even a doctor, another professional was willing to play their part in the farce.

The presiding judge was having none of it and ordered that the “patients” would be present the next day to commence the case.

The next day arrived, other cases were heard before this one and the opposing side argued that there wasn’t enough time to hear the case before the end of the week so it should be adjourned.

Bingo, success, they did it!! Doctors notes, shenanigans etc etc and another four months have been bought.

It is far too easy in this country to play the game and for clever and devious people to work the system and dodge their basic commitments.

I watched my buddy and his family, I saw the strain that they were under and the cruel stress that they have been forced to endure and will have to endure for even longer. This was the sad reward for my buddy who helped these people that he believed, trusted wholeheartedly, people he considered were great friends.

I truly hope that justice will be served eventually and that my buddy and his family will get their hard earned retirement nest-egg fund back.

People talk about karma and I’d like to believe in it but sometimes I wonder..

I’ll keep you updated.

Check out my original post “Pillars of Society to be exposed” for more background.

Greg Canty 

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

What do you do with Mr and Mrs Toxic?

March 25, 2016

Mr and Mrs Toxic

I am working on a really interesting project at the moment and because it is quite complex there is a diverse team made up of very talented individuals from different organisations working on it.

We had a full day session, which included a meeting with the client group and instead of being the enjoyable experience I was expecting it was a horrible, draining one.

There is one characters (who happens to be really talented and super valuable) on the team who is just plain rude, arrogant, dismissive and being honest a little nasty. This has led to a testy atmosphere with team members trying to give their opinion but being dismissed in a rude manner.

Everyone witnesses the ‘put down’ and are waiting to see how the person who has just been insulted reacts …. he feels bad, he feels small and he feels weak if he keeps his mouth shut or does he decide to react and let the whole thing bubble over? To be fair to him he decided to bite his lip and eventually other people jumped in and supported him. I’m not sure if my lip would be that resilient.

At the end of the day I was totally wiped out and demotivated and a potentially great project had now disintegrated into something that was hardship. I can’t wait for it to be over is now my main thought but there is still a lot of work to be done with this crew.

I have made an effort at addressing this with this group of people who I don’t know that well .. I did it by email the following day (lets’ see if it makes any difference?)

Team spirit – At times yesterday a horrible, testy atmosphere crept into our team meeting – this makes the work very draining and we have to mind ourselves. The team leader has assembled a talented bunch together for this task – lets get the best from this collective talent and synergise. This is a team folks …lets support each other and make this job a enjoyable one.

Life is way too short!!

What do you do with Mr or Mrs Toxic?

Greg Canty 

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

Defamation and your reputation

August 8, 2015

Defamation

This week we had to deal with a potential defamation scenario for a client because of some of their online activity.

In this case they had received a solicitors letter accusing them of defamation because of something that they had posted in a personal blog post. This whole area is very interesting because it deals with the most valuable of assets,”your reputation” and it also had the element of online, which makes it even more intriguing.

Your Reputation

Your good reputation is one of the most precious assets that you have and it is in your interest to protect it at all costs. A good reputation is built up over time and it comes about from how you conduct all aspects of your business including the delivery of your products and services, how you treat your customers, your suppliers and your team and how you interact with the general public.

A good reputation will win you business, it will attract customers who will want to do business with you and it will give suppliers, banks, investors and landlords that necessary trust so they are happy to deal with you. If something does go wrong, as things often do then a good reputation will protect you because people will know that you are to be trusted and that whatever has happened you will sort it out.

A lot of the work we do with clients can be described as reputation management. We work hard to ensure that all the great things that our clients do are publicised and if potentially damaging incidents occur then we make sure that these situations are carefully managed so that any damage is limited.

A reputation often takes many years to build, but this can be destroyed easily in just moments by circumstances.

Defamation

Because your reputation is such a precious asset it is only right that their is legal protection available to you, should anyone ever defame you.

We have found that defamation can be quite a misunderstood term as many feel that it applies whenever someone ‘says something bad about you‘  which is certainly not the case.

A few elements must normally be in place for something to be deemed as ‘defamation’:

Precise information – You must know exactly what has been said or publicised about you and be able to demonstrate this.

Clearly identified – The parties claiming to be defamed must be clearly identified in the offending publication.

False statements – It can only be deemed as defamation if what has been said is largely untrue. You might not like what is being said about you but if it is true this is not defamation!

Publication – It is only deemed as defamation if the publication of the remarks was relatively wide. Being overheard by a few people would not be enough.

Defamation

Online dimension

The online environment makes this whole area even more complicated.

Does a post on a blog or on someone’s social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn carry as much weight as an article in a newspaper, some other publication or a comment on radio or TV? If I have 6,000 followers on twitter and someone else has 100 is a false statement by me a bigger misdemeanour?

It’s all a question of distribution and how many people may have seen or heard the false statements and then someone has the tricky job of assessing how much potential damage has been done by the false statement.

Another tricky dimension with the online environment is that if others make defamatory comments about someone on your ‘platform’ (blog/discussion board) then you could be liable as you did not remove the offending posts.

Defamation is a notoriously difficult area of law so even when all the elements are in place anyone considering a case in this area must have deep pockets and lots of time on their hands before considering legal action. (Check out some of the cases that have been tried in Ireland).

Our client

With the scenario that we had to deal with this week none of the critical elements were in place so our client had nothing to worry about and certainly nothing that would damage their own reputation – in fact it was quite the opposite.

In this case one of the people involved had written a blog post about the personal impact of an incident whereby they had been seriously wronged. They never once mentioned who the offending party were in their post and they were 100% truthful in what they had said.

Ironically the offending party ‘recognised’ themselves in the post and cried ‘foul’ and immediately ran to their solicitors who were happy to claim defamation, which it clearly was not. In this case the solicitor should have known better than to make such an incorrect and unprofessional accusation – is this a defamatory comment?

I’m always amused to see how it’s nearly always the ‘offenders’ who get most vigorous about protecting their rights!

Your good reputation is hard earned and it is a precious asset of huge value to your business. The best advice is to manage your reputation carefully so no one ever has a reason to say something bad about you.

If someone is making false, damaging accusations about you then you do have a legal mechanism but make sure that all the right elements are in place before going down this potentially costly and distracting road.

Your good reputation is everything.

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Reputation Management and Crisis PR services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Do you need a fighter?

June 11, 2015

Dr Martin Luther KIng

I was part of an interview panel recently for a client and during the course of my pre-interview preparation I did my usual checks online with the various candidates.

This normally reveals a lot – you can see how strong their presence is online, you can see how good their communications skills are and you can see the things they care about.

Often what you discover from their social media activity can confirm what they have described on their CV’s, it can further illuminate who they are or it can even bring everything into question – is this a different person?

I love the LinkedIn profiles in particular and the great ones have genuine recommendations written for them supporting the work they did in particular roles, which makes it really easy to assess them.

You can also see other evidence of their lives, their blog posts, the websites they are listed on and even some media coverage they have been mentioned in…all very interesting.

Unfair dismissal

In one individual’s case I quickly found a newspaper article whereby they had taken and settled a constructive dismissal case against a former employer!

According to the article the case was settled on the steps (of course!) and both sides were quoted as saying “they were happy with the outcome” – no doubt a cheque was written and this person backed down.

The unfortunate thing about the article is that this person was the only person named (the organisation was named but not the individuals involved) and as a result they have this against their name for people like me to find on a simple Google search.

Their CV obviously didn’t mention this incident – how could you even go about presenting this information to a prospective employer in a positive way? The CV told a different, quite positive story.

My immediate reaction was alarm bells – is this person trouble and are things not so rosey in their garden?

And then I reflected – maybe this person was bullied, maybe they were one of many in the organisation who were mistreated and instead of quietly moving on just maybe they were the ones who were strong and brave enough to stand up for themselves and make sure that this behaviour stopped?

Maybe they did this to ensure the practice of bullying stopped within the organisation?

Instead of being a huge negative maybe this incident gave a huge hint that this person was a strong person with high principles who was prepared to stand up and fight for what is right, even if it had the potential to make them look bad. In this case you could definitely argue that it did.

Isn’t it possible that a person like this is a rare gem and not the ‘troublemaker‘ we first thought?

The unfortunate truth is that in most cases this person won’t even get as far as an interview because we do jump to conclusions quickly so what can that person do?

Taking control

They most take control of their ‘story’ online – make sure LinkedIn, Twitter and even Facebook tell a really positive story. Get those recommendations from previous employers and other people in business who will enforce the good stories.

The other big thing that person can do is to start self publishing online – start blogging, start guest blogging, push that expertise and passion out there and quickly that Google space will be filled with their own material and those old articles will gradually get pushed down the ranking and will not be found.

If they get to interview and the ‘topic’ comes up they should be prepared to tell the real story.

In this case the person had withdrawn from the process even though we were quite happy to interview them.

If they are a fighter they also have to fight for their own online presence and reputation!

A fighter could be the very person you need ..

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion offer Social Media Consultancy and Training in Ireland from our offices in Dublin and Cork

 

 

 

Fire the secretary

November 9, 2014

The FiringI used hate dealing with my boss. From the very first minute I worked there we never gelled and I couldn’t stand it.

Every time I drove into the car park and I saw his car there I would get a pain in my stomach.

I was the financial controller of this sizeable operation and while it was a great role for my career CV it was tough going at times.

The culture was very strange as the MD used have moles everywhere running to him with selective tales about what was going on. I’m not sure if he realised it at the time but many of the cute ones used this opportunity to manipulate things for their benefit – it created a really awful atmosphere for everyone.

His secretary was the worst of all as she ran to him with everything, even things that she overheard incorrectly. Before you knew it people were being hauled into his office to answer for things that had never happened. As a result this young girl who was totally manipulated was despised in the place.

I was summoned to his office ..what’s up now??

I’m no longer happy with my secretary and I want you to get rid of her. My wife will come in and replace her for a while” I was told.

I questioned what she had done that was so wrong as I felt this was a basic piece of information that was needed before we could do anything.

Just get rid of her” I was told.

The culture at the time was very ‘macho’ – if you were a real manager and had “balls” you should be able to do things like that in your stride.

I was in the horrors. How could I do such a thing without any justification? I just couldn’t.

I never fired her and thankfully some other opportunity popped up in the organisation that she was interested in soon after that – phew!

Thankfully those ‘macho’ management bullying days are a thing of the past ….aren’t they?

Greg Canty 

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

 

 

Reputation starts from the inside

August 18, 2014

You're Fired

I really was upset for my good friend after listening to the story of his exit from a place where he had worked for 15 years.

To say he worked there was an understatement – he was synonymous with the place. He was well regarded within the industry and anytime you heard the name of the Irish branch of this international blue chip professional services organisation you would automatically think of him.

He had a senior role there and had for many years. Work, work, work was his life regularly punching in late nights winning and working on some of the best accounts, one’s we would all dream about having on our client list.

The company he worked for have a really good reputation and are well known as being one of the best in the country and internationally within their sector.

We suspected that there was a change within the international organisation and our small but profitable Irish branch was attracting more scrutiny than usual” he explained

On a nothing Monday in April this year he was asked to meet with some guy he didn’t know from the UK at 4pm. “I have a client meeting at that time, can we do another time?” “No, get the client to meet you another time” he was told.

4pm arrived and this person from the UK he barely knew quickly gave him the corporate blurb about realignment of the organisation, changing trends and by the way.. “we are making your role redundant“.

The language was very careful: He wasn’t being made redundant but his role was and together they would enter a six week consultation process to see how best to accommodate his undoubted talents in the organisation. A senior role in a far flung destination was quickly mentioned.

Shell shocked after this out of the blue news my friend returned to his desk to punch in a few more hours work before heading home. To his shock and dismay his email had been disconnected along with his company phone!

4pm was ‘action stations‘ and the organisation was ruthless in ensuring there was zero risk to them just in case my buddy reacted badly to the news.

Confused and heartbroken he called some of his senior colleagues and good friends within the business to discuss what happened – the worst part of this story is that not one of them returned a call, a text message or an email. They had obviously been briefed.

Of course he took legal advice on-board and was told he had an incredible case against the organisation but it would be drawn out, upsetting and there was a small risk that if it went wrong in any way it could be costly. He also considered his own reputation and felt that if he sued his employer it could be the ‘kiss of death‘ regards trying to find another job in the sector.

A ‘chancer‘ wouldn’t have thought twice about a legal case.

Instead he decided the best course of action was to finish up immediately, avoid the 6 weeks of nonsense and he instructed his solicitor to make contact with the firm and negotiate a settlement.

To me the worst negotiation of all time took place and my friend managed to get statutory redundancy and six months pay on the condition that he couldn’t work in the industry for this period.

Ironically it was his clients that tracked him down and offered him best wishes for the future and hoped to work with him again. Even worse the business had to explain to new clients who had been pitched to by my friend that the person they thought would be doing the work was no longer there.

Sadly, there was no leaving party for my buddy, not even a quiet dinner with some of his close colleagues and friends.

I questioned him about this ..how was this possible?

That’s just the way it is in big organisations and I guess we have to accept it. All of my close colleagues would have been nervous of their own positions by interacting with me. It’s just business”

I had a peep at the companies website and I saw words such as ‘pioneering spirit’, ‘commitment’, ‘our people’, ‘thought leadership‘ and the best of all was in one of the service offerings  ‘we help to foster strong relationships between management and employees‘.

There is always cause and effect ..

..his colleagues have learnt a new lesson about where they work, his clients have also witnessed something quite brutal with someone they knew and trusted and suddenly it is quite a different place. Who is next for the royal treatment? Somehow there is a sting in the tail coming down the track when Mr Karma works his magic.

Logically, rationally, humanely you can’t treat good, loyal, trustworthy people like that just because you have a change of heart about how you want to operate your business ..then again, maybe you can?

For all of us we need to decide how we want to behave and how we want to operate our businesses, how we treat people, most importantly our own teams, our clients and suppliers. Maybe it is more than just business?

Reputation starts from the inside ..

Greg Canty

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

Bullys and the funny thing about being different

May 4, 2014

Dare to be different

This week I was at a really great event organised by the Diana Award, which is the only charity bearing the name of the former Princess of Wales inspired by her belief that young people have the power to change toe world for the better.

The event was held at the European Headquarters of Facebook in Dublin and it was part of the Diana Award schools Anti bullying programme. In their very effective programme they organise activities in schools to help eradicate bullying and as part of that they quite cleverly appoint and train anti-bullying ambassadors in the school.

The ambassadors are chosen from the students themselves and judging from the results we witnessed in the videos the programmes have been very effective. We were invited to the event because of our Safebook poster, which has been used by many of the participating schools as part of their anti cyber-bullying work.

There was one huge common thread to the speeches and stories that I heard on the day.

Tessy Ojo the CEO of Diana Award spoke about being bullied as a child because she was so tall.

Brian McFadden of Westlife fame spoke about being bullied because he liked stage and dance when all his schoolmates were playing football.

Young actor Will Poulter spoke about being bullied because he was into acting.

We heard some of the young children speak in the videos about being bullied because they had red hair, because they had freckles, because they were chubby or because they were black.

The one thing that pretty much everyone being bullied had in common was that they were different in some way – being different in any way can get you bullied!

I was chatting about this event with my son, Brendan and he sent me on a link to a video produced by a really popular guy online, 19 year old Cian Twomey about how he has been cyberbullied. Cian is really popular, producing funny clever videos and on Facebook alone he has built up a following of over 180,000 since late last year.

In his video he explains how along with huge numbers of followers he seems to be gathering ‘haters‘ as he gains in popularity, which really hurts him in particular when they get really nasty. One person was so horrible they even referred to Cian’s father who had recently passed away. Is this another case of someone being bullied because they are different?

Being different

Ironically in our work at Fuzion with clients the first thing we do with clients is find out how they are different!

Being different is what makes you stand out, it’s what makes you interesting – whether its a product, a service or the individuals involved we aways look for how these are different and this is where the magic is, that sets you and your business apart from from the competitors. This difference will get you media coverage and attention from customers and will contribute to your success.

The most successful musicians, artists, models, designers, products and services are the ones that are different.

So …if you are being bullied because you are a little bit different just realise that this is what makes you really special and in time you will be the one getting the right attention.

Vive la Différence (long live difference) as the French would say ! 

Greg Canty

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