Archive for the ‘Personal development’ Category

Are the government entering dangerous territory with home working proposals?

January 26, 2022

My first reaction when I read the headline was have they totally and utterly lost their marbles?

“Employers to have at least 13 grounds to refuse remote working requests”

Before I say any more can I state clearly that I am all for home working and have every intention of continuing to do this for both myself and the fantastic team that we have at Fuzion Communications……BUT it is very early days and way way way too early to start introducing anything as we are all still reeling from 22 months of uncertainty and confusion.

The government should not be weighing in on this conversation now, creating rules and guidelines at this very unusual time where everything is still in a flux and at a time when many businesses could be thinking about restoring some long overdue social contact, reigniting comradery and cohesion without battling with an extra psychological obstacle caused by this intervention.

Yes we have all had to work from home in anything from our comfortable homes with oodles of space and spare rooms we were never using to our bedsits where our bedrooms and kitchens are now offices, and we have got used to it and of course it is very convenient (for some) as well as being time and cost effective.

However, we still don’t know the long term affect of this on us both personally (we are social creatures) and professionally as it is way too early in this change experiment. Covid has done huge incremental damage to everyone and we need to start healing and being human again and professionally meeting each other is a necessary part of that.

Am we missing a simple point – If I offer you a job to do work in this proper place of work because that is how I want this work to be conducted (for whatever reason) and you accept then these not the conditions of employment?

If the “working from the office” scenario no longer suits the employee in this fluid marketplace where there is huge demand for talent then they will move on and take a role where an employer is happy with that flexibility. If an employer loses great talent and cannot attract new talent then they are the big loser and the open market will quickly correct itself with those offering the appropriate flexibility winning out.

We don’t need government intervention on this – do we?

Imposing a new rule book about entitlement to home working (what they are constructing is exactly this cloaked in other language) on employers will be hugely problematic and is a very unfair imposition and this will only lead to unnecessary stresses and tensions in workplaces throughout the country as we all grappling with these conversations already.

Team spirit, a learning environment, collaborating with colleagues, personal development, positive atmosphere, having fun, confidentiality and even in some cases pure supervision are just some reasons why an employer might want to insist on office working, but then again maybe we don’t need to give one and shouldn’t have to?

This is the job, this is where the work is to be done, would you like to accept it? Isn’t that how it works and isn’t that the contract we both signed up to?

If that doesn’t suit, employees will vote with their feet and find a different employer.

In a good positive working environment there will be flexibility about this and other issues – this makes total sense BUT we are still figuring out and as I said already, trying to land on guidelines and rules now when we are still in flux is premature at best.

In a hybrid culture you will 100% lose out as an employer with this approach but surely you are entitled to determine the conditions of work without having to worry about workplace circumstances that are totally out of your control?

The idea that you may have to appear in the labour court to justify to a judge why you are insisting that a certain employee works from the office is just crazy and 1,000 steps too far.

Government ….home working is great and will sort itself out all in good time.

Please…leave us breathe

Greg Canty 

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

It’s all over…but it will be stressful!

January 23, 2022

So that’s it?

This weekend we read the headlines in the newspapers after the speech on Friday night by An Taoiseach, Micheál Martin more or less declaring that “the Covid pandemic is over” and that pretty much all restrictions will be lifted except for the mask wearing indoors and on public transport.

Even though case numbers are still high in the country the ultra conservative and very cautious NPHET (that caution probably saved many lives) have recommended this course of action so they must believe that the current version of what is infecting people is relatively harmless and we are all quite protected against it through either the vaccination programme or actually contracting the virus – we have herd immunity!

While this is a huge relief you would wonder how easy will it be for society to walk back all of our learned cautious behaviour from nearly two years of strangeness and how much of what life was like before will return?

I had a pint in a local as I waited for my takeaway last night (didn’t home eating escalate to enormous proportions in the last two years?) and it was interesting watching the different people and the behaviours – the general atmosphere was upbeat but there was definitely a divide between the cautious and the not so cautious. One of the bar staff was wearing no mask and another was wearing one and the same applied to customers as they came into the pub.

I asked the barman what the new rules were about mask wearing and he was quite sure that this was up to each individual to decide – that’s not my understanding of what I heard but there you go! This decompressing and roll back time will cause it’s own confusion and stress.

How will we respond to these changed circumstances?

Where will all the mask/anti mask and the vax/anti vax anger move to?

Will a cohort of society continue to wear masks even when this is done?

Will we forever stand back from those we meet with caution or will we go back to shaking hands and dare I say it…. can we hug again?!!

What happens when I’m asked to come back to working from the office because I have no intention of commuting two hours a day ever again!

How much damage has all of the “un”socialising and home working really done to us as individuals and to our collective psyche?

It will be stressful, there will be unforeseen and unexpected problems and at times it will feel upsetting as we do now have to unlearn and return to being normal people again making our way in the world.

To make the most of this very positive time we do need is to appreciate that this is another change and with change comes stress and as much as we can, let’s be tolerant of each other as we all have different lived experiences and changes will be processed at different speeds.

While I write this I am thinking back to the regrettable shouting match that I had with a woman on a bus at the beginning of the pandemic who was insulted that my friends were uncomfortable when she sat right behind them and then accused me of not wearing my mask properly!

I have no idea who she was but we both let ourselves down badly and yes it was really upsetting.

Let’s be tolerant and empathetic as this is a good time for all of and let’s work hard to make sure it is great.

Greg Canty 

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

I had a great 2022 because…

January 1, 2022

I’ve been doing this post for quite a while now about planning for the year ahead and using a clever visualisation trick to help me along the way as subscribers of my blog will attest to.

I’m writing this post on the 1st January 2022 sitting in my office (the space that pre-Covid was known as a small bedroom!) and Bert (one of my four legged buddies) is after joining me and lying on the little bed that I have in here for him. He’s probably wondering are we back to that relentless routine that we were on last year and most of the one before that?

As an aside ….a hungover Dee has just made an appearance and has reminded me about the fantastic New Year’s Eve we had last night with our great friends Tommy and Joan and Ellen my daughter and her fiancé Mark. As usual we played music all night long, we ate some great food, drank wine (and other alcoholic temptations), called family members, sent messages to friends and….we were introduced to the most wonderful, feel good, fun fun fun Italian Christmas song called Dominick the Donkey from the sixties!!

I am extremely grateful for the life we have.

Ellen works as a Special Needs Assistant at St.Paul’s Special Needs School in Cork and she tells me the kids love this song – it’s not hard to see why!!

This must be listened to standing up and you must sing along and clap your hands!

While last year was a good one for me despite the unusual circumstances, I was really glad of the end of year break when it came and as sure as eggs are eggs it has flown by and I find myself at the beginning of another year and thinking about firing up the engines again.

Of course I want to change it up a little (or a lot) and of course I want it to be a good one but at the core of all of that is me, that little old (er) me that needs to stare at a mirror and realise that I am the same one that inhabits this body and essentially I probably won’t change a whole pile. Having said all of that, let’s reflect and learn from the past and lets take that and march forward and try to take some control and create that better future.

The other thing I am mindful of as I approach this exercise is that in order for it to work properly I need to really understand me, my limitations and my habits and in that context I must create a little structure or framework (another shite word, but you know what I mean) to increase the chances of success.

So..

I had a great year because..

For the last few years I have been doing this simple little exercise at the start of the year to help me get focused around things that are important both personally and professionally.

I have found it to be really useful and it has made a big difference, and as I look back at last year (even despite Covid) I can see the things that I have achieved as a result of this focus. In Fuzion we also ask all of the team to do this – it is really important to us that everyone in the team achieves their own personal and career goals.

Making plans and actually achieving them is always challenging and at the start of the year we find ourselves at the beginning of that loop all over again making promises that often will never materialise!

Benjamin Zander - The Art of Possibility

A few years ago I was inspired by a book about goal setting in a different way called “The Art of Possibility” by Benjamin and Rosamund Zander (a really interesting motivational book by the conductor of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra and his wife who is an executive coach).

Benjamin Zander, the conductor has the task every year of bringing out the very best from a large group of very talented musicians for his orchestra.

His approach is rooted in the power of visualisation – the simple idea behind this is that if you visualise what you want to achieve then there is a much better chance of it actually happening (disbelievers ….stop reading now !!)

Taking this approach, you can apply it by doing some simple visualisation about the year ahead and tapping into all of Your Possibilities.

Take a quiet few moments so you can concentrate with a blank sheet of paper and a pen and do some visualisation – Take a few deep breaths and relax and close your eyes.

Now imagine the last working day of this year, just before you head out the door to do some last minute shopping and enjoy a well-earned rest. You are feeling really satisfied as you reflect on your fantastic achievements during the year. Some of these were personal things and some of these were professional things – you are feeling great because you have achieved them.

Now open your eyes and start writing:

I had a great year because ….

Now off you go – list the things that will make this year a great one for you.

Take your time and be as specific as you can including all of those business and personal goals that will give you that huge sense of satisfaction on that last working day of the year.

This is the starting point – when you are ready you need to study this list and start figuring out how you can go about making this list come to life.

Put your piece of paper in a safe place so that you can refer to it throughout the year to make sure your list of possibilities stays on track.

The Framework!

Let’s try a few things to make sure this is a list that goes beyond today!

Accessible – As an enhancement to that exercise how about re-writing that list on a notepad on your smartphone (or any other device that you use on a regular basis).

Reminder – To make sure you revisit your list on a regular basis maybe set a reminder on your calendar to check back on it. Does monthly work for you or do you need to check it more frequently?

You decide knowing how you are so choose a time of a particular day of the week or time of month that is most likely to work for you (some day on the last week of the month isn’t the worst idea of all)

Action! – No doubt there will be a mix of actions that will be required to bring the list you have visualised to life. How about when you check that list (at those scheduled times) you decide on some realistic tasks that you can do (big or small) to start moving things along.

Month by month/ Season by season – On your list there will be items that can only happen at certain times of the year. It is no harm marking those with the relevant time periods or even changing the order of your list to reflect that.

Next week/next month – When you do your regular check on your list highlight the things that you can start doing next week or next month (or today!) and again be realistic, you won’t be able to do everything together.

Update that list – Why not change things during the year as circumstances change but make sure that this isn’t an easy way to abandon your initial great intentions.

The Ultimate Review – at the end of the year check that list…how did you do?

One of the things on my list was to get back to writing on a regular basis again – this is a good start!

Enjoy realising all of your possibilities..

Have a Win Happy New Year !!

This clip of Benjamin Zander is really motivational and well worth watching.

Greg Canty 

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

Time to talk to the unvaccinated?

November 23, 2021

We are reading about the need for taking more care, not going back to the workplace, socialising less and the need for possible regular antigen tests to keep us safe. Fancy a stick up your nose three times a week?

We are reading about Covid sweeping through our schools with students and teachers alike falling with the disease.

We are reading about how the hospitals are under severe pressure with over half of the serious Covid cases being unvaccinated people who have fallen seriously ill and the other half being vaccinated people with underlying conditions. (92% of the adult population are vaccinated – the numbers are clear).

We know 100% that the hospitals are rammed with Covid patients and as a result normal procedures are being postponed and god love anyone who goes there with an emergency case.

We are also reading that the unvaccinated are a big part of the problem, allowing the disease to spread more and possibly mutate.

A restaurant or venue owner is obliged to ask customers for their Vaccine passport and proof of ID but they are not permitted to ask their own team members if they are vaccinated ..”invasion of privacy“.

Do we not have a duty of care towards our employees?

We are reading about huge protests in Rotterdam and Vienna as people are freaking out about the necessary restrictions that have been introduced – angry with the wrong people?

If more severe restrictions are introduced here, no doubt people and businesses will be freaking out and all of this will be aimed at NPHET and the government, who will only be doing this to keep people safe and our hospitals functioning.

Maybe it is time to stop pussyfooting around, enough of the “PC” stuff and if we want to get out of this Covid mess and keep our loved ones safe and our businesses open it is time to focus our messaging on those who have so far been unwilling to vaccinate.

Maybe not quite “boot in” but it is time to apply some real peer pressure because it is needed.

Instead of the various lobby groups pressurising the government, maybe it is time to start focusing on those members of the general public who are not playing ball and putting everyone at risk and our lives on hold and livelihoods at risk.

Instead of being angry at the government, maybe it is time for us to start talking to family, friends and colleagues and encourage them to keep us safe. (instead we are all dancing around them gently- it’s their right)

If the unvaccinated are the biggest part of the problem, let’s tackle this head on and stop trying to solve it by tinkering with other measures that won’t deliver a solution.

We’ve all seen the advert about wearing a seatbelt..

Greg

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

What am I doing on the Mantlepiece ?

November 7, 2021

What I am I doing there?

I used to look at those pictures of loved ones who had passed; Grandads, Grandmas, all sorts of old folk and some younger folk who went before their time, and we used look at them on that mantlepiece, and when we had a moment we would pause and think about them as we went about whatever business we were doing at the time.

They are always there, a gentle reminder that they were once alive and very real and I do remember when they were with us, laughing, joking, telling stories, full of life and as real as you and me, but not any more.

I remember when they passed and it was very painful and there were many tears and a sense of deep loss and emptiness, but with the passage of time we started to cope and a new life without them became the norm, but of course that photo on the mantlepiece is always there to remind us.

I touch that photo and say “hello” and say “I love you” and “I miss you” and then I walk away and get on with my day or whatever I was doing before I stopped and paused.

I look at that photo on that mantelpiece and see that it is me in the photo and I am confused.

Am I the young man full of life, going about my business and looking at the photo of people on the mantlepiece who have passed or has my time gone and is that me in the photo?

We get one chance at this thing called life and we can’t go back – make the most of it.

p.s I miss you dad.

Greg

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

Snobs about jobs ..

September 30, 2021

I’m reading an ironic headline this morning in the Irish Times, which comes a few weeks of hearing the same stories coming from the UK:

“Lorry driver shortage ‘an imminent national emergency’ in Ireland

Yep…it’s another one of those jobs that we look down our noses at when we talk about careers as we push our young population towards “good” jobs in STEM and in the professions.

My daughter is studying to be a….

You must be so proud ….

We’ve all heard it!

And now we realise that we don’t have builders to build the houses we need, we don’t have painters, carpenters, electricians, we don’t have chefs to cook the food we enjoy in our restaurants and hotels, we don’t have bar staff to serve us drinks and now we clearly don’t have lorry drivers to move all sorts from A to B and in the same breath some break into a cold sweat about the amount of immigrants entering the country and people stuck in direct provision limbo.

If Covid has and continues to teach us anything, it is that many of those jobs that we don’t really value and the ones that we most rely on.

Let’s lose the job snobbery and encourage people to chose careers that suit them and show them the respect they deserve – we need you..

Greg Canty 

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

The slow and long road back to the office ..

July 13, 2021

Oh…you want me to deliver the session in person, in Dublin?

This was a simple enquiry to facilitate a social media strategy session to a group from an organisation and then provide some specific bespoke training on one of the social media platforms.

We were having the usual conversation except the only sticking point was that they wanted a full day session with their group and I was trying to discourage this.

I find that if you stay at training too long then people get tired and what they learn in the morning they end up forgetting in the afternoon. It’s best if they get a chance to slowly digest, process and try it out for themselves.

I normally suggest half day sessions, when everyone stays fresh and then allowing a week in between so that everyone can practice and then come back to progress further.

It must be on the one day because we have the hotel booked” she said.

It was only then that the penny dropped and I understood why she wanted it on the same day.

This threw me as I hadn’t been faced with this in a long time and I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about it.

Ok, lets do it ..

As it turned out there was a mix up with the hotel booking on their end and the training was cancelled (after all that !!) and while I was disappointed a big part of me was delighted!

I wasn’t looking forward to the prospect and disruption of it.

Travelling and delivering training sessions in person was part and parcel of the last 10 years (pre Covid), but the truth of it is that I have been doing this from the comfort of my little home office (converted bedroom) for the last 16 months and it works really well.

It’s convenient for me and participants, I’ve tweaked my delivery for online and it works really well, it’s cost effective and it also means they get a fresh “Greg” who isn’t after driving for a few hours and all that goes with it.

The big conversation that I was having with myself was “how inconvenient and pointless” that travelling/in person/ hotel experience would be compared to the very convenient way that I have replaced it with, and with no negative impact on the learning experience.

However, I do love the face to face in person training and as a social creature I love the energy you get back from a “live” group and the special learning dynamic that can happen. This will always have it’s place but only when necessary.

I know my simple example of this in person training session will be replicated very soon with so many of those things we have all been doing in the course of our work while working from home.

People have had to take on board new work habits which are now deeply embedded and there are parts about these that are very convenient as well as being cost and life effective and they won’t want to give them up too easily.

We can all talk about hybrid but this could be a very slow and long road back to the office and we need to be really careful to preserve what is working because it is possible to get the job done and ….

Win Happy!

Greg

Greg Canty 

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

Saying “let’s do it” when most of us just wouldn’t dare!

February 18, 2021

Ciara O'Toole - Going Solo on Lake Como

I’m sure we have all been away on holidays in a special place and you pass an auctioneers window and gaze at the houses for sale and think “what if“?

While it’s a nice dream, quickly after 60 seconds you rationalise and the dream is gone.

For me that place would definitely be Siena in Italy, and while I have had this idea for a while I can think quickly for a bunch of very logical and rational reasons why it just couldn’t work …maybe when I retire (isn’t that the easy way of dodging the thought? )

If Covid has taught us anything, it is that you can get your work done from anywhere, hasn’t it? Of course, there are other reasons why I can’t and it doesn’t take me long to list them in my head.

Ciara O’Toole, our very special friend and her husband gazed at that window in Lake Como and decided “lets do it“!!

She was just married, without a word of Italian, a house in Dublin with a big mortgage and a great career as a marketer…crazy idea Ciara!

What I love about her is her adventurous spirit, that ability to “go for it” without a strong safety net and hey, let’s see what happens!

In Ciara’s case lots happened, including a few nasty bumps and wonderful experiences but it has been and continues to be a great adventure!

Did I tell you she learnt how to fly a sea plane and wrote a book about the experience?

If you get a chance at all you might read her book “Going Solo on Lake Como” and maybe tune into the episode of the Win Happy podcast with this intelligent, funny, adventurer, marketeer, entrepreneur, author and pilot who tells her incredible story that is full of many twists and turns!

Let’s celebrate those who say “Let’s do it”, and maybe think about that being you next time you look at that window. 

Check out Ciara’s website by clicking on this link

Greg Canty 

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

Pushing out to the edges..

February 7, 2021

Dave Grohl

I was reading an interview in the Irish Times weekend Magazine with the singer/songwriter and guitarist of the Foo Fighters. Dave Grohl where he was chatting about their new album, ‘Medicine at Midnight‘.

The band are a few decades into their career and Dave had also been the drummer with Nirvana, and just 25 years old when that band finished due to the death of Kirk Cobain. I wonder did he play that famous gig in Sir Henry’s in Cork – were you there?

The Foo Fighters are a huge band and they have a big following and with each new album there must be a pressure to stick to the “winning formula” and style that has earned them so many loyal fans, or do they refresh, reinvent, reinvigorate and go down new paths, that could be quite risky musically and commercially.

In the interview Dave says “You have to feel comfortable and confident enough to push out to the edges a little bit every time you do it – otherwise it’s just not fun, it’s just not exciting

My question for you is – is this just the privilege of musicians, writers and artists to think like this?

Is it just these types of people that can have that luxury of “pushing what they do out to the edges” just because life gets boring and less fun, or can that thinking apply to all of us?

This life of ours isn’t a rehearsal. and we do owe it to ourselves to “push out to the edges” – of course we have to pay the bills, but we can also refresh, reinvent, reinvigorate and explore some new paths.

The opposite is just too big a price to pay..

Greg Canty 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you friend..

January 20, 2021

Men's friendship

Maybe it was something that I specifically said in my email about a bad nights sleep or maybe there was just a hint in the some of my other content, that I was under a little bit of a cloud yesterday?

Whatever it was, like all good friends he sensed that my mood wasn’t quite what it should be.

Within minutes my phone rang and it was him.

We chatted about work, about football about Covid and about families and of course he did ask me why I was a bit off colour and not sleeping. He did get it out of me that this was getting close to Dad’s anniversary, and at this time three years ago we were watching him gradually fade away, day after day and the sad memories were weighing heavily on me.

As always, a problem shared is a problem halved and we also got the chance to talk about how he was feeling – his dad sadly passed towards the end of last year.

I am so grateful to my friend for taking time out of his busy day to reach out – it took away the cloud.

So today, and all days, pay close attention to those you love and your colleagues to what they are saying and how they are saying it, and if you can make the time, reach out.

Thank you Roger..

Greg Canty 

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