by Padraic Gilligan, Vice President, Industry Relations, MCI
A wild gene in the corporate DNA
On Friday last week the entire MCI Dublin office decamped to the rather dishy Gibson Hotel and spent most of the day dreaming. Dreaming is often the illicit, unapproved by-product of the endless meetings that comprise an average day in the corporate universe but this dreaming had full corporate backing. Inspired by Matthew Kelly’s interesting book, The Dream Manager, Sebastien Tondeur, Global CEO at MCI, declared that 1 July would be celebrated as Dream Day across all of MCI’s 48 global offices. This thirty something, guitar playing Richard Branson type CEO definitely has a wild hippy gene somewhere in his corporate DNA and this was another example of this whacky weirdness. So what was it like?
Dream Day at MCI
I missed last year’s inaugural event so was categorised amongst the “new dreamers” this year. We received pre-event instructions to come to Dream Day armed with family pictures and a few glossy magazines. I found myself with several colleagues sitting around a block table laden with glue, markers, crayons, scissors and more magazines than the average Dentists’ waiting room. It was like being an over-sized child at an episode of Blue Peter or Anything Goes from the 70s or 80s. Sarah, our Gen Y colleague and the Dream Manager, chirpily explained how we would create our “Dream Book” using text and images having first made a list of our dreams based on the “wheel of life” – that is, listing dreams under such categories as “career and business”, family and relationships”, financial wealth”, intellect and learning” etc.
I was slow to start. 53 years on this planet can leave you a little dubious about dreams, and, in particular, about sharing your hopes and dreams with work colleagues but, in deference to the enormous effort made by my colleagues, I suspended disbelief and threw myself into the activity. Naturally it ended up being an entirely satisfying experience.
Kelly’s premise in The Dream Manager is not entirely altruistic or philanthropic. He reckons it benefits the corporate body politic if businesses involve themselves proactively in the dreams and aspirations of their employees. In endorsing The Dream Manager Robert McDonald, COO at Proctor & Gamble states “The Dream Manager emphasizes that a key and critical role of leadership is the ability to recognise the dreams of those we lead and inspire them to achieve these visions …” Our colleague Sarah showed a short video where some of our global colleagues related how their dreams were progressing. One colleague from Brussels whose dream it was to improve her English enthusiastically referred to her experience last year in our office in Dublin where she worked for 3 months as part of the realisation of her dream. Clearly we are all part of each others’ dreams and play vital roles in helping each other achieve them.
The Gibson Hotel
Our Dreaming took place in a very appropriate location – the inspirational Gibson Hotel located in Dublin’s docklands, adjacent to the O2. The Gibson is named for the iconic rock guitar but is pitched and styled as a whimsically contemporary hotel, confident and sure of its look and touch and targeting a hip but discerning audience. Designed by Dublin based architects, Scott Tallon Walker, natural day light is a huge feature of the property around the public areas, the conference and banqueting suites and the guest rooms themselves. Set around 2 internal courtyards the guest rooms are sleek and restful, combining great technology (including free 100 MB broadband), inspiring art and generous, airy space. Meeting space ranges from the Stratocaster Suite which can seat 200 on rounds to the Rickenbacker which can take 16 boardroom style. Meetings rooms can be set conventionally or Google-style with beanbags. Finally the public spaces are particularly pleasing, most interconnecting with hidden outdoor spaces that feature water and giant sized bamboos. You’re in the heart of the city but your heart can be in a Amazonian rainforest, if that’s what you want. The Gibson Hotel is one element in an ambitious urban project which, when finished, will be know as the Point Village. From the public spaces of the property you’re afforded a bird’s eye view of the “new” Dublin including the magnificent Aviva Stadium on the south side of the River Liffey.
The team at the Gibson is led by another corporate maverick, the inimitable Adrian McLaughlin. From his Twitter profile (@adrianmcl) I see he shares some interests with me – ” … Dad, food, surf, wine, golf, travel”. He’s been at the Gibson almost a year and any of the team that we spoke with on Friday had only positive things to say about him and his empowering, enabling leadership style. I’m pretty sure there’s a wild marketing gene in Adrian because he has just come up with a new hospitality suite concept: The Speedo Lounge. Complete with appropriately clad manikins and suitably homoerotic artwork the Speedo Lounge will be unleashed on an unsuspecting Dublin public on Tuesday next. Adrian and Keith Boyle (@KBoyle12) have even changed their twitter avatars to match the new initiative. So if you’re looking for somewhere unusual for your barbecue give John Nicholson or Stephanie Hughes a call. You’re destined to get a full house if only for the curiosity of seeing what The Speedo Lounge looks like.
To Sarah Kavanagh and Michelle Spain at MCI Dublin for the Dream Day – you did an amazing job!
To Adrian, Gillian, Laura, John, Stephanie for looking after us so well at The Gibson
Padraic Gilligan works for MCI Dublin