Brick and Mortar Shopping malls; our new dinosaurs.

We’re witnessing the slow death of the brick and mortar shopping mall.  They seem to be following the way of the dinosaur.   It might be time to send them to the Smithsonian.

Hello Mr. shopping mall!

Shrinking mall traffic, constant business turnover and the high number of retail failures have (finally) made their way onto the radar of the banks and other lenders….

Nordstrom shares on Monday, Oct. 2, plunged 6.3% to $44.18 following a report that the retailer’s deal to go private with Leonard Green & Partners LP is on the brink of death.

Yes, one can say this is a pending economic doom and gloom heads up!

Hello Bear; it’s been a long time!


If lenders pass on funding Nortstrom they will pass on funding anything  shopping mall related such as:

  • New construction to accommodate new hopeful retailers.
  • Other Nordstrom like “shopping mall anchors” in the same situation.
  • New Shopping Malls (ugh) under construction but out of money.
  • Established shopping malls with many vacancies in need of some relief.
  • Shopping Mall retailers behind in their rent.

The list can go on and on.  However one can also say this is the perfect opportunity to establish new uses; greener, positive, economic sustaining, futuristic and more hopeful ways to utilize these structures, without having to demolish them!   

Here’s a few thoughts to get the entrepreneur wheels spinning:

  • E-commerce booths; where you can shop for the same things as before only on-line.
  • Meditation; a place to meditate!  Calming smells, sights and sounds for a refreshing meditation!
  • Coaching; personal and professional development only.  Just you, your coach and your future!
  • Community booths highlighting businesses and business voids of the community.
  • Speaking and lecturing; specific to what’s working, what’s not working and what we can do better!

Eventually, great minds will accept this challenge.  When that happens, the suggestions above will be equal to creative talent that imagined them!  That’s when the possibilities become endless!

When dreamers dream and visionaries vision, the present steps up and meets the future.

The carousel of progress is about to move on to it’s next segment!

uh-hem … not now sport!


The future is happening now!


Charles A. Lobosco – Change Agent!


Posted in Brick and Mortar, Business Opportunity, Change agent, changing workforce, e-commerce, economy, Shopping Malls, teamwork | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Calvin Jordan, Butch Pollard, Cap Washington and Roy Riley

MY brain never shuts off.  As an adult with ADHD I’m finally learning to embrace everything that’s in there.  These from my early years are a sampling of the infinite thoughts and memories that keep spinning around and around.  I’m making it a point to start sharing some of these before it’s too late!  I know we all have memories, it’s just that mine keep spinning round and round… and all day long! 

No pictures, just pure brain dump and please forgive some of the street language.

Calvin Jordan, Butch Pollard, Cap Washington and Roy Riley…

These Four guys’ influenced me big time in a good way; during my early elementary school years, from say… I don’t know…8 – 12 years old?

The first inspired, the second tolerated, the third helped me prepare and the fourth simply cared.  Four “Sleepers” that had very limited interaction with me but remain in my head providing unlimited results.

Today is March 15th 2016 and I’m thinking about these guys!  YES; they influenced me.

For starters I must say thank you!  I’m forever grateful!

One thing I’ve learned is there is something to learn from everyone.

Let’s start with Calvin Jordan; he inspired me at an early age!  Actually I was more of a friend with his younger brother James but honestly knowing Calvin made me feel cool.  Calvin was older, my brothers age.  They played on the same Pop Warner football team; The 109 (as in Police precinct) Rebels.

I was 4 – 5 years younger but for some reason really liked Calvin.  He was authentic!  He was cool, nice, badass, honest and I always thought of him as someone I would always like to be around, even when I was only (I don’t know) 9 years old?

We were playing punch ball in the PS 214 “Summer Center” one Summer morning.  I was playing on Calvin’s team; he picked me!

I came up to bat (or punch) and the other team was slinging some nasty inner City shit; Calvin; you picked this little mother fucker?  Are you his long lost relative of another color?

Yes, they were taunting him and me.  If I was on that team, I would’ve been doing the same maybe worse.  That’s what we did. That’s what we were good at.

They moved all the way in, signaling that I was weak!  (That pissed me off)

Calvin came up to me before I stepped into the “punch box”.  He was not angry at all.  In fact he was having fun.  He got real close to me so only we could hear each other.  He said, “don’t listen to them.  I know you.  I know you can hit it over all their heads, that’s why I picked you”.

I think at that moment I fell in love with Calvin Jordan.  Calvin Jorden inspired me by telling me he believed in me!  I swear I don’t remember what happened in the game but I will always remember Calvin Jordan.

Butch Pollard:  Again like with the Jordan’s, I was kind of friendly with Butchs’ younger brother Michael.  Butch was older.  I think Older than Calvin.

Butch gave me an early lesson about tolerance.

Butch (and Michael) were the fastest runners I have ever seen.

I was at the park one afternoon (Levitt’s field) watching a Flushing HS track meet.

Butch was about to run in the 100 yard dash.  I was riveted.  One of the other runners from the other school was walking with a cane, almost limping.  He barely got into the blocks.

The gun sounds (holy shit).

How the hell can someone run this fast?

Believe it or not that cripple won the race beating Butch by a hair!  Of course we referred to this as a certain type of hair, even though I was too young at the time to really understand what that meant.

Honestly, I didn’t even notice the winner.  I guess I did but figured he was cheating, making everyone believe he was injured for the sole purpose of taking Butch off his game.

So Butch lost!  He must’ve been besides himself angry.  If they raced again, there’s no doubt Butch not only would’ve won but he would’ve then beat that runner with his cane and make his make believe injury real.

For some reason from where I was standing, I was really close to the finish line.  Too close.  I was the first to make eye contact with Butch after that race.  Butch was I guess 18.  I was 9? 10?  11?

“Wow great race Butch”

“Thanks, he was faster than I thought”

Fuck!  Butch Pollard, the fastest person ever just lost a race and the first person he speaks to is …. ME!

I felt like such a little badass!  I was somewhere around 4 foot something but at that moment I felt 10 feet tall.   Butch was headed over to his awaiting posse with extreme angst but did not show it to little old me!

I think at that moment I fell in love with Butch Pollard.  He tolerated me in that moment when he most likely wanted to fling me across the track.  I’m not even sure if we ever spoke again.  As I got a little older I became close with his younger brother Michael and damn if he was not the fastest person I’ve ever seen too!  The Pollards; the fastest runners I’ve ever seen.  Butch Pollard gave me an early lesson in tolerance.  Michael; well I loved him too but we’ll table that for now. 

OK; Cap Washington; I may have already shared this one with at least Eva.

As I became of age, I (like my brother) played Pop Warner football for the 109 Rebels.  I wasn’t as good as I would’ve liked but at least I was tough; I could take it.  This team had a weight limit of 135 pounds.  At the weigh in I weighed 88 ¼.  I was getting my ass kicked but loving it.  At 11 years old the best “fit in” strategy I had was to show I could take whatever the older, stronger, meaner players could dish out; Fuck them!  They’re not so tough!  I would get hit so hard, I would see stars and my helmet would get knocked right off my head but so what; this I football right?

One practice (again at Levitt’s field) one of the men watching was Cap Washington. Honestly I don’t remember if he was a professional player or not.  He was providing wisdom to many of the other players. After one particular play he came over to me.  He said “little man, not sure why you’re playing this game but I admire your toughness.  Let me help you from being slaughtered.  When you get down in your 3-point football stance, grab a handful of dirt.  Don’t let anyone see this but just make sure you have some dirt in your little hands.  When the ball is snapped and all hell breaks loose at the line, open your hands and let the dirt fly in the face of that mother fucker that’s trying to kill you!”

We never spoke again.  Well maybe a little after the next few plays but that’s it.  Cap Washington taught me if the deck is stacked, you must do what you must do to un stack it.

I’ve always said and still say I’m black inspired.  These three guys were some of the early ones.

Roy Riley;

Yes, like with the others Roy was older.  Roy was a tough guy.  We called them “hitters” back then.  Roy was part of a big family of which I was friends with his younger sister Janet and also his younger brother Gary.  Back then, where I lived, everyone was tough.  There were always fights.  I managed to stay out of them but one time I did have to fight Sidney Medlock.  I remember thinking if I lost, Janet would be disappointed.

Anyway, this is not about any of that.  Roy was one of those as I saw thru my 10 year old eyes as someone who didn’t have to prove himself, he didn’t have to be a bully, he just had it.  He knew he was tough and that was good enough for him.  Everyone else could simply fuck off!

I never saw Roy as a bad person.  I knew Janet and Gary were the best so I trusted Roy can’t be too far off.

There was a transient neighbor that was acting like a jerk to Janet.  Now honestly  (I believe) Janet could’ve kicked his ass.  Also we never escalated any of our issues; we handled them ourselves.

Oh listen to me, like I had any or handled any issues at 10 years old!  But the older ones did.  Janet must’ve discussed this at home during dinner.  I speculate and may not be 100% accurate but Roy somehow got wind of the situation; his sister in in an uncomfortable situation.  I might’ve even been there when Janet discussed this.  Now I’m hoping I wasn’t putting gas on the issue!!

So Roy confronted this guy.  I and everyone else on the street was there.  Roy could’ve done whatever he felt like to that guy.  I remember that guy screaming “I didn’t touch your sister”.

I remember Roy being so damn calm!  I remember Roy saying something like it doesn’t matter if you did or didn’t just make sure you don’t.

I remember wondering why there was no action!  Where’s the beat down that we would be talking about for years to come?

Roy was too mature!  Too cool and too nice of a person to ruin someone’s dignity.  Plus, there were younger people (like me) present.  Rather he said (and I paraphrase; asshole; take a breath, understand you’re not really good at anything so don’t ever think you’re better than anyone.  If you have a problem with someone in my family and can’t seem to work it out respectfully; come to me. In the meantime and most important don’t ever put your hands on my sister.

Man for me at my age, that was memorable!  Like out of a movie!  The bad guy; the badass turned out to be the good guy!  No violence, limited but strong words and no bad ending.  In fact 10 minutes later we we’re all hanging out on the “stoop”

Everybody won that day all because Roy cared!

That’s the lesson; CARE!  It makes everything better!

Maybe it’s because I was smaller than most and therefore accepted by most but…….

Fuck I miss those days.  I Learned from everyone!

If I only learned nearly as much in school!


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5 examples of toxic workplace behavior

I’m an Agile coach.  I’m good at what I do and there’s no doubt I can help any Agile team without feeding my own personal agenda or ego.  As an Agile Coach, I’ll INCREASE the speed of efficient, continuous delivery and CORE team morale. Increase_jpg

In parallel  I’ll  DECREASE overall project costs and unnecessary work.


The details behind all that is why you bring me in to your Agile environment.  I put myself on a 1 or 2 Sprint short leash and I know the only thing that matters are results.  Agile is a delivery strategy, a development strategy, a way to deliver what’s needed most … next and with less risk.  As a Developer,  People Manager, Scrum Master and Agile coach; I never believed Agile was another Project Management methodology for Project Managers to micro manage developers.

I’ve been in the Corporate/IT field since 1973.


I’ve certainly seen my share of change, especially in technology but not much in our day to day workplace behavior which at times can be toxic.   This un-changed (toxic) workplace behavior has the potential to prevent any progress, risk reduction, efficient delivery, or even any hope of improved employee morale.

Agile practice is another form of change, a shift from the traditional SDLC/Waterfall delivery and requires the willingness to be influenced before any transformation can occur.  When it comes to practicing Agile, I’m a true believer Agile is a faster, smarter and more efficient way to deliver scalable results that hold up over time … with less risk.

If I’m an Agile coach that wants to make a difference, then I must incorporate empowerment, behavior, trust and “Shared Leadership” efficiencies along with my arsenal of Agile tools, knowledge and lessons learned in my Agile Coaching.


Below are five real examples of how toxic workplace behavior prevents (or at least gets in the way of) any hope of  anything good let alone adapting or growing an Agile model.

OK; SO here we go but no Company names;

LIC (New York);

This really happened  just this month!  I mentioned it to Ripley but even he couldn’t believe it!


IT/Director; We have an urgent need for an Agile Coach.  Before we get into any Agile Coaching specifics, I need to see if you fit into our culture.  Tell me a little about your Agile coaching philosophy.

Me; well first hi and nice to meet you.  As an Agile Coach, I will increase the speed of efficient, continuous delivery AND CORE team morale.  In Parallel,  I’ll decrease overall project costs and any un-necessary work.

IT/Director; Thanks Charles, I don’t think that fits into our culture at this time.



Mason Ohio;

This was terrible; this company (a well known Vendor) posted an Agile Manifesto on the wall to impress the client but had no prior Agile experience; zero.  They were specifically looking for an Agile Scrum Master/Coach with certifications which turned out to be me.

PMO head; also a Vendor; You can call this methodology whatever you want as long as you do what I tell you.  I’m warning you to be careful with your Product Owner, he’s not one of us and I expect to know everything that transpires between you two.  Lets plan on a daily 5PM meeting between us.  I need to know who said what to whom!


Cleveland Ohio;

This one hurt the most.  This was a great team of executives taking the risk of Agile transformation across many areas.  One of these areas was where I was engaged.  The person I was working for was the lone holdout, the lone manager that wanted no part of anything Agile.  She was very insecure but also very toxic.

Development manager; just so we’re clear; you work for me.  The product owner only prioritizes what I allow her to, your developers only develop what I tell them to and you’re only here because someone else decided to bring you in.  You can either do what I say or I’ll just tell your team to do what I say.  BTW; every one of them calls me after your “Agile meetings” to tell me what transpired.


Louisville Ky;

During my first week in this toxic angry work environment, I attended a Scrum on Scrum meeting with the other Scrum Masters (really Project Managers in disguise).  For the record, I’m from the East Coast.

Scrum Master;  my team is making progress, they’re learning to listen to what I tell them!

Me; is new tested software being delivered every Sprint?

Scrum Master;   do you know the difference between a Yankee and a Damn Yankee?

Me; No

Scrum Master; a Yankee passes through the south while a damn Yankee stays.

3 months later I was physically threatened buy a thug/bully from this company during a daily stand up.  There were at least at least 10 people in the room and at least that many on the conference call.  He did not want me to acknowledge him or even think about asking him to recite those stupid stand up protocols.  I started to ask why but before I could finish he ran across the room into my face and dared me to speak.  That was my last day.


Parsippany NJ;

I was previously approved by this company to come on site as an Agile Coach.  Unfortunately I had to pass (last minute) once I learned I needed immediate surgery.  Recovered (whew) a few months later I was invited back, but this time there was one additional person to speak with who was away (on business) in the UK at the time.  He set up a call but then called me 20 minutes earlier than our scheduled time (that he set up).

Managing Director; I really don’t have a lot of time; tell me your escalating procedures.

Me; well first Hi and thanks for setting this up.  Any internal team escalations should be identified by the developers during the daily stand up.  If…

Managing Director; STOP; are you telling me you don’t have an escalating process for non performing developers?

Me; well… Yes that’s what I’m telling you.  Why would I come in to a new environment and lead with that?

Managing Director; Thanks; any other questions?





We can do better; ya think?

Agile is a Shared Leadership Model, if we trust it and practice it the way the Agile founders designed it; then well..  bring me into your organization and I’ll show you.  Meanwhile I can only say I’m here to help!

Charles A. Lobosco



Posted in agile, Agile certification training, Agile Coach, Career certifications, career training, careers matter, Change agent, changing workforce, Corporate change, Corporate culture, corporate ego, Job security, lessons learned, shared leadership, teamwork, Workplace culture, workplace improvements | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Citigroup; for the record my personal brand is culture independent!

To: Citigroup LIC

From:  Charles A. Lobosco

RE:  Culture fit;  my personal brand is Culture independent!

My name is Charles Lobosco;  there I am today at (62)Charlie_7680


I’m a Shared Leadership expert with a Presidents service award, as a result.

pin-new-cropped     Pin_blue

I’ve published a book, written a Seminar and speak professionally whenever possible on the subject of Shared Leadership.



I’m also an Agile Consultant, Coach and Trainer with multiple (actually 6) Agile Certifications.  I’m an independent authorized training partner (A.T.P.) with VMedu; an international IT/training company.  Through my partnership w/VMedu, I now provide on line real time live interactive video classroom training internationally to Certify Scrum Masters, Product Owners and Agile Developers.  My training  incorporates my Shared Leadership model.

I started in the Corporate/IT business in 1973 and I’ve been in the trenches at over 25 fortune ranked corporations.  I’ve learned a lot over the years and as a result I’m good at what I do.  I teach  (or preach) Shared Leadership in the workplace.  Shared Leadership is a faster smarter more efficient way to deliver scalable results with less risk that hold up over time while being delivered NOT at the expense of others.

Practicing Agile methodologies promotes Shared Leadership; the two models go together.

Citigroup is in need of an Agile coach.  How do I know that?  Well everyone does!  One-night walking down a dark alley during a terrible snow storm, there was someone huddled up in a doorway trying not to freeze to death.  I asked; “are you OK?”  he responded; “not sure but did you hear Citigroup is in need of an Agile coach?” – Everyone does.

Sixteen (yes 16) of my forty-three year (and counting) professional career was spent at Citigroup.  I have an attachment, I’m always looking for ways to help; I CARE.

Agile coaching is my sweet spot; so I checked in to see if I could be of service.

As an Agile coach, I expect to increase delivery efficiencies and FTE morale while in parallel decrease un-necessary work and overall cost of doing business.

After a brief fifteen-minute conversation before we even got into anything Agile or Agile coaching, I was told I was not a good “culture fit” and this was not going to work.

Not a good culture fit for this new Agile effort at Citi/LIC?  ME? Tell me anything but that!imageshuh.jpg

OK so we need to discuss  this.  This might sting a little, maybe leave a mark but this is something we must discuss; jeez!

I was a good culture fit in 1980 – 1981 when I was a Citi consultant working on implementing the new GARN bill; business and professional checking.  I sucked it up when the actual culture over at 750 8th ave. (if I remember correctly) which was toxic didn’t fit MY culture model at that time.


I was a good culture fit in 2001 – 2003 when (again) I was a Citi consultant, this time participating in multiple very painful and time consuming acquisitions.  I  (again) sucked it up when the actual culture in LIC at the time was toxic and didn’t fit MY culture model. We had a phrase we used to say all too often after working through the night; “another sunrise in LIC”.


Having lived through 911 as a Citi/consultant in LIC, I found myself somewhat attached to this company almost like family.  In 2003, Citi culture became my culture and by choice I became a Citi employee.

I guess I was a good culture fit in 2004 when I was awarded a “Citistar” award given to the top 5% (or maybe it was the top 1%; I don’t remember) producers.

I guess I was a good culture fit in 2006 when I was asked by my Citi seniors to relocate from LIC to Blue Ash Ohio.  I sucked it up when this new Blue Ash culture did not fit MY culture model.  This was a new culture; Silicone mid-west as coined by the visionary that came up with the idea of the move as a way to cut hundreds of IT/professionals and replace w/offshore resources.  This visionary turned the company upside down to the point he too fell out the bottom.  Hundreds of million dollars later, the site closed.

I guess I was a good culture fit because I received year end incentive bonuses in every one of my ten years as a Citi/FTE.  These year-end incentive bonuses rewarded to me were the highest after relocating; going from 40K upwards to over 60K.  I must’ve been a good culture fit to be rewarded like that! 


I guess I was a good culture fit when my seniors recognized me for developing my award winning Shared Leadership model, for pioneering Agile within my offshore consulting team and developing a most efficient IT/offshore resource support model.  I sucked it up when the actual culture at this new site (anything but a Shared Leadership mode) l didn’t fit MY culture model.

OK, OK I think that’s enough of that.

If you read between the lines, Citi culture is always evolving.  My culture is always adapting. This is a skill I learned at Citi; develop a personal brand that can adapt to an evolving culture! 

My personal brand is culture independent.  I can work anywhere.  Yes; even Citi.

To be told after fifteen minutes I’m not a good culture fit at Citi/LIC is an embarrassingly incompetent example of poor judgement.  I would accept; I don’t have the technical skills to keep up or my coaching isn’t strong enough or my style might be too aggressive or to too weak etc.. I would accept anything except this ridicules culture fit thing.

Honestly I know I’m not the smartest or the fastest but I know based on results that’s I’m often times the difference between efficient delivery and failure.

I recently met up with a former Citi co-worker still working at Citi.   He said; “dude I work from home most of the time and they don’t even know I exist.  I actually help my father with his business!”

Hmmmm; I’m 62 years old and he called me dude.


Anyway if that’s the culture Citi is looking for these days well, I’d have to suck it up once again since that doesn’t fit MY culture model.

So Citi; I’m here to help if you need it.  As an Agile coach, I expect to increase delivery efficiencies and FTE morale while in parallel decrease un-necessary work and overall cost of doing business.

Oh and one more thing; adapt to whatever culture it is you’re practicing these days.

Charles A. Lobosco; Shared Leadership Expert, Agile Coach and trainer



Posted in agile, Agile certification training, Agile Coach, Career certifications, career training, careers matter, Change agent, changing workforce, Citigroup, Citigroup/LIC, Corporate change, Corporate culture, corporate ego, courage, economy, IT/Offshore, Job security, leadership, lessons learned, Make believe Corporate Nonsense, partnership, people matter, Self improvement, shared leadership, small businesses, teamwork, too big to fail, Workplace culture, workplace improvements | Leave a comment

Citigroup; here’s (yet) another shared leadership opportunity…

I’ve been hearing for the last year or so that Citi is closing their Blue Ash IT/development site, born as the Citi/IT/future in late 2006.  Where did I hear this?  Many places.  First this is not a scandal.  This is something I’ve been saying after the first six months of the site creation. In fact if I said this once, I said it a thousand times; “we were left to die”.

So they’re (Citi) closing a site, in the scheme of things in “Citiland” this probably ranks as so what.  So; so what, why am I even bringing this up?

Well because when it comes to leadership, direction, people managing, peoples lives and careers and overall company trustworthiness; EVERYTHING MATTERS!

So what then am I asking of Citigroup?  To be accountable; share with your workforce lessons learned from the Blue Ash experience, ask for input from those involved, even from those on the sidelines watching, waiting and wondering why the creation of this site was even thought up? We don’t want to hear “nothing” about the closure or that it’s because of the economy or the Obama administration; we want to learn everything we can about this so that it never happens again.  Then we want a strategy put in place for the company workforce to lean on and execute when it does!

In late 2006 Citigroup announced the North America IT/site consolidation.  Citigroup/IT/FTE from various parts of the U.S. were selected or “impacted” to be relocated to this new site of the future.  At the very last minute, the site was announced; Blue Ash Ohio.  The Citi visionary behind this move said the ROI will be so big, it will have a positive impact on Citi’s P/E ratio.

Huh? imageshuhAnyway most (way most) did not relocate and therefore had to continue their career elsewhere.  Some were obviously devastated.  Now to be clear, I’m not going to discus the fact that as a result of all these people leaving the company, there was a severe hit on Citi’s internal subject matter expertise.  (Also) to be clear I’m not going to discuss that visionary who turned Citi upside to the point he too fell out the bottom, or the fact that he resurfaced with no wounds again as a visionary and again in the Southern Ohio area.  I’m not going to discuss that this new Blue Ash location never fit into any Citi/IT initiatives, even though the new site was always referred to as the go to site.  I’m not going to discuss that we had people at this new (go to) site working on projects from the sites they just left and nobody had any clue how to keep them involved. I’m not going to discuss the unprecedented offshore IT/resource explosion as a result of most (way most) not relocating and the replacements were IT/offshore resources; the exact same MO this visionary copied from his previous company and then implemented here and again where he is today.

BTW, how do I fit into all this?


I was relocated from the NY/LIC location in the first wave of site consolidation (implemented by that visionary).  There was a long standing joke at the NYC/LIC location; if someone said the wrong thing at the wrong time, the response would be “maybe we should banish you to Blue Ash”.

imagesbbbBlah, Blah, Blah…Blah, Blah blah… the topics to discuss are endless but before I discuss what this blog is intended to discuss, I want to add that for me personally, the move from NYC to Blue Ash Ohio changed my life for the better, not because of the company (Duh!) but because I needed to move, change and re-invent myself from my current self destructing behavior.

In fact during the late 2006 – 3/2013 timeframe at this new and meaningless (IT/goto) location, I did re-invent myself.  images1As a result I received OVER 200K in year end bonus incentive compensation on top of my salary (which also increased) during that Blue Ash timeline.  No, this is not sour grapes, I was treated well.  I was treated well and honestly when my job was eliminated, I agreed with the decision.  However I can’t say the same for others; like the person I worked with at the time of the wave II relocation announcement (but not at the time of her demise).  In January of the year she actually made the physical move from L.A. to Blue Ash Ohio, she was promoted (yay; good for her).  However she moved only to be job eliminated that same year!  Again I say huh?imageshuh

OK so if I don’t hold Citi accountable for “any of us” moving to this new but temporary and meaningless site (it was our own individual personal decision).  Then what exactly am I getting at?

Citi needs to be accountable for the complete breakdown of leadership, the complete lack of leadership and the complete disregard for others as a result of no leadership.  I say complete as in images100

This is terrible.  With leadership and decision making like this, what other strategies are they implementing?  What else are they deciding on our behalf?  If these guys were so wrong about this off the radar strategy and were making way more company impacting decisions with the same leadership team, it’s a wonder the company didn’t collapse!  Oh wait, it did!  It’s a wonder the stock price of the “too big to fail” company didn’t also collapse!  Oh wait that did too!.  But leadership can fix that; how about a reverse stock split?

Take internal leadership courses at Citi?  Yes?  Is any of it practiced?  No?  Does it matter?  No?

When FTE are reviewed at year end (our) performance is played back.  So now we want the senior leaders of this company to play back the Blue Ash site consolidation initiative and share WITH ALL CITI FTE the lessons learned.  Right now.  Let’s turn this into something trustworthy and positive.  Let’s own up to it, discuss everything from that Blue Ash P/E raising visionary, to the relocated FTE’s to the new IT/Offshore resources to the delivery impact (if any) the site had on the overall Citi/IT initiatives thru to today.  Then as teammates hold hands in unison to make sure it never happens again.


How much (dollar wise) has been invested?  How many hundreds of millions?  What has been the return?  What did we learn?  What did we not learn? Did the Citi/Blue Ash experience have the positive impact on Citi’s P/E ratio as predicted?  What do the leaders of today feel for the people that relocated because they believed in the leadership at the time?  What happens now; with the last ones standing (in Blue Ash)?  What was the end customer ROI as a result of the Blue Ash site consolidation?  What do the shareholders say?  Do they even know?

Were there ever any Blue Ash retrospectives; what’s working, what’s not working and what needs to change immediately? With specific tasks, task owners and deadlines for the improvement plan (same rules everyone else at the company abides by)?  If yes then share them.

Citi; if you want to build trust then be transparent accountable.

GodfatherIn LIC we used to quote “The Godfather”  all the time as if it was a real learning tool.

“Carlo; you have to answer for Sonny”

Well then…….

“Citi; you have to answer for Blue Ash”

I will gladly facilitate the Citi/Blue Ash retrospective and lessons learned discussions (if asked).

I give you (Citi) credit for waiting this long to close the site.  After all I was predicting this after the first six months of it’s existence back in mid 2007.

The Blue Ash workforce is great, the people are great; extremely competent, capable, ready and committed.  Too bad Citi leadership never even noticed; as if we were left to die.

This is charliespeaking; teammate.

imagesbetterIt’s never too late but we can do better.

Posted in Career certifications, career training, careers matter, Change agent, changing workforce, Citigroup, Corporate change, corporate ego, courage, economy, IT/Offshore, Job security, leadership, lessons learned, partnership, people matter, Self improvement, shared leadership, small businesses, teamwork, too big to fail, workplace improvements | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hey Citigroup; just give me the damn ball! (part two!)

imagesspkThis is my second post to Citigroup and I will keep shouting from the rooftops until we see real changes, positive growth, real ROI for shareholders or until the world ends; whichever comes first. Old habits die hard so unless someone steps up with NEW habits and business practice well…just look at the last five or six years. I agree with the early comments of this latest CEO; you are what you measure,  so let’s measure already!  I think it’s time we take the bull by the horns and turn this company around and I can help; just give me the damn ball.

I don’t want to run Citigroup. I want to see Citigroup run better!

My offer is executive communications coach, chief of staff, change agent and/or delivery expeditor. Call it whatever you want but I will create an immediate sense of urgency within the Citigroup executive leadership team, and I’ll be in and out in six months.  My promise is to deliver results but not at the expense of others and to always be positive and inspiring in the process.

indexcaMy name is Charlie Lobosco; I’m a corporate technology executive with over 40 years if corporate/IT experience of which about 14 of those came from….Citigroup!

DS_parntershipMy business model is Shared Leadership. I transform resources into partners one teammate at a time, regardless of your job description.

I have a plan for Citigroup that will rebuild trust, improve morale, save a ton of money and reinvest back into the existing workforce. I have the experience, lessons learned, tools and most important the motive that ensures my plan will be successful.

The Motive? Well, this is what’s been missing. This void is why these old habits die hard; the wrong common motive being cascaded down from senior leadership.

Whatever the motive has been, it needs to change. I can simplify it; the motive MUST be care or as I call it C.A.R.E.

CareC+CC.A.R.E. is my award winning acronym for Courage to take Action Relevant to Everyone. That’s my shared leadership model learned from five (now virtual) mentors that actually helped raise a nation with this common motive; care.

Now I’m not looking to raise a new nation, I’m perfectly honored to be a part of the one we have right now. However, if care can raise a nation, imagine what it can do for an organization like Citigroup!
100 days. I have the plan, the credentials and the courage to do this. I also have the way to fund it!

index100Today is Monday February 16th. As early as Tuesday February 17th, I can be sharing my 100 day plan on a projector. We can start implementing as early as tomorrow, which is exactly what I said last month in my first call to action. We could’ve been 30 days deep into the plan and 30 days closer to implementing some serious change at Citigroup and some serious ROI for the shareholders (like me).

That initial post was late January. There were some interesting comments as a result, mostly sarcastic measuring from the “choir” which only results in predictable ambivalence; a diversion the senior executives really don’t mind (but I do!). The one comment I received that I want to mention is “it’s Obama’s fault” the fines and penalties charged to Citigroup as recent as fourth quarter 2014 is nothing more than the government trying take and take and take from Citi. Is this true? Do you guy’s blame Obama for the fourth quarter 2+ billion dollars in penalties you agreed to pay?

Regardless, we’re halfway through the first quarter. In my first post I listed my top 10 things I would do starting on day one. There was a lot said in that first post so please revisit. This post is much shorter with easier to read deliverables. So let’s cut to the chase!

If I had the ball, if I had input to some of the Citigroup executive decision making, I would immediately start preparing what the FTE’s and shareholders of this company need to hear as we approach the end of the first quarter. We have a month and a half remaining in the quarter, so lets’ get busy!

keepitsimple1. We need to explain (again) what exactly a Notional is? I say we so someone needs to first explain it to me in a way I can understand. Then we can proceed and explain it to everyone else two ways; in a brief and simple voice and then also in writing to make it official.
2. If the Citigroup top of the house executives believe the 2+ billion in penalties they agreed to pay (to the government) has nothing to do with their current business practices; then please enlighten us? Then explain why you didn’t enlighten us when the penalties were originally assessed or when you agreed to pay them.
3. We need (and I will create) a war room; a command center; a transparent 7X24 visual of all of the specific issues problems and concerns currently being addressed by the Citigroup executive leaders. This facility needs to be accessible at all times by Citi/FTE’s. If you’re a vendor, contractor or anyone outside the company; partner or not…get the information from this room through a Citigroup employee. Yes I believe in shared leadership but I draw the line when vendors receive too much information about what’s going on in this company. Let’s reverse it and look under the rug of some of the international offshore IT/software vendors Citi has been doing business with and see how far we get.

imagespie4.  The 7X24 command center; I would start populating this command center with some high level pie charts (some visuals ala Ross Perot back in the 90’s) that will be explained and presented at the end of the first quarter. These will be posted on the walls of the command center, for all to see; 7×24:
a. What percentage of Citi revenue is real vs. low risk Notionals. Then we need that explained!
b. I would like to see the Notional percentages from fourth quarter 2014 (when the 2+ billion in penalties was assessed) compared to first quarter 2015 to see the progress; then we need that explained!
c. What percentage (as of right now) of IT/development is FTE driven vs. contractor driven; then we need that explained!
d. I would like to see a pie chart showing all the IT/development vendors and the percentage of Citi software development that each are currently involved in as of right now; then we need that explained!
e. I would like to see (somehow) what percentage of IT/Vendor contractors on boarded in the first quarter 2015 vs. fourth quarter 2014 are for new development vs. IT/vendor contractor replacement turnover; then we need that explained!
f. This one is painful but if we’re being transparent then…. I’d like to see an executive bonus pool comparison from 2013 to 2014; then we need that explained! I for one would like to know how much a 4th quarter 2+ billion dollar penalty cost in executive bonus reduction?
OK that’s high level and simple enough to show what the company is doing.

Lets’ start here, let’s start being transparent, let’s start building trust and then let’s start showing some decision making progress via the pie charts.

imagesltThe only thing that matters in the workplace are the results delivered; scalable, efficient results that hold up over time BUT NOT AT THE EXPENSE OF OTHERS.

I understand that and will work on a short leash. Now either give me the damn ball today or talk me down and come up with an immediate plan of your own (hopefully) before the world ends.

Charles A. Lobosco; CSM, CSL, C.A.R.E. Certified

Agile Consultant, speaker/trainer and radio host
C.A.R.E., Scrum and seminar leader certified

Corporate talk w/Charlie and Eva

Posted in changing workforce, Citigroup, Corporate change, courage, economy, IT/Offshore, Job security, partnership, Self improvement, shared leadership, teamwork, Uncategorized, workplace improvements | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hey Citigroup; give me the damn ball!

imagesspkHey Citigroup; just give me the damn ball!
I’m NOT kidding! If nobody wants it; give it to me. I have a 100 day plan that will reinvent, recharge and reinvest in your workforce.
To say it another way; I have a plan to rebuild trust, improve morale, save a ton of money and reinvest back into the existing workforce. One other thing to add; this is an automated model that just keeps repeating itself.
Imagine that 100 days; I have the plan, the credentials, the courage and the way to fund it!
Today is Wednesday January 28th. As early as Thursday January 29th, I can be sharing this 100 day plan on a projector. We can start implementing as early as tomorrow.
Huh? I don’t even work there (anymore).
Makes you wonder why someone from the outside has the courage to step up and ask for the damn ball when there’s a talent pool of 243,000 full time Citigroup employees? Well to their credit they’re busy doing their jobs; efficiently (I might add) and don’t have the opportunity to take the time to reach the top of the house leaders.

It’s been too long waiting for a recovery, a change in behavior, something! Somebody needs to step up. Citigroup is a U.S. company with a global business model. When senior top of the house leadership was watching Citi stock go from $50 a share down to $1.00 on their watch, while they were touting their leadership… when this company was imploding, we the U.S. taxpayers (on both sides of the political fence) were there to help. We had Citigroup’s back.
So let’s not forget; Citigroup is a U.S. company.
What year did this sudden implosion occur? 2007/2008.
What year is it now? 2015. It’s 2015 and Citigroup is still shelling out “billions” in legal fees? As recent as the last quarter? Is that B as in BILLIONS?
It’s 2015 and Citigroup is talking about low risk notionals? Really? Notionals? Look it up, it means imaginary!!!!
Has anything changed?
Citigroup is still cutting heads and consolidating just to come up with the money needed to pay these fines and legal fees!
We always hear commentary about whether or not Citigroup is too big and should be broken up; this company can’t be broken up. Citigroup needs this humongous source of funds to draw from to keep paying for their rogue strategies. At least until the root cause of these fines and legal issues is identified and corrected.
It makes you wonder if anything really has changed or if any lessons were learned? Reverse split aside, the Company hasn’t really made much progress. It’s been too long! It’s time for someone to step up and MAKE SOME ADJUSTMENTS. imageslead
To be clear, I don’t want to run Citigroup. I just want the damn ball to so I can deliver results that will help Citigroup run better.
My name is Charlie Lobosco; I’m a corporate technology executive with over 40 years if corporate/IT experience of which about 14 of those came from….Citigroup!
My business model is Shared Leadership. I transform resources into partners one teammate at a time.
If you think Citigroup top of the house leadership has earned it’s keep over the last ten years then spend some time at the water cooler, or in a social setting with current and former Citigroup co-workers and you will get a different picture.
If you think Citigroup top of the house leadership has earned it’s keep over the last ten years let me know…I have an eight billion dollar hedge fund I’d like to sell you.
I worked at Citigroup three times in three different capacities. In 1981 as a consultant, from 2000 – 2003 also as a consultant and from 2003 – 2013 as a full time VP/technology manager of multiple business applications.
I was treated well at all times; very well. So this is not about sour grapes but about stepping up for my former teammates and offer up a plan of action to help deliver results that will hold up over time BUT not at the expense of others.
If there’s a question to be asked, it should be, “Where is the top of the house leadership and where is their 100 day plan?” Oh let me guess; they…. (we certainly know who they are right Vincent Vega)… they need to prioritize this with everything else on their plates. Then form a committee and have them research best practice, and so on… We can even give them the benefit of the doubt and say; they’re too busy working that’s why. I can also cut to the chase and say the real reason is….fear; of failure, insecurities and fear of what others might think. Or maybe they just don’t care? Or…maybe they’re just not good enough?
OK enough already, whatever it is; it is.
Here’s what I would do in my first 100 days to start making some real changes within this company, that I care about, chose to work for was treated well by and have many friends working there and trying their best to make a difference.
First some ground rules;
1. After almost ten years of diminishing returns, the clock is ticking and there is a real sense of urgency, so this needs to start right now.
2. My plan has to be a win/win for the company, the employees and the shareholders.
Back in 2006 there was a Citigroup visionary that said he had a plan and his plan is such a win/win it will actually improve the PE ratio of the company. Well.. that guy turned the company upside down to the point he too fell out the bottom. So I guess my benchmark is that epic fail BUT a lesson learned to me that win/win visions often times look good on paper (only).
I get it, I’m on it and I won’t make that mistake. Why not? Well ; A … I’m not in charge and B…I’ll be collaborating and utilizing my coworkers and not just making “cuts”. I’ll be reporting to and getting feedback from others. My 100 day plan will be community posted, tracked every single day. The plan lays out tasks for every single day (yes 100 days of tasks). If a task is not delivered we’ll all know the next day.
3. NO FTE’s are to be impacted in any way, shape or form. Nobody is downsized on my watch! That was the work of that other visionary. In fact if anyone takes one thing away from this call to action, I want it to be this, “If top of the house leadership of ANY company needs a 911 strategy to save money for a company that continues to pay billions in fines and legal fee and that strategy has a negative impact on their employees in any way shape or form; outsourcing, downsizing even outright layoffs; they need a different strategy. If top of the house leadership of ANY company want to be called top of the house leaders, they need to do better than outsourcing, downsizing and consolidating when it comes to offering strategies for reducing expenses and increasing income”.
Blah, blah blah…OK so let’s hear it; lets hear at least 10 components of this 100 day plan… indext10
1. I will set new criteria for top of the house leadership. At first I was thinking to outsource the CEO position outright. That alone would be a huge save to the bottom line! But I was just being spiteful. We can’t do that; the outsourced vender is not deserving of that responsibility. I would require at least (7) years tenure with the company and I’m thinking about including at least (3) recommendations from co workers within the company before anyone can be considered for that role. No; the candidate does NOT have to be in a leadership role already to be considered. That strategy hasn’t proven to be successful in the past. YES, the role can be vacant if someone leaves until a replacement is found. We’ll have a plan for that too (see below Shared Leadership training). One more thing; there will be exit rules; when you leave, you leave just like any other employee. No more buyouts or whatever it’s called that pays exiting CEO’s lots of money on their way out. We’re not working for the CEO’s company, the CEO is hired to work in (to lead) our company.
2. I will make it clear (especially to all supporting vendors)that Citigroup is a U.S. Company with a global model and not a global company doing business (also in the U.S.).
3. I will get to the bottom of all this one time charge for never ending fines nonsense AND deliver my findings publicly. Never again will we hear about a one time charge right before reporting earnings and right after a recent stock price climb. This reeks of distrust. If you don’t think this reeks of distrust, let me know I have an eight billion dollar hedge fund to sell you.
4. I will establish and maintain (myself) a risk and compliance assessment across all lines of business. I will own this and therefore take responsibility should there be any fines incurred on my watch. If any business plan, strategy or income proposal doesn’t appear GREEN on this (community) board; it’s not happening. What’s a derivative? If you can’t explain it, we’re not selling it! Remember Enron?….Notionals; give me a break!
5. I will reverse downsize; I will “prune” non essential off shore contractors (working offshore) by 25 %, while experiencing NO (zero) project delays as a result. I have the experience and the plan to do this; in fact I did? AT CITIGROUP! A much smaller scale but the model worked to perfection. IT/Offshore technology contractors support our efforts but they don’t drive them. The term was coined “outsourcing” not “hostage sourcing”. Anyway, this will end. The money saved ( and there will be a lot of it) will be reinvested back into the FTE workforce!
6. I will make sure every contractor (on and offshore) responsible for delivering working software for Citigroup projects is held to the same standards as Citigroup employees.
I will make sure ALL work is defined as either NEEDED or NICE TO HAVE. If the need can’t be proven by the proper stakeholder , it becomes a nice to have and drops on the priority list accordingly.
8. Talent acquisition will be renamed talent nurturing with a 180 degree change in focus to employees already on the payroll. There’s enough FTE talent on board already. It’s time to nurture and grow organically.
9. I will start having community retrospectives; what’s working, what’s not and what needs to change. Not these current (what they refer to as) round table sessions BUT “Community retrospectives”.
10. I will make sure we start rolling out my C.A.R.E. Certification; shared leadership training program across the organization. Shared leadership is a faster, smarter, more efficient way to deliver results that will hold up over time; AND with less risk.

OK that’s 10 components but why 100 days?

Well Rome wasn’t built in a day but on day 1 there was some construction. Let’s reconstruct for 100 days then come back to the table and share the work in progress.

Implementing this plan WILL make a difference. As a taxpayer, shareholder and employee I had the back of Citigroup when it needed help. Now as a taxpayer, shareholder and always a teammate I still have your back.

Too idealistic? Maybe. Taking on too much? Probably. Confident in my abilities? Yes. Proven track record? Yes.

The only thing that matters in the workplace are the results delivered; scalable, efficient results that hold up over time BUT NOT AT THE EXPENSE OF OTHERS.

I understand that and will work on a short leash. Now either give me the damn ball today or talk me down and come up with an immediate plan of your own (hopefully) before the world ends.
Charles A. Lobosco; CSM, CSL, C.A.R.E. Certified

Agile Consultant, speaker/trainer and radio host
C.A.R.E., Scrum and seminar leader certified

C.A.R.E. is Courage to take Action Relevant to Everyonecl16843_AC07_R0A

Posted in Career certifications, career training, Change agent, changing workforce, Citigroup, courage, economy, IT/Offshore, Job security | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment