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? Anyway 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”.
Blah, 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. As 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?
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?
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.
NOT LEADERSHIP BUT SHARED LEADERSHIP. NOT ALL EGGS IN ONE VISIONARY BUT JOINT COLLABORATION FROM EVERYONE INVOLVED.
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.
“Carlo; you have to answer for Sonny”
“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.