When the Coronavirus slammed the US, many businesses were totally unprepared.
I posted an article on FB about the closing of the Citibank site (mostly, Bankcards, with a small contingent of USCC Citigold representatives) in Florence, KY.
Seems that they were open for business as usual, with the majority of employees still on site.
Then, it was discovered that 3 employees had been diagnosed with the dreaded virus. They closed the building for a few hours on a Monday while it was “deep cleaned”. Employees returned to the site the same day.
Then, on Wednesday of the same week, another employee tested positive.
Finally, senior management invoked their COB/Continuity Of Business plan & sent all employees home. Many of them were able to connect electronically & as such, worked from home (WFH).
I was appalled that it took a 4th employee for them to finally come to their senses. And the whole situation clearly pointed out just how shortsighted their COB plan actually was.
Citi always depended on “moving & redirecting call traffic in the cloud” to handle emergency situations at any one of their sites. But they were never fully prepared to take on a disaster like the one many businesses faced.
The thinking was always, “Well, if there was a natural disaster that took out the building, it was probably devastating & large enough to greatly impact the employees that lived there as well.”
They never imagined a situation like the one they faced.
And that’s a major problem! COB plans should cover every possible risk to a company (physical, financial, reputation, telecommunications, sabotage, etc. & to every possible degree).
So after I slammed Citi senior mgmt for what I believed was a way-too-slow reaction to a dangerous situation for their employees, I felt that it was appropriate to “defend” my position.
So I added a comment…
“Oh, in case anyone thinks I wrote this just because “Ah, he’s just a disgruntled ex-employee!”, nothing could be further from the truth.
I still LOVE my Citi & all its people…always have & always will.
I still bleed Citibank blue (none of that red umbrella shit)!
I have NO ISSUES WHATSOEVER in helping people/companies by pointing out their mistakes…in hopes of learning from them, not repeating them & being that much smarter going forward.
I often did the SAME EXACT THING in different Citi boardrooms, offices & conference rooms when I was still there.
The seniors scowled at me when we were interviewing the first company to handle our outsourced CitiPhone calls. I was told (during a break) to “Please, shut up! The contract’s probably already signed!”
I replied, “I really don’t give a f*ck! They have tons of holes in the their process! BTW, why invite me? You know how I am!”
They (them & us) didn’t approve one of the several proposed enhancements I put on the table.
But, in 6 months time, they incorporated EVERY ONE into their operation.
Same way the USSC (we were the U.S. Service Center) senior mgmt team, in the beginning, refused to listen about the poor service we were providing.
(Note: Before I came down from Nat’l Operations Admin in NY to SA, I was the main liaison with the USSC. I listened to their calls, read their investigations, developed a serious twitch whenever someone said, “Didja hear what…?” or “Pls read & handle this for me!”)
When CEO John McEachern laughed, then cursed, at a video of 6 employees from NYB at a focus group, absolutely massacring us, I stood up (I was subbing for my buddy, Dan Owczar at a Directors meeting) & said, “John, you’re making light of a very serious issue! It’s the blind leading the blind down here, I shit you not! I know 5 of those 6 people personally, 3 are branch managers & they’re all straight shooters! And that’s nothing compared to what I hear on the phone every single day!”
He agreed that I could put my Top Ten together & as a group, we would work on it. And we did.
At Lehman Brothers, I refused to hand out a series of Qs & As, prepared by Corporate in NY, soon after Bears Stearns collapsed in Feb 2008 to handle any inquiries from our mortgage-servicing customer base. They threatened to fire me…I threatened to go to every media outlet & gov’t agency with their thinly-veiled lies & half-truths disguised as legitimate, honest responses to valid questions & concerns. Within an hour, I reworked the whole piece for my people & they agreed to let us use it. Eventually, with the Great Mortgage Crash of 2008, Lehman Brothers was the 1st major Wall St firm that the Feds “allowed” to fail. They propped up everyone else & paved the way for mergers & emergency funding.
Not afraid to stick my stupid neck out when people tend to play 🐵 🙉 🙊!!!”
As always, thank you so much for listening!