Chizor Malize, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of FITC is leading and delivering impact through transformative change and innovation in a period of VUCA. In this interview with Patrick Atuanya, she talks about Nigeria’s premier professional knowledge services institution, strategies adopted for continued stability, innovation and agility, and the institutions re-engineered knowledge solutions for equipping organizations for post crisis performance. Excerpts:
You have barely spent a year as the Chief Executive Officer of FITC, Nigeria’s premier professional knowledge services institution, with a lot of deep-rooted heritage. How would you describe your corporate purpose?
FITC is a world-class innovation-led knowledge organisation committed to leading the advancement in knowledge content that is creatively designed to strengthen the Nigerian financial system. Under the direct supervision of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) and the Nigerian Bankers Committee, FITC was established to provide innovative knowledge solutions and capacity building programmes that develop and strengthens resources for the Nigerian Financial Services Sector.
For close to 40 years, FITC has been an innovator from the start, enabling people and organizations to excel. With our expertise, we help individuals, and their organizations release the power of their potentials through knowledge solutions that drive superior performance. We work with our stakeholders predominantly in the Nigerian Financial Services sector to design and implement solutions for capacity development through learning, organizational structure design and business performance strategy development.
Through our FITC Advisory portfolio, we equip leaders and organizations with knowledge-based research, developing cutting edge strategies that convert opportunities into value. We help these organizations hire the right people and advise them on how to develop potentials and motivate their workforce. In doing so, we help professionals in the Nigerian financial Services navigate and advance their careers while building on our member firms’ successes through our clear vision, strong corporate values, and our culture of excellence.
There seems to be a significant transformation at FITC currently, what key strategies are guiding the actions of the current management and how is that being measured?
In a rapidly changing world, we realized the need to significantly accelerate the pace of transformation in our organization to remain dynamic, forward thinking, contemporary and relevant. We recognize that organizations are successful at improving performance and sustaining impact through their change efforts.
In my position as the new CEO of FITC, we revisited our corporate strategy with a view to developing the blueprint for our next five years (2020 – 2024). In line with our vision to build a world class innovation-led and technology-driven organization, we defined our six success pillars which are programmes, process, platforms, people, positioning and performance. We took deliberate and strategic steps by making significant changes across these key drives of the positive transformation experienced today by our stakeholders.
In executing these changes, we reviewed our programmes and portfolio of offerings; redesigning them to meet the needs of our stakeholders based on the evolving business landscape. With our innovation mindset, we improved our processes, creating cutting edge technology platforms for learning and knowledge engagements. In partnership with world-class facilitators and coaches drawn from high performing industries, reputable business leaders and subject matter experts we delivered top quality programmes even in the period of COVID-19 while the rest of the world was shut down.
Our strong market positioning as the leading knowledge organization from out of Africa is reflected in our robust knowledge content, top rated faculty and consultants saw our knowledge programmes and solution reaching over six (6) continents, forty eight (48) countries of the world with a large African footprint, impacting positively on over ten thousand organizations globally.
We recognize that our people are our greatest assets and competitive differentiator, and focused on building capabilities right from the top, middle management and to our front-line employees. We developed employee engagement programmes that foster leadership, personal growth, teamwork and enterprise mindset thereby catalysing-organization-wide transformations and accelerating performance.
Although COVID-19 threw the global business environment into great challenges in 2020, your organization remained unwavering. What key strategies did you adopt seeing that FITC continued to demonstrate stability, innovation, and agility even in a period of VUCA?
The world is currently recording rapid and accelerated changes predominantly driven by technology. Consumer preferences and behaviours are also changing. All of these are transforming the way that we live today. To survive and thrive, proactive organizations must seek to transform how they operate.
At FITC, part of our strategy for remaining in our leadership position was our visionary and proactive steps to become agile. Our early embrace of enterprise agility as part of our corporate strategy even before the COVID-19 pandemic chanced upon the world, equipped us to proactively adapt to the impeding changes the VUCA times presented.
Embarking on an agile transformation as a new way of thinking was for us a key catalyst for our transformative work over the last few months. Beyond technology, we applied the principles of agility across our entire organization from process innovation, new programme development, customer relationship management, consumer insight analytics. We responded swiftly to our stakeholders learning and knowledge needs, increased our speed of execution with remarkable improvement in our productivity.
Even in the mist of the global crisis, we recreated new and innovative knowledge programmes that kept individuals and organizations we serve highly informed, updated, and equipped for a post COVID-19 era. We developed and launched additional knowledge portfolios such as the FITC Executive Education Institute, the FITC Board Leadership Institute, the FITC Youth Connect Programme with several digital learning solutions including webinars, summits and a global cyber security conference reaching 6 continents and over forty countries with over one thousand participants.
On our Insight and Advisory portfolio, we expanded our offerings to include technology advisory, service strategy and organization resilience models. We combined stability and dynamism to build systems and teams that are radically efficient thereby driving increased speed, flexibility, and performance.
FITC has clearly demonstrated strong capabilities for leading change and innovation in crisis, what has been the impact of the numerous FITC transformative programmes on the stakeholders?
The COVID-19 pandemic overturned nearly every aspect of our lives, personally and professionally. It caused changes in the way organizations interact with their customers, how customers make decisions on products or services and consumer consumption patterns. These swift and rapid changes were also recorded amongst consumers of learning and knowledge solutions.
At FITC, we saw these changes as opportunities emerging from the crisis. With vision and actionable steps, we very quickly converted them to value to our diverse stakeholders. We adapted our core to meet shifting customer needs predominantly driven by remote learning, launching broad based innovative digital learning programmes such as webinars and summits keeping our stakeholder highly engaged, informed, refreshed and equipped.
Through our innovation mindset, deep market insight and a world-class approach to programme design thinking, we redesigned all our learning solutions by infusing programme curriculum with more relevant contents that address the future of work and the future need of businesses.
We identified and created new learning opportunity areas such as the FITC Executive Education and the FITC Board Leadership programme. The programmes were designed to meet the learning needs of senior leadership of organizations such as Senior Managers, General Managers, Directors and C-suites Executives. These programmes are rich in content, with global benchmarks and quality faculty comparable to the best business schools in the world.
As a client-centric organization strategically focused on developing talents across diverse organizational skill levels, we filled the knowledge gap required under shifting global business conditions, building executives who are exceptional leaders, confident decision-makers, skilled strategists, global thinkers and effective change agents. Even as the would was overwhelmed by the COVID-19 pandemic, FITC was building the foundation for post crisis growth for our member firms and their organizations.
Today’s business leaders find opportunities in an increasingly interlinked world and collaboration have become key growth components. What role has that played in stimulating growth and performance for FITC.
Organizations often pursue partnerships and collaboration with other entities with complementary capabilities. In pursuit of our world-class aspiration, we seek valuable partnerships with visionary organizations with common intent. Through our collaborative approach to the market, we partner with institutions like International Finance Corporation (IFC), Association of Chartered Certified Accounts (ACCA), the African FINTECH Association, SAS Institute South Africa, West Africa Bankers Association, (WABA), the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS), Central Bank of Nigeria, (CBN), Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRC) and Nigeria Deposit Insurance Commission (NDIC).
Through partnerships, we focus on priorities that enrich our offerings such as robust and top-rated faculty, enriched learning content and shared infrastructure. We work collaboratively with top-notch organizations to develop new capabilities that foster alignment of strategies, create mutual benefit and competitive advantage while maximizing performance.
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