The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Financial Institution Training Centre, Ms. Chizor Malize, in this interview talks about the organisation’s strategy as well as its contribution towards manpower development in the country. Dike Onwuamaeze brings the excerpts:
Soon, the Financial Institution Training Centre (FITC) will mark its 40th anniversary. Give us an overview of the impact of the organisation on the development of financial training in the country?
The FITC is a world-class innovation-led knowledge organisation that is 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, the 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, the FITC has been an innovator from the start, enabling people and organisations to excel. With our expertise, we help individuals, and their organisations 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, organisational structure design and business performance strategy development. Through our FITC advisory portfolio, we equip leaders and organisations with knowledge-based research, developing cutting edge strategies that convert opportunities into value. We help these organisations hire the right people and advise them on how to develop potentials and motivate their workforce. In doing so over the years, we have helped professionals in the Nigerian financial services sector to navigate and advance their careers while building on our member firms’ successes through our clear vision, strong corporate values, and our culture of excellence.
The COVID-19 pandemic arrived with remarkable disruption in business and social relationship. How has the institution coped with its challenges to be able to render financial training services?
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 organisations must seek to transform how they operate. At the 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 disease, 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 organisation from process innovation, new programme development, customer relationship management and 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 organisations 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, FITC Board Leadership, and the FITC Youth Connect Programmes 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 organisation resilience models. We combined stability and dynamism to build systems and teams that are radically efficient thereby driving increased speed, flexibility, and performance even in the heat of the global pandemic.
What has been the FITC’s strategy to successfully lead transformative change and innovation in a time of crisis?
The COVID-19 pandemic overturned nearly every aspect of our lives, personally and professionally. It caused changes in the way organisations 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 the 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 mind-set, deep market insight and a world-class approach to programme design thinking, we redesigned all our learning solutions by infusing our 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 organisations 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 organisation strategically focused on developing talents across diverse organisational 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 world was overwhelmed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the FITC was building the foundation for post crisis growth for our member firms and their organisations.
Can you share some of the innovative programmes introduced by the FITC to support organisations in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic?
Amidst the global crisis, we recreated new and innovative knowledge programmes that kept individuals and organisations 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 six continents and over forty countries, with over one thousand participants. We also expanded our offerings on our insight and advisory portfolio to include technology advisory, service strategy and organization resilience models.
In your opinion, what role can partnerships and collaboration play in stimulating growth and performance for organisations at this time and what will be your advice to other business leaders in this regard?
For today’s business leaders, finding opportunities in an increasingly interlinked world partnerships and collaborations have become key growth components. Organisations often pursue partnerships and collaboration with other entities with complementary capabilities. For instance, in pursuit of our world class aspiration, we seek valuable partnerships with visionary organisations with common intent.
Through our collaborative approach to market, we have partnered with institutions like the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), the African FINTECH Association, SAS Institute South Africa, the West Africa Bankers Association, (WABA), the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS), the Central Bank of Nigeria, (CBN), the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRC) and the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Commission (NDIC).
Through partnerships, we have focused 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 organisations to develop new capabilities that foster alignment of strategies, create mutual benefit and competitive advantage. This has helped us to exponentially maximise our business performance. Forward thinking organisations must therefore, seek for and leverage opportunities from partnerships and collaborations.
The FITC advisory portfolio is currently one of your new and leading product innovations; can you shed more light on this service offering?
Through a re-engineered FITC advisory portfolio, leaders of African organisations and beyond are equipped with knowledge-based research and cutting-edge strategies that convert opportunities into value for their organisations. We help these organisations 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.
As one of the premier knowledge institutions in Nigeria, what is the FITC doing to retain its market positioning, leadership and dominance?
Our strong market positioning as the leading knowledge organisation from out of Africa is reflected in our robust knowledge content top rated faculty and consultants. Our knowledge programmes and solutions have been accessed in over six continents and 48 countries of the world with a large African footprint, impacting positively on over ten thousand organisations globally. We recognise that our people are our greatest assets and competitive differentiator, and we focused on building capabilities right from the top, middle management, and our front-line employees. We developed employee engagement programmes that foster leadership, personal growth, teamwork and an enterprise mindset thereby catalysing organisation-wide transformations and accelerating business performance and growth.