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First Bank CEO highlights innovative mindset as critical factor to survive tech-driven businesses

The CEO of First Bank of Nigeria, Adesola Adeduntan, has taken a deep assessment of the changes and disruption foisted on industries across the globe by technology, a development exacerbated by Covid-19 pandemic, and asserted that professionals in any field that will remain relevant in this present business environment are those who are adaptable, resourceful and with innovative mindsets.

Advising the present professionals who are still in business to quickly brace up for the new normal as more radical changes are expected going into the future, the banker reminded professionals across sectors that technology has caused some business that did not predict the future to fizzle out.

He spoke recently during a webinar of the first edition of Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria (APBN) programme with the title ‘Repositioning the young professionals for the new normal’.

Citing jobs like old telephone switchboard operators and renting of videos from cinema, which are no more in existence, Adeduntan said, “We have seen radical changes that left a whole industry or sector completely changed but what we are witnessing and what we expect going into the future will be more radically different, such that if any professional is not well equipped if you are not prepared, you become a dinosaur.”

The banker, who is leading the 126-year-old First Bank into more strength with the adoption of technology in line with the current time, said things that seem far off are today with us and they are leaving professionals and leaders across many sectors scrambling to formulate new business models and approaches that are totally different from traditional approaches.

He challenged professionals to think without a box, have a new attitude to work, and adopt continuous learning “because solutions that worked yesterday, may not work today”.

“Again if you don’t have an innovative mindset and you are contented with present-day realities, you may not have work tomorrow,” he warned.

According to him, the current pandemic is also leading to the creation of new business models through digital transformations. The adoption of digital technology on the back of Covid-19, he said, is widespread and it is changing the fundamentals of many industries. The adoption includes Artificial Intelligence; Data Analytics and Big data; Robotics and robotic process automation; Telemedicine among others.

He also said that what is also becoming apparent on the back of this pandemic is corporate culture taking centre stage in organisations. He said people are looking forward to institutions that show more empathy and that are able to engage better with stakeholders.

Also speaking during the forum, the President of APBN, Olumuyiwa Alade Ajibola asked young professionals to take good advantage of the inter-professional gathering under the auspices of the association to advance their creative and innovative talents while also deriving great values from the mentorship of accomplished older professionals in preparation for major leadership roles in the future.

Ajibola said the original vision of the Young Professionals’ Programme of the APBN is to assure the future for the APBN by encouraging the involvement of young professionals across the bodies in its activities through specific innovative programs. “Apart from helping to engrain the ideals of the APBN in them early in their professional lives, it is our hope that their youthful drive and ability to innovate will also enrich the gains of the constituents from the Association.”

In his presentation, Toyin Ayinde first National Vice-President, Nigerian Institute of Town Planners listed factors that will assist young professionals to be prosperous in their business. They include: Always striving for excellence, which he described as the first rule on the way to greatness.

Other factors are trustworthy; be accountable; be courteous and respectful; be honest, open and transparent; be competent and improve continually and always be ethical. Ethical behaviour makes one operate in accordance with certain moral codes, rules or standards for right conduct or practise, especially the standards of a profession.

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