CHIZOR MALIZE, managing director/chief executive officer of Financial Institutions Training Centre (FITC), in this interview with ZEBULON AGOMUO, shares insights on how FITC continues to lead and impact the knowledge industry in a period of VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity). She also talks about Nigeria’s premier professional knowledge services institution, the 40-year brand heritage and how the organisation is leading the knowledge industry, leveraging technology and innovation strategies. Excerpts:
FITC has demonstrated strong capabilities for leading change and innovation in crisis. As a future-focused institution, what does the next decade look like?
As a future-focused organisation, regardless of all our success stories, we are not resting on our oars. We had realised quite early, the need to significantly accelerate the pace of transformation in our organisation to remain dynamic, forward thinking, contemporary and relevant because we recognise that organisations are successful at improving performance and sustaining impact through their change efforts.
To create the future we desire, guided by our 5-year strategic blueprint (2020 – 2024) which is line with our vision to build a world class innovation-led and technology-driven organisation, we have re-engineered our programmes, people, processes, platforms, performance and market positioning to better serve our clients, helping them build agile organisations and creating a pool of workforce equipped for today’s workplace.
We are deepening and extending our play and driving growth in our core business portfolios of Advisory, Learning & Development, and Insight & Policy Advocacy to achieve sustainability. We are extending our services to other sectors such as Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG), oil and gas, maritime, consulting, manufacturing, and telecommunications, leveraging partnerships and collaborations.
Additionally, we are accelerating and accentuating our impact on all our stakeholders through our various policy advocacy and sustainability initiatives because we understand the critical role they play in the success and sustainability of our business.
Our success is in our innovative programmes, cutting edge learning platforms, smart processes, dynamic and high performing people and most importantly, our repositioned and reinvigorated new FITC Brand
We are also counting on our innovative offerings, leveraging technology to shape the future of our business. We are committed to investing in and expanding our variety of innovative and digital-enabled service offerings.
As a brand with a very strong heritage, we recognise that our people have been and will continue to be our greatest assets and competitive differentiator, hence, we are focusing extensively on attaining operational efficiency, and enhancing our internal capabilities right from the top, middle management and to our front-line employees, with the goal of building the best place to work for the best people who are well equipped to deliver superior performance and exceptional services to our clients.
We will continue to develop and drive employee engagement programmes that will foster leadership, personal growth, team work and enterprise mindset needed to accelerate our business performance, and keep our organisation future ready and relevant.
We believe that with these opportunities, coupled with adequate and strategic planning, the next decade will even be more glorious than the last!
FITC recently turned 40. As the Chief Executive Officer of the institution, how would you describe the organisation’s four-decade journey in the financial services and other sectors of the economy?
FITC is a world-class innovation-led knowledge organisation established 40 years ago to provide innovative knowledge solutions and capacity building programmes that develop and strengthens resources for the Nigerian Financial Services Sector.
Under the direct supervision of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) and the Nigerian Bankers Committee, we have since remained committed to leading the advancement in knowledge content that is creatively designed to strengthen the Nigerian financial system.
For forty years, FITC has powered the Nigerian Financial service system. I am very honoured for the privilege of leading this great institution into this new transformational phase and I am delighted about what FITC has become.
Our 40th anniversary reiterates the milestone we have achieved as we celebrate our organisation’s rich heritage. It is indeed a privilege to lead FITC through today’s digital transformation journey, bringing innovation into all we do.
Through visionary leadership we have recorded great success in our journey, specifically in the past two years. Our success is in our innovative programmes, cutting edge learning platforms, smart processes, dynamic and high performing people and most importantly, our repositioned and reinvigorated new FITC Brand.
Resting on the shoulders of the transformational leaders before me, FITC has in the past four decades empowered and enabled hundreds of thousands of people and organisations to excel. With our expertise, we help individuals, and their organisations realise 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. With these, we continue to transform and impact the financial services sector and the other sectors that we serve.
How has FITC navigated the hurdles to growth, and to leading the knowledge Industry in the areas of Technology & Innovation in recent times?
Technology & innovation have loads of benefits. It increases productivity and results in new and better goods and services that in turn, improves the overall standard of living of people while positively impacting on the economy.
Similarly, in the learning industry, technological innovations are significantly impacting and disrupting the traditional classroom environment.
With the renewed global embrace of digital, the rise of automation, advanced robotics and artificial intelligence, technology is fundamentally transforming our world and its social, cultural, and economic structures.
As a future focused organisation, we quickly began investing in and expanding our innovative and digital-enabled service offerings.
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 and service delivery leveraging technology and innovative knowledge solutions.
For instance, under our re-engineered Insight & Policy Advocacy portfolio, we hosted some of Africa’s largest conferences; ThinkNnovation Cybersecurity Conference, the Employee Experience & Engagement (E3) Conference, and the TechNovate FINTECH Conference, using our bespoke virtual conferencing platform called the Convena, a 5000-attendee capacity platform with fascinating features aimed at giving participants the ultimate virtual conferencing experience.
The features include Log-in and on boarding, virtual sessions, session screening and live Q&As, chat rooms, event newsfeeds, contests and marketing, advertising and sponsors booths among other innovative features. The FITC Covena platform has continued to receive glowing reviews from our participants, partners, board members and other critical stakeholders, and has positioned FITC as the leader in virtual conferencing.
To continue to lead in the areas of technology & innovation, we instituted a dynamic advocacy and incubation team of digital mavens and digital natives known as “The Catalysts” consisting of mostly millennials and Gen Zs.
Their role: to drive and coordinate FITC’s digital transformation across culture, technology investments and energised adoptions by casting and setting the objectives, continuously assessing the technology, innovation and other needs of the organisation, identifying the key projects for execution and evaluating ongoing and completed projects.
What has been FITC’s role in past years to ensure the Boards of Nigerian financial institutions have sound corporate governance?
The importance of corporate governance cannot be overemphasised. Good corporate governance creates a system of rules and practices that determine how a company operates and how these rules align with the interest of all its stakeholders. Corporate governance leads to ethical business practices, which leads to financial viability.
Our mandate and role over the years has been to continuously equip Boards and adequately prepare them for the emerging challenges of an increasingly complex global and unpredictable business environment.
This we have been able to achieve successfully under our flagship Board Leadership and Executive Education programmes where we host and train aspiring and Board Chairmen and Directors, Non-Executive Directors, Board Members of financial and non-financial institutions, Director-Generals, Presidents, Managing Partners/CEOs, C-suite and senior executives from both public and private sector organisations across industries in Sub-Sahara Africa.
Our Board Leadership and Executive Education programmes are targeted at Managers, Senior Leadership and Directors.
We create a curriculum that defines all the programmes that they should take over time and work collaboratively with institutions helping them strengthen their boards through knowledge, corporate governance structure, and consistent board evaluation to ensure they perform effectively and optimally because the board role is critical for every organization.
These programmes cut across leadership, technology, talent management, risk management, enterprise, cybersecurity, finance and accounting, all of which are very pertinent to their operations.
We are able to make more impact leveraging partnerships and collaborations with renowned local and international institutions, regulatory bodies and relevant associations to deliver very robust programmes.
This way, we are constantly helping them to identify and maximise their potentials, equipping them to deliver more.
The place of staff training and retraining cannot be ignored while telling stories of successful financial institutions. How do you describe FITCs role in the past in making these companies and their employees globally competitive?
Training helps to acquire new skills while sharpening existing ones. It is central in optimal performance and increased productivity for employees and business owners alike.
Our Learning solutions include hundreds of courses designed to assist organisations across different sectors to sharpen their skills and is accessible anywhere in the world even as we continue to invest in putting in place a state-of-the-art and efficient Learning Management System to aid the delivery of a world-class, top-notch learning experience for people and organisations looking to upskill and retool for personal development and improved organisational performance.
Through our FITC Advisory portfolio, we equip leaders and organisations with knowledge-based research and insights, developing cutting edge strategies that convert opportunities into value.
We have since 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.
We also help organisations to re-engineer their processes, products, or programmes, enabling them to become the best that they can be
. We help them hire the right people and advise them on how to develop potentials and motivate their workforce.
Consequently, we help professionals in the Nigerian financial services and other sectors, 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.
With over 13 years’ experience in carrying out successful Staff Promotional Examinations across several Ministries, Departments and Agencies, FITC has remained in the forefront of developing and implementing technology driven staff promotion exercises that complement the performance management system in the public sector.