Pan-African Banking Institution Drives Digital Transformation With Leadership Development

Financial Services Generic Logo
CLIENT:Pan-African banking institution
LOCATION:Presence in 35 African countries and listed on 3 stock exchanges
SIZE:Over 15,000 employees from
43 nationalities

Client Profile & Challenge

One of the largest banking groups in Africa had expanded its footprint through acquisitions. Shifting industry dynamics meant that the group had to move swiftly to integrate businesses and adopt key technologies, and also to meet growing customer demands for digital banking services. Acceleration of growth would require building the best banking platform in Africa.

The organization required a digital strategy combined with a leadership response to deliver business impact. Drivers of the strategy included increased digitization to improve customer experience, new distribution channels, operational efficiencies, and the need to invest in areas that offered a competitive advantage.

While the bank had a Leadership Academy that provided development to managers, traditional approaches to leadership development would no longer meet the organization’s needs. The Leadership Academy needed an updated approach that was business-focused, with the ability to provide managers with an agile mindset and upskill them to drive innovation and digital transformation.

Financial Services Pan African Case Study


CCL partnered with the bank’s Leadership Academy to develop a new middle management program that combined 3 critical elements:

  • “Decoding” the bank’s strategic imperatives,
  • Leadership behaviors that focused on business growth and leadership mindset, and
  • Business acceleration projects that allowed participants to apply their new knowledge and drive digital transformation within their teams.

The purpose of the program was to shift the organization’s leadership paradigms (mindset, competency set, and tool set) in a way that would support a digital-first strategy, enhance culture, and drive efficiencies.

The first phase included 2 days of in-person training, which started with participants hearing from the Regional Managing Director on strategic ‘must get right areas’ in the business that informed the ideation process and kicked off the innovation sprint. This enabled participants to identify and prototype business acceleration initiatives to form part of the “must-win” imperatives for their region. The activity helped instill a “can-do” leadership mindset, demonstrating how the right approach could drive the bank into the future. Leadership skills were learned and practiced in real time while results were delivered to the business.

Phase 2 took 6-8 weeks. The cohorts were split into teams of 4-6 individuals, who worked together virtually on a business acceleration project to develop and test a prototype of new products, services, or processes. Each team had a business sponsor appointed by the Regional Managing Director who provided strategic guidance and access to their network. Each team also worked with a business innovation coach from CCL who challenged them to act fast, fail fast, and learn fast — and also to apply new leadership mindsets for improved team effectiveness.

During phase 3, the teams came together to share feedback on the prototype testing and the learning derived from working virtually. Leadership coaching and consultative communication skills enabled participants to have better conversations across the team. Each team reported to a panel of sponsors on their prototype testing results, lessons learned at an individual and team level, and data to support further exploration of the business acceleration project to implement and scale. Following phase 3, successful prototypes were integrated into the business to be implemented and/or scaled.


Some of the prototypes produced by the program included:

  • An online trade finance platform that would enable the bank to create a secure trade and payment marketplace for Africa and reduce transaction costs,
  • Distributed banking that enables customers to withdraw and deposit cash at shops they regularly use,
  • Instant client on-boarding — offering a paperless and 100% digital process, and
  • Instant authentic customer dispute resolution of ATM transactions.

Throughout the program, participants consulted with their managers to ensure their goals were in line with their personal development plans.

Based on participant feedback, the training effort improved participants’ leadership abilities, gave them a deeper understanding of the bank’s strategy, and empowered them to execute on the company’s digital transformation strategy. The program reflects CCL’s own 70:20:10 approach to leadership development — a combination of “being” and “doing” in a new leadership context, that delivers tangible results.

(Participant ratings on a 1-5 point scale)
Overall program satisfaction
Program outcomes
Facilitator impact

Participants Say

“The training was very impactful and took me out of my comfort zone. I learned how to think fast, think outside the box, and focus more on my customers rather than on my income line.”

Partner With Us

We can partner with you to help accelerate your digital transformation and grow your organization into the future. By taking a balanced approach to business, technology, and people, we’ll design a roadmap to accelerate your digital strategy and successfully adopt technology in today’s rapidly-changing and disruptive marketplace. Learn more about our digital transformation solutions today. 

Sign Up for Newsletters

Don’t miss a single insight! Get our latest cutting-edge, research-based leadership content sent directly to your inbox.

Related Content