In 2018, the pan-African financial services provider Absa Group Ltd completed its separation from its majority shareholder, Barclays. Entering a new chapter in its history, the bank faced the challenge of articulating a new growth strategy and successfully rebranding itself with existing and new customers across the African continent. Adding to the enormity of Absa’s task was the intensifying competition and digital disruption in the banking industry. Could Absa live up to these challenges and redefine its identity and purpose as a boldly relevant, digital-first and proudly African enterprise?
Absa partnered with IMD to develop an integrated offering, organized into a series of learning journeys that targeted the bank’s young talent, middle managers and senior executives. Through a mix of custom modules, open programs, coaching, pre- and post-workshop learning, and intrapreneurial customer-focused projects in a number of countries, the L&D initiative aimed to accelerate development of a thriving entrepreneurial culture at Absa. One of the goals was to embed new habits and practices traditionally associated with startups – speed, customer-centricity, hands-on learning, agile experimenting and prototyping.