CRITICAL EVALUATION OF THE STRATEGIC POSITION OF THE CEO IN A MODERN ORGANISATION (ZENITH BANK AS A CASE STUDY)
CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION
BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
For any business to survive and compete effectively in this contemporary age (i.e., the last two decades of the 20th century to the current century), it must be sensitive to the changing environment; adapt rapidly to changes; and plan pro-actively. The major trends in this contemporary age are in the areas of (1) globalisation, and (2) forceful effects of the pervading ICT (Information and Communications Technology). Both have empowered the customer and other stakeholders that have to relate with businesses and organisations.
Banks are particularly vulnerable to the vicissitudes of modern business because of the nature of their operations - provision of services backed-up and delivered by modern ICT tools to a globalised client-base and other stakeholders who desire only the best. Therefore, banks must forge and imbibe strong visions and sound core values - built on a strong leadership and goodwill in order to be successful in the dynamic and changing business environment that they operate in. A bank must develop and utilise its internal capabilities and take advantage of emerging technology in order to position it pro-actively for the challenges ahead and master its operating business environment. These must be properly harnessed and directed by a purposeful and focused leadership who can plan proactively and dynamically. Leadership is an important aspect of human management whose potent
strength lies in its ability to positively influence process [i.e., follower-ship]
towards organisational goals and objectives. Leadership must develop Core Values, which must bind the bank [i.e., the organisation] together as a winning team in order for the bank to achieve its set goals and objectives. In strong, forward-looking organisations, leadership provides enduring visions, which articulate the bank‟s [i.e., organisation‟s] future state - that is, a statement of strategic intent describing the bank‟s aspiration for the future.
A proper vision encapsulated by inspiring leadership must encompass the organisation‟s:
(1) Customer orientation, (2)Employee Focus,
(3)its‟ organisational competencies, and (4)Standards of Excellence.
Organisations rise and fall with its leadership. The CEO [Chief Executive Officer] of an organisation is the most pivotal leader in the modern organisation. The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is the most important role in the management of an organisation. He is the highest-ranking corporate officer or executive officer.
In closely held corporations, it is general business culture that the office of the CEO is also the chairman of the board. Specifically, one person shares the chairman and CEO titles while another person takes the presidency or may become chief operating officer (COO). Regardless, in virtually all cases
where the CEO and president are not the same person, the CEO is of the higher rank and ultimate authority.
As we had asserted earlier, organisations rise and fall with their leadership – mostly in the form of the CEO. Contemporary business is replete with the critical impact and roles played by the leadership in providing goodwill to their organizations such as:
⦁ Raymond Smith, the CEO of Bell Atlantic,
⦁ Jan Carlzon the CEO of SAS Airlines,
⦁ Eckhardt Pfeiffer the CEO of Compaq Computers,
⦁ Bill Gates, the CEO of Microsoft Corporation, etc.,
All these organisations have endured effectively over the years, and they continue to dominate and lead in their respective business industries mainly because of the critical roles of their CEOs.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
To what extent does a strong and inspirational leadership confer goodwill, leadership and dynamism on their organisation; and how critical a role does an inspirational leadership play in organisational progress and dynamism in their industry of business operations – specifically, the Chief Executive Officer - with specific reference to Zenith Bank Plc?
OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY:
The following are the objectives of this study:
(1) To identify the key issues that constitute key success factors and traits that constitute effective and inspirational leadership as they relate to the ability of a forward looking bank like Zenith bank plc to compete effectively and pro-actively in the Nigerian banking industry.
(2) To evaluate the leveraging impact of goodwill brought on by its CEO; on Zenith Bank‟s quest to be at the forefront of banking services and excellence in Nigeria.
(3) To analyse the impacts and strategic import of Zenith Bank‟s CEO on the bank‟s performance in the Nigerian banking industry.
The research questions that will be dealt with in this study are as follows:
1. What traits and qualities are critical in a CEO for him/her to be of strategic import to his organisation and provide strong core values and leadership for organisational growth, effectives and dynamism?
2. How critical is goodwill brought on by leadership to Zenith Bank‟s quest to be at the forefront of banking services and excellence in Nigeria?
3. What roles does the CEO play in Zenith Bank‟s quest for dominance and dynamism in the Nigerian banking industry?
H1: CEOs play strategic and crucial roles in an organisation‟s quest for
excellence, dynamism and success and so positively impact on their organisations.
Ho: CEOs do not play strategic and crucial roles in an organisation‟s quest for excellence, dynamism and success and so positively impact on their organisations.
H2: Certain identifiable traits in leadership and management constitute key success factors for effective and inspirational leadership
Ho: There are no identifiable traits in leadership and management that constitute key success factors for effective and inspirational leadership
H3: Top management and CEOs bring leveraging impacts on organisations and thus make for organisational success .
Ho: Top management and CEOs bring no leveraging impacts on organisations and thus make for organisational success .
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY:
This research study would be of immeasurable significance to Zenith Bank Plc and other forward looking banks in Nigeria as it would show the impact of enduring corporate values, powerful visions and leveraged goodwill in their quest for dynamism and excellence.
SCOPE OF THE STUDY:
This study would be restricted to a crucial comprehension of the concepts of qualities of effective and dynamic leadership, corporate visions, and
leadership goodwill and their impact on an organisation‟s quest for growth,
and excellence - with specific emphasis on Zenith Bank Plc. I would examine Zenith Bank‟s leadership, the role of its founding and continuing CEO, his leadership qualities, corporate values, its vision and goodwill as they relate to growth and development in the bank‟s practices and provision of professional services to the satisfaction of their various stakeholders.
LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
The difficulty in getting basic statistics from both public and private institutions in Nigeria will constitute major limitation to this study.
1. The specific problems will include partial commitment from some respondents which may lead to not completing the face-to-face interviews while administering the questionnaires.
2. In addition, some records which may be required from Zenith bank staff may not be available or may require too much time and effort to obtain.
3. There could also be lack of willingness to cooperate from some respondents, especially junior staff.
4. Some respondents may equally request some form of honorarium for their time that will be taken in the course of the interview.
5. Financial Constraints: Though the researcher is employed, sufficient fund is not readily available to timely meet financial requirements of the study.
6. Anticipated delays in respondents‟ responses.
7. Time constraints: The research study is time based, and thus the researcher might not have adequate time to thoroughly gather data and still meet up with the submission dates, etc.
Zenith Bank was incorporated as a private limited liability company in May 1990, and was granted a banking licence in June, 1990. It commenced banking operations in July 1990.
Zenith Bank is wholly owned by Nigerians; and is engaged in the provision of universal banking services to corporate, commercial and individual customers. Zenith Bank provides the following banking services and products to its clientele:
⦁ Savings and current accounts,
⦁ Treasury and financial services,
⦁ Investment banking,
⦁ Equipment leasing,
⦁ Trade financing
⦁ Funds management,
⦁ Import and export finance,
⦁ The smart card product (electronic purse),
⦁ Telelink (telephone banking),
⦁ Zenith view facility (Internet banking),
⦁ Western Union Money transfer, etc.
Zenith bank has a strong and consistent record; solid capital and liquid positions; a strong asset quality (which magnifies its strength in Nigeria); and highly automated bank operations.
Zenith Bank‟s operations are propelled by a highly empowered professional human capital; with a conservative banking mien, which has enabled it to record significant success since its inception. Zenith bank has strong sales culture, which enables it to cross sell its products and services.
Zenith Bank has always been in the forefront of banking services and excellence in Nigeria, and its has consistently maintained a steadily rising profit over the years.
Zenith bank has notable strengths, among which are:
⦁ Strong asset quality and low level of credit losses
⦁ Continuously improving profitability and strong revenue generation
⦁ Strategic re-positioning and diversified funding mix
⦁ Well capitalized, strong liquidity position and re-financing ability
⦁ Highly automated and technologically advanced systems throughout its branch network
⦁ Strong market share
⦁ Competent and well tested key management
⦁ Excellent customer base, and
⦁ A Strong brand
Currently, Zenith Bank Plc boasts of being the biggest bank in Nigeria and the second most profitable. Zenith Bank‟s vision is “to become the leading Nigerian, technology-driven, global financial institution, providing distinctively unique range of financial services.”
DEFINITION OF TERMS:
The following terms would be critical to our understanding of the aim of this research study:
Vision: A vision is the articulation of an organisation‟s future state. It is a statement of strategic intent that describes the organisation‟s aspiration for the future.
Strategy: The direction and scope of an organisation over the long term, which achieves advantage for the organisation through its configuration resources within a changing environment to meet the needs of the markets and to fulfil stakeholders‟ expectation.
Business Policy: The methods, procedures, rules and practices associated with implementing and executing strategies in an organization. Business policy is top management‟s pronouncements on what course of action the organization must follow - i.e., a statement of management intent
Mission: An organisation‟s mission is the “raison d’etre” (the reason for existence) of the organisation. It is the fundamental purpose that sets the
organisation apart from others, in order to identify the scope of its operations in product and market terms.
Brand: A brand is a name, term, symbol, design, etc., which identifies an organisation‟s products and services in order to differentiate such from others.
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