Central Bank of Bahrain

Selected Group of Bahraini Islamic Bankers attend Prestigious Waqf Fund Leadership Grooming Program

Manama, Bahrain – 2nd November 2017 – “Disruption is here to stay as a phenomenon; there is no going back to simpler, more predictable, more stable times.” This was one the key messages delivered to a group of 30+ professionals from Islamic banking industry who participated in an intensive one-week leadership program. The Waqf Fund arranged this training program titled “Leading for Exponential Times” to groom the next generation of leaders for the Islamic finance industry.


Dr. Andreas Schotter, Dr. Fernando Olivera and Dr. Chris Chan of the Ivey Business School delivered the training exclusively for the Waqf Fund member institutions. The participants worked through real life case studies of various banking and non-banking organizations focused around leadership in disruptive times, strategy execution and change management. They also discussed the developments taking place in financial technology and their impact on the banking industry.


Some of the key takeaways from the training are as follows:


  • Disruption is about a product or service that helps create a new market and value network, and significantly weakens, transforms or destroys an existing market, product category or industry.
  • Disruption ultimately means that people are thinking, acting, relating and purchasing in entire new manners that interrupt the existing business models. This in turn impact how we consume, produce, organize our supply chains, grow and lead.
  • Three mega forces of disruption have been unleashed; the increasing pace of change, the exponential vs. linear impact of technology and the globalization of opportunity and access.
  • Incumbent organizations need to detect potential sources of disruption in their respective sectors and learn to disrupt themselves before others do. There are significant advantages of size, scale and financial strength that they can leverage.
  • The challenge for the incumbents is, how do they absorb and accommodate modernity and still honor their core identity and traditions? How do they simultaneously drive change in the system and still create value in the existing system? How do they create a sense of urgency while still being profitable?
  • Incumbents usually fall into two main traps; failing to confront and proactively deal with the deeper existential and transformational questions at hand and failing to grasp the power of the exponential function.
  • The human mind is not wired to understand full the exponential function. Linear goals will not be successful in a world that is changing exponentially.
  • Exponential leadership is a way of thinking and leading. It starts with curiosity and humility and is not afraid of experimentation. It embraces change rather than avoid it.
  • In the age of disruption the disruptor’s business models are increasingly distributed as opposed to centralized, mobile as opposed to command-and-control oriented, and participatory as opposed to extractive.
  • The incumbents that embrace disruption are those that proactively disrupt and adapt their management practices and processes to create real-time interactive feedback loops, role model openness, transparency and integrity. They also invite a diversity of perspectives from a wider network and foster collaborative learning and adaptability.   


Mr. Khalid Hamad, the Chairman of the Waqf Fund stated: “This training program follows on from the earlier sessions in Hong Kong and Toronto where the participants learned about leadership, strategy and ethics. As the political, economic and technological dynamics of the world are changing fast, future leaders in Islamic banking need to gear up to face the new normal. They need to continuously reinvent themselves and their institutions to remain competitive.”     


The Waqf Fund has been operating in Bahrain since 2006 and has 22 member institutions. Over the years it has launched several ground breaking initiatives for its member institutions, their employees and the broader Islamic finance industry with the aim to develop the human resources engaged in Islamic finance. The Waqf Fund operates under a Board of Trustees which is chaired by Mr. Khalid Hamad, Executive Director of Banking Supervision, Central Bank of Bahrain.   

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