Stick your neck out to succeed, says Standard Bank CIB CEO, Kenny Fihla


Kenny Fihla was recently made CEO (he was, until then, deputy CEO) of Standard Bank’s Corporate and Investment Banking division. He shares with young finance professionals some personal pearls of wisdom for success. “Organisations are desperate for leaders and leaders are really tested in that kind of way – who is always willing to step out of the ordinary and to venture into the unknown?”

Kenny says:

"People must be willing to stick their necks out. There are a lot of people who have good ideas but who become paralysed by the environment and start to hold themselves back because they think the environment will shut them down. People need to be willing to follow through on their convictions.

There's also no substitute for hard work, especially for young leaders, Kenny believes:

"They've surely got the time. When you are young you probably have the best chance of establishing a work ethic that will be with you throughout your working career. You stand a better chance of developing that habit when you're young. There is no successful leader who is lazy and who doesn't stand out."

Things have changed, the finance leader said, but those who want to do well can, if they put their minds to it:

"The environment is different now but I find that people who are eager to learn tend to do well. When people are not scared to ask why, and that's the most basic and stupid of questions. It's amazing how this curiosity helps someone accelerate their growth curve. That desire to always ask, know and understand is very valuable."

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