Ivan Mbowa: Managing Partner, IKM Advisors
The Role of Consultants, Adapting His Leadership Style, and Knowing When In-Person Dealmaking is Desired
Ivan Mbowa is a serial entrepreneur and C-suite leader who has built and led organisations driving financial inclusion in East and West Africa. He has dedicated his entire career over the past 18 years to driving financial inclusion in Africa whether in international banking or with venture capital-backed fintech startups. Within this time, he worked across local banks (Fidelity Bank Ghana), growth-stage global startups (Tala & Umati Capital) and global financial institutions such as Citibank where he rose to Assistant Vice President within the first 6 years of his career.
Today Ivan leverages his varied experiences as a management consultant by working with entrepreneurs who are looking to raise or deploy recently raised capital by co-creating strategy and advising on implementation of the same. In the world of business, staying ahead of the curve and adapting to change is essential for success. Ivan shared valuable insights on how the business landscape is evolving during his recent interview on The Everyday Leader podcast. Here are the top three key takeaways from the interview.
Navigating the Realities of Remote and Hybrid Work Preferences
Remote work has become increasingly prevalent. Ivan believes that this trend will continue to accelerate, with companies seeking to work asynchronously with global teams. While there will still be a need for in-person interaction in some roles and deals, Ivan predicts that the ability to work remotely with teams across different time zones will become the norm. This shift has the potential to change the way we work and do business in the future. His current clients span the African region, where he can coordinate global partners to meet their needs remotely. At the same time, he has been requested from time-to-time to attend in-person meetings which can be impactful. He is aware that to close some deals, an in-person presence will not be “required, but highly desired” by the client.
The Role of Consultants is Evolving
Clients are no longer simply looking for advice from consultants. Instead, they are seeking consultants who can advise and execute in conjunction with the client. This means that clients are moving away from big-name brand consulting firms and towards more experienced former entrepreneurs and executives who can provide lived experiences and roll up their sleeves to get the job done. The ability to provide both advice and execution is becoming increasingly important in the consulting industry. This shift is what has motivated Ivan to launch IKM Advisors and influences how we structures engagements.
Adapting Leadership Styles To Suit the Context
As Ivan progressed in his career, he learned to adjust his leadership style to match the needs of the organization. Early on, he was a more assertive leader, but he recognized that this approach could discourage free-flowing conversation and prevent others from offering alternative viewpoints. He learned to hold back and encourage others to shine, emphasizing the importance of being a strong communicator and of being able to connect the dots horizontally across an organization to see the big picture.
Ivan's insights provide valuable perspective on the changing nature of work and consulting. As remote work becomes more prevalent, consultants must adapt their approach to provide both advice and execution. Leaders must be able to communicate effectively and encourage others to share their views. By embracing these trends, companies and consultants can stay ahead of the curve and succeed in an ever-changing business landscape.
In conclusion, Ivan's interview on The Everyday Leader podcast provides a thought-provoking glimpse into the future of work and consulting. As the business landscape evolves, it's important to embrace change and adapt to new trends. Remote work, evolving consulting roles, and adaptive leadership styles are just a few of the key factors that will shape the future of business. By staying informed and being willing to change, individuals and organizations can succeed in this rapidly changing environment.