Yashish Dahiya is the CEO of PolicyBazaar, an online general insurance, and life insurance aggregator. His first job was at Illinois Tool Works, and he hated it so much that he delayed reporting for 45 days, saying he was sick. Fortunately, the CEO was a visionary and asked Dahiya what work he wanted to do, so the 23-year-old asked for the most challenging job. He has since learned so much working in various capacities, and the best lesson is that one should never lie to cover up a lapse in judgment. There is a lot to know about the CEO of this insurance company, as you will see from these facts.
1. He Has Grit
Maybe one of the reasons that Dahiya has been able to head the company successfully is his grit. The business executive showed this trait during the triathlon race in Sweden. By then, he weighed 96 kilograms and had not given much thought to his nutrition, which worked against him during the race. During the race, he ate some banana gel and drank some coke which proved to be a bad idea, and he started cramping in his stomach. Despite the intense pain and 37 kilometers more to go, Dahiya decided he would not quit; if he could not run, he would walk and complete the race.
2. He is a Sportsman
Dahiya may look like a stern CEO who spends hours in his corner office, but he does take a break from work to enjoy cycling, swimming, or running. He has been an avid sportsperson for so long and holds the fifth-fastest Ironman and third-fastest half Ironman triathlon timings across all Indian age groups. For him to remain a competent athlete, he is committed to training aggressively. It takes such a toll on his family life that by 9 pm, he starts feeling sleepy, and the CEO confessed that he might not turn up at most weddings as he takes time to recuperate.
3. How He Got Into Ironman
According to India Today, Dahiya started his first Ironman race after losing a close school friend. He was later introduced to Ironman by Sameer Malik, and the CEO wanted to try it. Another person, Saurabh Aggarwal, told him about Ironman Kamal and Dahiya registered for the 2015 race. He prepared himself by participating in a couple of Delhi International triathlons, which he won, making him confident enough to start his Ironman racing.
4. He Was the Entrepreneur of the Year 2010
Ernst & Young began the unique global program Entrepreneur of the Year to recognize the most ambitious leaders committed to building and sustaining successful businesses worldwide. Winners usually become lifetime members of a community of like-minded entrepreneurs. On February 19, 2019, Dahiya won the award in the Financial Services category, and EY said he was recognized for his disruptive thinking that enabled him to revolutionize the insurance industry.
5. His Advice for Aspiring Entrepreneurs
In his interview with YourStory, Dahiya advised entrepreneurs to think long-term instead of short-term. He added that they should always have the integrity to never lie to anyone else because they will end up lying to themselves if they do. Additionally, the CEO said that when starting a business, you should seek to have 50 people believe in your idea and not be too pegged on impressing them. With 50 people already believing in what you are doing, you can have the freedom to pick one person who shares the same vision as you to push your business to the next level.
6. He Believes Actively Participating in Sports Builds Character
Dahiya does not allow employees to report to work before 8 am because that is when he usually exercises. He said the high energy levels keep him active throughout the day. He, therefore, advised the youth not to be engrossed in books alone because sports are critical in character building. The CEO quipped that sportspeople do well outside of their competitive fields because they will already have a never-giving-up attitude even when they pursue other careers.
7. He Was Embarrassed about Attaining the Unicorn Status
Economic Times interviewed Dahiya, and when asked about achieving the unicorn status, the CEO said he was embarrassed. He explained that he was not arrogant, but it is because he knew the company's actual value. According to him, if the company went public at that particular time, it would have been valued at almost $2 billion. He added that he does not respect most of the companies that have attained the billion-dollar valuation.
8. His Greatest Achievement
Dahiya's most significant achievement is winning the cross country competition while he studied at IIM Ahmedabad. He did not care much about his grades or what kind of job he would get after graduating. Dahiya revealed that such an attitude enabled him to become unbiased even in his workspace. Therefore, although he acknowledges work is essential, he admits it is not as crucial as swimming or running.
9. His Children's Fees Were Higher Than His Salary
Dahiya chose to raise his family in the UK while staying in India as the CEO of PolicyBazaar. It came at quite a high cost because his salary was not much for the first six years at the insurance company. He disclosed that it was less than what he paid to put his two children through private schools in the UK. He said he only had a founder's salary, therefore, did not have much savings; he could not even invest in his own company.
10. He Avoided Family Investing in PolicyBazaar
Although Dahiya was strapped for cash, he did not want his family to invest in the company because that would put unnecessary pressure on him. Even if they offered, he declined and only accepted offers from his mother and father-in-law. He said that his father-in-law is a rational investor who managed an investment fund for the Indian Navy. On the other hand, his mother tried convincing him her money was in the company because she believed in her son. However, Dahiya knew she staked it because it was an investment that would yield something in return.
Written by Allen Lee
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