7 Questions with Vaibhav Ajay Mishra
Name: Vaibhav Ajay Mishra
Current title: Co-founder, Director & CEO
Current organisation: fTek CS Private Limited, CashXL FinTech Private Limited
21 years of Consumer Banking, Fintech & Digital lending experience. Founder of two Fintechs- fTek CS Private Limited & CashXL Fintech Private Limited. Vaibhav is also Board member of two other RBI registered NBFCs- PC Finance & Kemex Engineering.
1. What have you found most challenging as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise?
* Strengthen the director evaluation process * Provide regular, year-round assessment in addition to the annual review * Discuss performance issues with other board leaders * Factors that can complicate the response to performance issues. * Risk Management: Figure out what’s an opportunity and what’s a threat. * Talent Alignment: Close the gaps between strategy and talent. * Information Overload: Everyone has information, learn how to connect the dots better.
2. How did you become a board member of a large enterprise? Can you please briefly tell the story?
After working for 17 years in largest private Bank I decided to start my own fintech venture. When I started setting up many others started appreciating the expertise and invited to setup another venture or be part of the board and guide the company. Old saying proved right- 'Hard work, sooner or later always pays back'.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I try to wake up around 5:30 am. The first thing I’ll do is check my phone. After that, I’ll typically read the newspaper for about 30 minutes and get ready for a 30 minute walk. Once I’m back from the walk I’ll take breakfast and then jump into the shower. From here I’m quick move out to office for work. Usually, I’ll only eat three meals a day in an twelve-hour window. Mondays are usually packed with meetings. I try to focus on the actual “work” on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Thursdays are more for reviews, planning, etc. I try to block off Fridays & Saturdays from any meetings to save time to think strategically or catch up on some big things. Sundays are usually to relax and finish pending emails or any other pending work remaining during the day. In the evenings, once I’m back at home I’ll take light dinner at around 9:30pm or 10pm. Then I’ll go back to work for around 2 hours and thereafter I’ll try to go to sleep by 1pm- 1:30 pm after reading for at least 30 minutes. Lastly, I’ll fill out my ‘5 Minute Journal’, and my day is done. One habit which I have cultivated is that I keep reviewing my last 2-3 hours, multiple times during the day which helps me in keep restructuring the day all the time. One thing I’ll add about being a Co-Founder/ CEO is that Monday mornings are very different these days for me than they were in my corporate days. I heard a sobering statistic once that more heart-attacks occur on a Sunday night than at any other time, as people prepare for another week of stressed-out existence, in their relentless battle up the corporate ladder. Someone far wiser than me summed it up, “Even if you win the rat race, you’re still a rat.” I truly believe that cultivating great habits compounds and you’ll eventually see the results you want no matter what.
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
Few are as below: # To be a good leader you need to a good human being. That’s the basic requirement. # Honestly is still the best policy. Karma moves in a circle. You will always have to pay back for all what you do. Never hesitate in doing what you feel is right. People will sooner or later understand. # Money is most important, but not most important. But before you say that, earn enough.
5. What are some of the keys to doing governance well in a large enterprise?
# Communicating dissatisfaction. # Develop or remove. # Complicated removals. # Never stop recruiting. # Expand the leadership team if a compelling candidate emerges. # Invest in orientation. # Choosing the right leader takes time, judgment and care. # Quickly figure out what’s an opportunity and what’s a threat. # Quick Closure between the gaps between strategy and talent. # Everyone has information, learn how to connect the dots better.
6. How do you differentiate between the role of board member and the roles of CEO or executive team member of a large enterprise?
Boards and CEOs both make high-level decisions. Exact difference between their roles is not set in stone but decided by company policy. Board also oversees CEO and corporate performance with an eye to the company's profitability and its long-term health. CEO makes decisions daily, carrying out the board's directives. CEOs make operational decisions and sets company policies.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a board member of a large enterprise so far?
Don't have anything significant to narrate here.