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A Lesson in Humility

By Chris Lane

December 8, 2023

Naveen Agarwal speaking with a microphone at the Creative Destruction Lab session on Nov 3, 2023. MBA student Caroline McCloskey looks on.
Chris Lane
Chris Lane

Naveen Agarwal, involved in promoting the development of new ideas for more than 30 years, including recently as chief customer officer at Prudential Financial, has experience in AI, InsurTech, marketing, and much more. Wonderfully for the students in the Risk Management and Insurance MBA specialization at the Wisconsin School of Business, Naveen was willing to share some of his wisdom, developed from those years of high-intensity experience, with us recently.

We peppered Naveen with questions, including where he believes new ideas generate, what insurance will look like in the future, how he got started in the business, and what skills he believes are most relevant to success in today’s environment (and more). He was generous in answering each question thoughtfully and thoroughly.

As he answered our questions one aspect became clear. He is extraordinarily humble and trusts his employees. When asked, “If in a conflict, do you have the final word or does your team?” he replied, “My team, always.” This style of leadership where you have such absolute faith in your team is the standard we should all strive to match. Along with demonstrating his skill at managing others, he discussed how important it is to get to the real problem that the company is facing. Instead of residing in his executive office at prudential he went to several of the call centers to hear from the source, where the frictions were. Here is a man who leads by example and trusts in his team.

Thank you once again, Naveen, for coming to discuss with us and providing a goal that we can all hope to reach. We understand why you have become a Fellow with the Creative Destruction Lab-Risk, and look forward to seeing you offer these services to founders of new start-ups throughout the year.