In the Aftermath of Major Earthquake An Uncommon Leadership Exhibited By Global CIO
March 22, 2011

At the crossroads that provide you two paths to move on, most people will avoid the path that is full of uncertainty. One takes the path that is easy, known or has set of directions available. I know one person who has chosen to take the path that is full of uncertainty.  The person is Global CIO Kamalesh Dwivedi. He was at the cross roads, where the easy path would lead him to the humble abode in Denver, Colorado and near to his children in US while the other path keeps him in Tokyo with uncertainties related to future earthquakes of various intensities, the looming spread of radiation from the Fukushima Nuclear Plant (179 miles north of Tokyo).  Kamalesh decided to stay in Tokyo and provide leadership to the thousands of employees of BellSystem24, a commitment he made many months earlier when he took that responsibility, after being hired by Bain Capital in US.

So what drives Kamalesh?  For outsiders, it might be that he is a CIO of one a large company and hence prestige and compensation drove his decision to stay back in Tokyo. I can tell you that neither money nor status drive Kamalesh at all. He is man of commitment and the unmatched leadership skills he has built over the years during his career. His commitment towards the employees of BellSystem24, the hurt felt by the population of Japan, and his belief in the value system he grew up as a kid in India.

The value system stems from the original words since human existence. These words provide guidance on how to lead life and these words are available in the book called Bhagavad Gita. In it one of the shlok is “karmanye vadhika raste  ma phaleshu kadachna“, when translated and interpreted in English, it reads “One has a right to perform one’s prescribed duty without attachment to the results”.  Hence, Kamalesh’s prescribed duty is to lead the employees of his company in Japan and he is doing a great job of it.

Kamalesh’s resolution to stay back in Tokyo became firmer, even after the US Embassy’s recommendations to Americans to leave Japan, when he watched the following footage. The footage was of this dog that would not leave the side of another injured dog after the tsunami had hit one of the cities. If dogs, that we consider as the lower life forms can show so much compassion and concern for their fellows, then how should we behave? Human beings should have more compassion and concern for fellow human beings. This compassion or concern is not motivated by money. It is the internal aspects of human life, the spirit of One. In his decision to stay on the path of uncertainty his best friend and his wife Rita is also in Tokyo, they has strong support of their children in US and many of his friends across the globe.

Should the government have allowed him to go the tsunami hit areas to help others, he and his wife were ready to go. The travel restrictions and accessibility only for rescue workers has stopped him in doing so.

I was with Kamalesh before and after the earthquake and I have first hand experience of his uncommon leadership during the time of crisis.  On March 11, 2011 the day of the major earthquake, we walked together for few miles from Shinjuku to Kojimachi and then to Tamieke Sanno in the cold weather, as no trains or transport was available to go back to our apartments. During this walk I saw his determination and commitment to his company, employees, and the local people getting stronger with every step of the way.

I admire and support his decision to stay put, to provide leadership to his team and company; even during these hard times. I know some of our mutual friends and past co-workers are fully supportive of his actions.

To walk the path full of uncertainty, it takes courage, commitment and desire to be human first. Kamalesh Dwivedi is one such person who has those values. My salute to him.
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