Sustainable Growth:


Harnessing the Power of Diversity

Leveraging the Power of Integrated Opposites

By: Vadim Kotelnikov

Founder, Ten3 Business e-Coach Inspiration and Innovation Unlimited!


"Strength lies in differences, not in similarities." ~ Stephen Covey

"What sets GE apart is a culture that uses diversity." ~ Jack Welch



Leveraging Diversity Managing Creativity Creative Problem Solving (CPS) Systemic Innovation Cultural Intelligence Cross-pollination of Ideas Cross-fucntional Teams 9 Ways To Involve Employees Diversity Definition, Harnessing Diversity, Benefits of Leveraging Diversity, How To Leverage Diversity

The GE Leadership Effectiveness Survey (LES)

  • Fully utilizes diversity of team members (cultural, race, gender) to achieve business success.

  • Values and promotes full utilization of global and work force diversity.

  • Demonstrates global awareness / sensitivity and is comfortable building diverse / global teams... More

Diversity as a Managerial Approach

Unleashing the Power of Integrated Opposites

  • develop innovative services and products for diverse customer groups by sharing of diverse experiences and cultural insights of workers

  • solve problems creatively by looking at "the same landscape with different eyes" and cross-pollination of ideas

  • achieve synergy by leveraging the power of critical opposites

Solving Problems Created by Diversity1

  • treat people first and foremost as individuals

  • acknowledge the special circumstances or particular context that may lead to exclusion for some groups of people

  • work to change that situation

  • develop a workforce within which people are valued for the contribution they make

Managing Dynamic Organizational Dichotomies



The Balanced Manager

Effective management by leadership demands a delicate balance between:

  • sensitivity and authority

  • the whole, i.e. organizational needs, and the parts, be they large (functions) or small (teams or individuals). You must require that your individual players forgo the quest for personal best in concert with the group effort.

  • loose and tight leadership style

  • functional expertise (depth of knowledge) and cross-functional excellence (width of knowledge)

  • internal (creating value for organization and employees) and external (creating value for investors, customers, and society as a whole)... More

Maintaining a Fresh Perspective with Your Employees

10 Tips

  1. Hire a diverse group of individuals... More

SYNERGISTIC ORGANIZATION (Ten3 Mini-course) - How To Build a Modern Winning Organization


New Product Development by Cross-functional Teams

Recommendations to Top Executives6

  • Keep the team small. Increased functional diversity on the teams does not necessarily increase innovation. Social cohesion between the members of a team can suppress the exchange of views, since cohesive groups focus on maintaining relationships and seeking concurrence. Cut back on number of functional areas represented on the team, so as help the team crystallize its identity... More



Creating a Culture of Questioning

Examples of "Why?" and "What If?" Questions:

  • Why should we look at cultural differences as a problem? What if we try to leverage the power of our diversity?... More

Virtual Teams: Best Practice

The study is based on a sample of 54 teams in 26 companies who rarely if ever met as a whole face-to-face.8

“Far-flung” teams are more productive than their face-to-face counterparts if they keep three practices:

  1. They exploit diversity. The team can't just be diverse; it has to make the most of it. The best teams teams credit their creative breakthroughs to challenging people from different disciplines, cultures, and the like to come up with something better together... More

Diversity Defined

Diversity is a specialized term describing a workplace that includes:

  • people from various backgrounds and cultures, and/or

  • diverse businesses.

The Power of Taking a Different View

Diversity of thought, perception, background and experience enhance the creativity and innovation.

It was by taking a different view of a traditional business that major innovations were achieved. To find a better creative solution to the current practice, force yourself to reframe the problem, to break down its components and assemble them in a different way.

Balanced Organization: 5 Basic Elements

Wood (Corporate Capabilities):

Leveraging Opposite Forces

You can inspire innovation and find a strategic competitive advantage in an organizational and cultural context by seeking to leverage, rather than diminish, opposite forces. People with different cultural, educational, scientific, and business backgrounds will bring different frames of reference to a problem and can spark an exciting and dynamic cross-pollination of ideas.

"An important but widely overlooked principle of business success is that integrating opposites, as opposed to identifying them as inconsistencies and driving them out, unleashes power," writes Mark Stevens.3 "This is true on both a personal level (the balanced manager is more effective than his or her peer at one end of the control spectrum) and on organizational level as well... On an organization level we accept the existence of hard and soft dichotomies because this binary perspective helps to rationalize personal styles, viewpoints, and structures. Polarized thinking is simplistic and misleading. In the business world, ideal approaches are generally painted in gray as opposed to black and white." To be successful in today's complex, rapidly changing and highly competitive world, you must embrace and manage critical opposites.



Integrated Diversity

"Integrated diversity" is a term used by Jack Welch, the legendary former CEO of General Electric, to define a synergistic learning culture. He described "integrated diversity" as the elimination of boundaries between businesses and the transferring of ideas from one place in the company to another. "Integrated diversity means the drawing together of our thirteen different businesses by sharing ideas, by finding multiple applications for technological advancements, and by moving people across businesses to provide fresh perspectives and to develop broad-based experience. Integrated diversity gives us a company that is considerably greater than the sum of its parts."4

Integrated diversity only works when the elements of that diversity, independent businesses, are strong in their own right. "GE wouldn't succeed by propping up small businesses with larger ones or having weaklings rely on winners. That was why Welch had always emphasized the importance of creating strong, stand-alone businesses."2

Creativity of Groups

Interplay among individuals is essential to the innovation process. While individual creativity is important, and even crucial to business, the creativity of groups is equally important. The creation of today's complex systems of products and services requires the merging of knowledge from diverse disciplinary and personal perspectives. Innovation – whether it be revealed in new products and services, new processes, or new business models – is rarely an individual undertaking. Creative cooperation and cross-pollination of ideas is critical... More

 Case in Point  General Electric (GE)

Jack Welch liked to say that GE's uniqueness was based on its being a multibusiness enterprises with a learning culture; that made its diversity a competitive advantage rather than a handicap. At General Electric (GE) the sum is greater than its parts as both business and people diversity is utilized in a most effective way. A major American enterprise with a diverse group of huge businesses, GE is steeped in a learning culture and it is this fact that makes GE a unique company... More

25 Lessons from Jack Welch

 Case in Point  Hewlett-Packard Way

To create an organization that could sustain its competitive advantage regardless of marketplace whims and what their competitors were building, HP founders based their corporate culture on the integration and reinforcement of critical opposites. This became known as the Hewlett-Packard Way. HP has achieved "what appears to be the greatest dichotomy: creating an environment that celebrates individualism, but at the same time one that is also wholly supportive of teamwork. Although HP people are taught to engage in cross-functional teams, they are also rated on the performance of decentralized business units and personal achievement."3... More 

 Case in Point  Cargill





  1. "Developing a Culture for Diversity in a Week", Chris Speechley and Ruth Wheatley

  2. "Jack Welch and the GE Way", Robert Slater

  3. "Extreme Management", Mark Stevens

  4. Jack Welch, Letter to Share Owners in General Electric 1990 Annual Report

  5. "Six Thinking Hats", Edward de Bono

  6. "How To Kill a Team's Creativity", Sethi R., Smith D. and Park W., Harvard Business Review

  7. Harnessing Cultural Intelligence (CQ), Vadim Kotelnikov

  8. Synergistic Organization, Vadim Kotelnikov


The Tao of Business Success

Cross-functional Teams

Winning Organization

Balanced Organization: 5 Basic Elements

Cultural Intelligence

World Unity in Cultural Diversity

Managing Cross-Cultural Differences

Case Studies

Progroup's Various Sources of Knowledge

Joint Engineering Design by Ford and ABB