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Diversity and Global Leadership and Corporate Culture

By: Joe Aphinyanaphongs, Jeanine Bernstock, Mary Ellen Ferri, Manami Kuwamura and Margaret Martin
Posted: June 8, 2012

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The anchors represent leadership, which establishes the foundation of the organization with a strong vision and company mission.

The beams represent networks of communication, transmitting the information between the leaders and their workforce. This fosters a multi-dimensional dialogue that goes up, out, and across, in order to reach all stakeholders.

The deck represents the workforce, which supports the entire structure and now has a deeper sense of purpose through this new organization built on transparency and inclusion. The other anchor of the bridge is the consumer, which helps hold the structure together. In the bridge structure, leadership is extremely dependent on the consumers; therefore the consumers are redefined as partners. 

In a traditional hierarchy, pyramids can get bigger, but they can’t go anywhere, whereas bridges are open and flexible, yet sturdy and resilient. Bridges create connections, open new possibilities and connect what is not naturally connected.


In the bridge, leadership is supportive of the workforce and supported by the consumer. This interdependent partnership allows for the cultivation of global leaders that will connect us with over one billion new consumers.

Leadership cultivation at the bottom of the pyramid currently exists and has proven to be successful:

  • Project Shakti, started by Hindustan Lever Limited, provides Indian women at the bottom of the pyramid with the tools and education needed to sell and distribute Unilever products.12 This mutual value creation improves the livelihood of these women and the communities in which they live. It also becomes a novel distribution channel for Unilever. In 2010, the Shakti network reached more than 600 million consumers, and today, the program is being scaled out to Southeast Asia and Africa. 
  • Endeavor, a nonprofit organization, provides budding entrepreneurs in emerging markets with world class mentorship, strategic advice, and access to networks to grow them into successful business people. For example, Helena Assis, a Brazilian woman, started making hair products in her local community. After realizing she lacked the resources and training needed to take her business, Beleza Natural, to the next level, she reached out to Endeavor, and through them, grew her business to employ more than 1,300 people and deliver more than $30 MM in revenues each year.13

If the beauty industry were to cultivate a presence like this in new markets, we could be at the forefront of identifying new opportunities, capturing new distribution channels, and closing global leadership gaps. 


In the bridge, information connectivity allows for efficient collaboration to ignite innovation and create a feeling of community among the global workforce. This vibrant network will strengthen our ability to create the best products at the lowest cost for the most people in the shortest time. This will bring us closer to our goal of connecting with one billion new consumers.