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Denison Consulting is a global consulting services firm providing client-centric, innovative culture change and leadership development solutions. As one of the world’s leading authorities on culture, change, and leadership, the company’s role is primarily in helping organisations around the world better understand their culture to enhance and sustain organisational effectiveness.

Denison Consulting offers the highest quality professional guidance to organizations across the globe operating within a wide range of industries, ownership structures, geographies and business challenges. The company has its origins in the US but has expanded into Europe with Switzerland as its European base. We believe clients prefer a localised service with consultants who understand their context. We also provide a secure European data centre.

The company’s work in the thought leadership space helps clients ask and answer their most challenging and complex questions, such as: How do you build a culture that supports both safety and profitability?  Do we know if our staff are aligned to our strategy? Can we really deliver the promises we make to our customers? How do you design a physical workplace that advances the culture? … And many more.

The most challenging questions tend to require out-of-the-box solutions, so the team of expert consultants there have a strong track record developing and implementing innovative solutions. In short, Denison Consulting helps firms in the private and public sector, including NGOs, improve internal effectiveness to drive external competitiveness.

The globalization of markets combined with ongoing economic uncertainties creates inherent risk, and early awareness and understanding of risk and its impact is critical.  This business context not only requires constant transformation and renewal, but also creates the imperative to accelerate a more change-oriented corporate culture, and therefore a very strong need for organisational agility.

To outperform competition in such economic environments requires a deep understanding of the organisational culture at individual, team, and organisational level. This means looking systemically at critical culture traits at all levels of the organisation to understand how culture and strategy creates economic value. Organisational leaders are often challenged to fully understand the critical interdependencies between people and business processes. We spoke to managing director Karl-Heinz Oehler to understand the service and the company a little better…

Tell us a bit more about the ‘Denison Model’. What is it exactly, and how was it formulated?

The Denison model of Organisational Culture (DOC) highlights four key traits that an organisation should master in order to be effective. At the centre of the model are the ‘Beliefs and Assumptions’ held about the organisation. These are the deeply held aspects of an organisation’s identity that are often hard to access. The four traits of the Denison model; Mission, Adaptability, Involvement and Consistency, measure the behaviours driven by these beliefs and assumptions that create an organisation’s culture.

What makes this model so unique are two features; our research, and our proven link to organisational performance. The Denison model provides organisations with an easy-to-interpret, business-friendly approach to performance improvement that is evidence-based. Our Culture Solutions have been deployed successfully in over 5,000 organisations around the world in a wide variety of situations such as culture change, transformation and turnaround, new leader transitions, and mergers and acquisitions, and the Denison model links organisational culture to organisational performance metrics such as sales growth, return on equity (ROE), return on investment (ROI), customer satisfaction, innovation, employee satisfaction, quality and more.

The Denison Organisational Culture Model provides a systemic solution approach around cultural diagnostic tools and methodologies (Denison Organisational Culture Survey – DOCS), rooted in over 25 years of research that links specific and measurable culture characteristics directly to financial results. It includes ratings from over 1,000 organisations across the world, whilst the leadership benchmarks include ratings from over 15,000 Leaders.

Tell us a bit more about your clients, which industry sectors do they come from?

Our clients come from very different industry sectors: financial services, insurance; government; education; not for profit; health-care; manufacturing and petro-chemical; private equity; professional services; retail and hospitality; telecommunications and media; utilities and energy; technology; transportation and hospitality. We can cater for any size organization; the common denominator for all these companies is that they see the need to transform their culture, to significantly enhance their organizational effectiveness.

And do you have a preference for the type of client you work with?

The preference is not who we work with, but how we work with clients. Any client engagement starts with the discovery phase. It is of paramount importance to understand the cultural challenges the client faces. The pre-requisite for any client engagement is set outcome expectations to ensure that the clients are committed to driving cultural change in order to achieve significant higher levels of financial performance.  The consequence is to ensure ‘change readiness’ which is the ability to building and sustaining buy-in for company-wide change initiatives. The ‘how’ and ‘what’ is more important to Denison than the ‘who’.

How do you drive the development of the business?

Denison develops client engagements in three ways; directly, through partners, or via a combination of both. We have a growing network of certified partners capable to deliver culture change projects in the appropriate local language. Our culture survey exists in over 40 languages acknowledging the local component of culture. Consequently we are constantly looking for local partners interested to work with us. To support our growing partner network, Denison selectively hires internal employees who proactively support the business development efforts of our local partners.

What is the single biggest advantage to companies using Denison Consulting?

We show clients where to focus in order to achieve superior business results. With extensive experience in complex change initiatives, and with a global network of professionals experienced in culture change and leadership development, we deliver timely solutions to clients’ most pressing challenges. Our strengths lies in translating seemingly complex concepts in an easy to understand approach that helps leaders identify the factors that most impact value creation. This positions our framework as an effective solution which is pragmatic yet innovative, enabling organisational leaders to create value in unexpected ways.

Finally, Denison`s change management process is business focused, providing organisations with proven decision making methodologies that translate results into measurable action. This is achieved by showing the critical interdependencies between business and people processes, and how these interdependencies impact business results. Thus, Denson integrates leadership, strategy, culture, and financial ambitions into a seamless execution plan, with an effective mechanism to measure progress throughout the organization (Change Monitor)

How do you see the future of Denison Consulting developing, alongside market trends?

We strongly believe that the future outlook for Denison Consulting is very positive. More and more senior executives understand that the choice is not between Strategy or Culture, but about the integration of Strategy and Culture. Employees are not committed to strategy; employees are committed to culture. One of the driving factors for financial success of any company are the employees. We strongly believe that companies with leaders who are able to build a culture in which employees are passionate and proud to apply their energy and ambition in the interest of the companies for which they work will be winners.