Bry Rob Starr, Big4.com Content Manager
Denise Hummel, CEO and founder of Universal Consensus, recently joined EY as a Principal in the Human Capital practice. Her previous work includes consulting for leading global corporations and government entities including the U.S. State Department and the Pentagon. Before founding Universal Consensus, she provided international communications services in Italy and was an international law practitioner focused on cross-cultural employment issues of disability, gender, race and age. She recently answered some questions about her new position for Big4.com
What skills will you bring with you to EY from Universal Consensus?
My skills as an attorney have and will always serve me in good stead, but the skillset that serves me best is being a keen observer of humanity across cultures: What motivates people
to succeed? What reinforces relationships that lead to business success? What pain points appear consistently and therefore can be resolved consistently?
I also bring a focus on innovation. My mind is always thinking about business optimizations related to people strategy and methodology for solutions. At EY, I now have a mechanism for turning those ideas into tangible reality for our clients.
How is enhancing organizational, national, gender and generational culture a proven component of corporate risk management and financial success?
There are several studies related to the ways in which a high performance business culture leads to financial success. The only item for debate is what constitutes a high performance business culture. As we define it, business culture is comprised of four culture variables: organizational, national, gender and generational. We have established a methodology that assesses the baseline culture (the “as is” culture when we enter the engagement) and we are able to measure it against certain dimensions of performance. We then establish interventions that close the performance gap and align those metrics with institutional performance metrics such as financial performance, employee performance, satisfaction and engagement, customer satisfaction, operational cost and risk parameters. We continue to work with our clients until those metrics align with their expectations. Business culture and its relationship to financial performance is a fluid process that requires continuous optimization to be sustainable. Our engagements do not involve a singular silver bullet, but rather a committed relationship with our clients to optimize their growth strategy through investment in their people.
How will the Business Model of Intercultural Analysis (BMIA™) benefit EY clients?
The BMIA™ (Business Model of Intercultural Analysis™) is a culture diagnostic, training and business optimization framework. The model has six lenses and 12 continuums that identify the most critical culture patterns and the gaps to close in order to reach maximum synergy (increasing revenue and decreasing cost and risk.) The model guides enterprise strategy, professional interaction, operational efficiency, global expansion, and optimization of global initiatives in every segment of enterprise. In transactions our utility is during the Diligence Phase because we can help to make sure that our clients are considering the valuation and risk issues associated with international targets. In the Integration Phase of the deal, we can perform the complete culture integration but also be key in making sure all the other integration modules from T&R to comp to org design are moving together in synergy. With regard to our Global Mobility clients, we can optimize mobility performance by helping those clients to better serve their internal international stakeholders and increase the likelihood of international assignment success through our cross-cultural talent assessment tool and executive coaching.
In HR Performance Improvement, our principal tool is our cross-cultural competence boot camp training. Our clients will be the determinant of how we move forward with this model by taking advantage of our past track record and also breaking new ground.
What are the challenges/opportunities in your new position?
In terms of opportunities, well, the sky’s the limit. EY has such strong resources, intellect, and connections that it’s more about focusing on where to start than it is about limitations.
What can you say about EY’s Culture Strategy services and what the future holds?
I’m extremely optimistic about EY’s Culture Strategy services because we’re so highly focused on measurable results. The push-back in this area has always been that although everyone instinctively knows that business culture is strongly linked to performance, but until now, consultants world-wide have not focused on how to quantify that impact. If you don’t know where you are, you can’t know where you’re going and if you can’t measure the baseline, you can’t confirm that you’ve arrived at the finish line. In the case of business optimization of growth strategy, the finish line keeps moving. We’re staying ahead of each curve to meet and greet our clients in the event they approach that finish line and welcome them to move around the next bend for their entire life cycle. The future is now and I, for one, hope to be present for it at every turn.