A Cool Way to Ignite Change


(By popular demand, this post is bit more about Bluefire and me (Janet) than I usually share. So thank you.)

Why the name “Bluefire”? 

The blue part of a flame is the inner core, hottest part. Blue also feels cool and calm. So if you want to get something done, focus on what matters most and then ignite change.

What we’re solving and creating with clients right now

♦ How healthy is our culture? It’s survey time in the Boston area.

Survey results are in now for companies participating in The Boston Globe’s Top Places to Work program. As an Energage-certified consultant, I am working with leadership teams at a number of companies to interpret their survey results, dig for deeper insights and pinpoint where to focus change efforts. (I actually can’t believe any company would fly blind without this kind of data.)

♦ Making a big rebrand real for employees.

“Who are we now?” “What do I do differently now?” Or, “maybe I’ll just hold my breath and wait for this to fade away, like the last initiative did.” These are what we needed to address with a company undergoing a massive repositioning of the business, with a new name, brand promise and brand behaviors. We pulled together a working group of employees in Brand, HR and Corporate Communications to build an Inform-Excite-Engage-Sustain action framework. Now we’re working to embed brand pillars into the entire employee experience and train teams to implement new ways throughout key processes and touchpoints, internal and external.

♦ The First 90 Days plan for a new leader.

A senior client moved from one company to another and we’re helping her assess expectations and opportunities for her role and team, identify quick wins and longer range priorities and create a three-phase implementation roadmap. (Here’s a great resource we sometimes draw from in this kind of planning.)

What we're reading: Have you Heard? It's now the Harvard Culture Review

We have all the alerts and feeds and we completely geek out on all things culture strategy, especially where it’s grounded in data. We read it all (well, some skimming does happen.) Are you an HBR fan? If so, have you noticed that Harvard Business Review could pretty much be called “Harvard Culture Review” these days?

Let’s look at the most recent issue.

  • Cover story and Spotlight package are about curiosity: the Business Case for encouraging employees to ask more questions and considering curiosity as a performance driver, a key organizational capability.

  • Then there’s “Communication: Creating a Vivid Vision” – How to convey a sense of purpose and galvanize action? I love this: “Yet when articulating visions, leaders overwhelmingly gravitate to mushier, abstract language.” Amen. Please stop. Let us help you. (Not online, but p. 26 in the hardcopy.)

  • Innovation and design thinking – Want to know what stifles innovation? Entrenched biases and behaviors. What you need is a kind of social technology, a structured system for surfacing insights, considering ideas, testing models, navigating differences. This becomes a hallmark of a high performance culture.

  • How did “grit” get to be a thing? And according to HBR, now we should be aspiring to Organizational Grit as well as cultivating our own.“Turning passion and perseverance into performance.” OK, let’s do that while also leaning in and disrupting the status quo…

  • Self-compassion and sleep are not for wimps. “Self-compassion triggers people to adopt a growth mindset,” and boosts employees’ drive to improve, research says. And in “Sleep Well, Leader Better” leaders are warned that discounting the value of sleep (boasting about their own minimal sleep habits, or praising those who answer 3am emails…) can negatively impact not just emotions but also behaviors on their teams… One solution: embrace napping. “A brief nap can speed up cognitive processing, decrease errors and increase stamina for sustained attention…”


And we couldn’t resist sharing some recent client love...

“Bluefire helped us realize there were obstacles in our culture that were long instilled. She was honest, encouraging and realistic about the problems we have and how long it might take to address them.”

“She is providing insight and intelligence as an objective third party, helping us get at the information we need to better run our company and better understand and engage employees.”

“She has been instrumental in helping us to forge our path forward to build our team with the right strengths. This has radically changed how we support the company.”

 Want to know more? Just ask. janet@bluefirepartners.com | 617.549.9366