Every business organization needs relevant leadership development for realizing its full potential. This is where companies like Bluestone Process Dynamics come into the picture. The company positions itself as a trusted advisor and counselor to businesses. Its dedicated team of leadership experts develops, coaches, and mentors leaders to clarify and attain their aspirations. Since its inception 16 years ago, Bluestone has emerged as a sought-after service provider in helping companies lead change and drive business transformation. This comes from their ability to listen to their clients, translate into actionable programs, then execute on the plan.
In a recent interview with the editorial team at Manage HR, Alistair Firmin, Bluestone’s President and CEO, and Marilyn Bota, the company’s founder and CCO, shed light on evolving changes in the leadership and business transformation space. They also talk about the company’s client engagement model and value proposition.
“We have the advantage of being a boutique practice and that translates to flexibility. We begin by listening to our clients, then design, deliver and execute on the best approach that ties to each organization’s unique strength profile to have lasting positive impact,” says Marilyn.
Could you give us a brief overview of Bluestone?
Marilyn: Right from the beginning of my leadership journey at GE, I had the good fortune of experiencing a variety of roles in multiple cultures; that enabled me to gain an expansive business perspective. Finding talent that can both “teach and do” well has also been instrumental in the foundation of Bluestone. We focus on three core offerings - leadership and talent development, business transformation, and corporate governance.
Bluestone helps clients become better in the market and understand what their customers want. Our experts design and execute tailored programs based upon unique organizational needs. We deliver an array of solutions from building client “universities” to one-on-one executive and individual coaching. Our goal has always been to make our clients realize their fullest potential.
In light of your experience, how has the leadership development space evolved, and how does Bluestone help clients align with them?
Marilyn: We have observed three trends unfolding across enterprises. First, the pandemic has validated the distributed workforce. In this realm, Bluestone helps clients come to grips with creating a hybrid workforce via in-person and virtual interactions.
Next, business transformation is increasingly dependent on process improvement. To this end, our experts help clients implement initiatives such as Lean, Six Sigma, and Agile to improve performance, quality and better manage their projects.
Lastly, we move the needle on employee retention since associates are harder to find and expensive to get up to speed. Some are vulnerable to the “grass is greener” syndrome with other companies and new careers, before doing a deep dive into the downside of such changes. Bluestone keeps a pulse on aligning the organization’s culture to increase employee retention. We bring to the table an employee-manager retention assessment program to help cultivate employee ownership and job satisfaction. Bluestone also focuses on senior leaders and their roles as agents of change - “Great leaders inspire great people.”
Could you walk us through Bluestone’s portfolio of offerings?
Alistair: We have a wide range of intellectual property and tailored modules for first-line managers, emerging leaders, and experienced senior executives. Clients can choose between live or virtual sessions for delivery.
We design and deliver the best approach that ticks with every organization’s unique strength profile to have a lasting impact, not only to survive but to thrive in a hypercompetitive world.
In terms of business transformation, our consultants are experts in areas such as strategic planning, performance assessments, and change acceleration. We work with our clients to design appropriate strategies that achieve desired outcomes.
Bluestone professionals provide corporate governance services to nurture ethical business practices. We work to make compliance easy to understand and practice. Further, Bluestone offers quality excellence programs and various half and full-day courses to achieve the shared vision of the organization. Our team also specializes in record retention and management programs.
Who are your typical clients? Could you elaborate on your client onboarding process?
Alistair: We serve a broad range of companies, including start-up enterprises, non-profit organizations, and for the most part Fortune 500 companies - our techniques are organization size agnostic. Our specialists take time to examine the business objectives, needs, and challenges from our clients’ perspective. We create a deeper understanding on what they are trying to accomplish and their commitment towards attaining leadership excellence. Our team thereby resonates with our clients’ goals. Then, our experts create solutions to meet the expectations. This is typically followed by a pilot phase, where we take client feedback with an open heart and incorporate it before the final run. We then go on to implement the solution and continuously measure its effectiveness. As such, Bluestone partners in every step from opening discussions to execution and leaving clients better-off with a lasting impact. To sum it up, our passionate leaders help our clients realize value.
What differentiates Bluestone from other players in the market?
Alistair: Our repeat clients speak volumes about our value proposition. We partner to best understand needs, which our expert team then translates into an action plan, and finally we execute for impact. In addition, we are methodology agnostic to ensure we match the solution with client culture. Most of our associates are senior-level executives who worked at companies known for building leadership skills and customer focus such as GE, Johnson & Johnson, and Amazon, which allows Bluestone to provide top talent with the latest industry practices.
What does the future look like for Bluestone?
Marilyn: Since I founded the company 16 years ago, Bluestone has grown in every dimension. We now service clients on three continents and our offerings are fully available in virtual, hybrid, and on-site formats. As we look to the future, Alistair rejoined Bluestone in January after 13 years in corporate leadership roles and will focus on continuing to expand the breadth, depth and geographic location of our team, as well as our offerings, so that we can continue to deliver the best solutions for our clients.
Alistair: We will continue to empower our clients to develop their internal talent and capabilities so they become self-sustaining and less reliant upon outside assistance. Our experts will focus on helping our clients to become more agile. The Bluestone team is itself agile and has always been about recognizing industry trends. We will continue to align our offerings with those trends to deliver impact to our clients when and where they need it.