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Heavy Stones

Kirsti Elliott in General


This summer we took our kids primitive camping in Glacier National Park in Montana. It was a week full of hiking, sightseeing and campfires.

We had minimal connection to the outside world because there was no internet, and cell service was sparse at best. That’s what made it such an incredible trip! We enjoyed a week of much needed, uninterrupted time with our kids; something I highly recommend to any parent.

It’s funny what your kids teach you; and what life teaches you when you spend time with your kids. On one of our many hikes, my 5-year-old kept stopping to play in the streams of water slowly making their way from snow at the top of the mountain to waterfalls at the base of the mountain. He would pick up rocks, place them in the stream of water, and watch as the water carried the rock down the mountain. He was fascinated and excited each time it worked. He was also incredibly frustrated each time it didn’t. What my son didn’t understand, and required my explanation, was that some of the rocks were just too heavy for the stream to carry. So, they just sat there, causing a disruption to the flow of water.

As we continued to hike, I thought about those rocks – how the light ones went along with the flow of the water, adding to the uniqueness of each stream, creating something beautiful along the way and at the base of the waterfall. The heavy stones, however, just sat there, causing a disruption and ruining the steadily flowing stream as it worked its way down the mountain.

For nearly 20 years, I have encountered IT solutions just like those stones. Some are lightweight and when introduced, work seamlessly with the ebb and flow of the business. They are exciting to watch as they make subtle changes, enhancing the company as it moves from one stage of growth to another. Others, are like heavy stones. They don’t go with the flow because they are too much for the true requirements of the business. Instead, they cause disruption to the business, irritate and frustrate the employees, and sometimes, create disgruntled customers.

As you evaluate a new solution, consider the following.

1. What are you trying to accomplish?

Are you creating a new product or line of business? Are you looking to enhance a product or process currently in place? Are you trying to fix something that’s broken? Are you looking to enable an aggressive growth strategy?

2. Does what you’re trying to accomplish truly require new technology, or just optimizing what you currently have in place?

It’s easy to think something new will fix what’s broken. Often, the answer is simpler than that. In the case of a broken process, adding technology, as opposed to reevaluating the process and making the necessary adjustments, could ultimately create disruption to the flow of your business, resulting in irritated customers or frustrated employees.

3. What impact will this have on your current employees, processes and customers? Do you have a transformation plan in place?

Technology often helps you accomplish your goal, but without the proper transformation plan in place, lightweight technology could still sink like a heavy stone. This part of the plan is often overlooked or underestimated in its complexity. Don’t let that be your mistake. Thoroughly prepare and plan for the introduction of your solution to give you the greatest opportunity for success.

Just like my uninterrupted time with my children, don’t underestimate the value of thorough evaluation and planning when considering new technology and solutions. Don’t miss the opportunity this affords you to learn a tremendous amount about your employees, customers and processes. What you learn, may very well take you in a completely new direction.

Coral Edge has been fortunate to be a part of this exploration process in both large corporations and startups – working alongside executives resisting the urge to throw in any stone without weighing it to see if it will sink and disrupt or flow seamlessly with the business. Are you currently feeling that pressure to just pick a stone, put it in your business stream and hope it doesn’t sink? Let us help you evaluate your IT strategy and get it right the first time!

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