Chiliad and Its Big Rocks

September 14, 2012

Some memes are just annoying, and others are actually useful. The analytics pros at Chiliad have adopted the “Big Rocks” meme to productive effect, we learn in their blog post, “Big Rocks Rock Chiliad.”

In case you haven’t heard this particular analogy, it tells the tale of a professor who showed his (her?) students the advantage of putting the most important things first. He filled a jar with (comparatively) big rocks then asked students whether it was full. When they said yes, he poured in some pebbles, which of course filled in around the rocks. He did the same with sand, then water. The jar keeps accepting more and more, but only if you put the big stuff in first.

Blogger Craig Norris explains how his company has incorporated this lesson into their culture:

“At Chiliad, however, we use the nomenclature of Big Rocks to ensure that we are maintaining our focus on the important versus the urgent, and on our critical priorities versus the typical laundry list of things we all need to get done.  Big Rocks are now an integral part of our every day culture and normative terminology. . . .

“I have found using the nomenclature of Big Rocks carries a very strong message in a short-hand form that facilitates communication and improves performance by making sure we do not get tangled up in lesser issues.  When we ask, ‘what are your Big Rocks?’, everyone immediately knows what we want to dialog about without any long-winded explanations.”

I’m happy to see that at least one company is able to make use of the story to facilitate communication and maintain focus on the big picture. That in itself is a lesson for all of us—accept the wisdom of popular memes, even when they are no longer shiny and new. Thinking outside the box, anyone?

Chiliad produces analysis tools for many types of data across many types of sources. The company primarily serves the intelligence, defense, law enforcement, healthcare, and pharmaceutical fields. Founded in 1998, Chiliad is headquartered in Herndon, Virginia.

Cynthia Murrell, September 14, 2012

Sponsored by, developer of Augmentext


One Response to “Chiliad and Its Big Rocks”

  1. Ronald on September 15th, 2012 2:48 am

    Hey! I’m at work browsing your blog from my new iphone 4! Just wanted to say I love reading your blog and look forward to all your posts! Carry on the excellent work!

  • Archives

  • Recent Posts

  • Meta