Pivot Or Persevere: Advice From A Solutionist
By: Kim Furman, Synthesis Marketing Manager
Often, behind the humblest of individuals sits the greatest insight. This is what I found when I interviewed Tracy Morris in her unique role as Head Solutionist and Consulting Lead at Synthesis.
“A solutionist bridges the gap. We are here to look at how things currently function, how things are currently done and we look at where the gaps are and how we can make it better and easier for other people to function,” explains Morris. She will also now manage other solutionists in their roles to “make things better,” align to company goals, examine profitability and build innovations. From a consulting perspective, she ensures that she and all solutionists are working consistently according to best practises without impacting on individuality or innovation but rather enabling it.
However, Morris’ start like so many, was far from the field she would end up in. After two years of studying to be a chartered accountant, she pivoted to Economics and two years into that she moved to BCom Marketing where she finished her second year. She always had the courage to try something new after she had persevered in testing the waters. It takes resilience to change course. This is often something that is not shared with youth when they start their studies. We value perseverance and grit, as we should, but persevering on the wrong path is following someone else’s success.
During this time, she fell pregnant with her first child and started working at TransUnion as a call centre agent. She worked her way up to Senior Business Analyst. She left after thirteen years when she felt she had learned all she could and needed to explore the world to be the best version of herself. “I believe that experience is more valuable than any qualification that you can get in the world but it can make your life easier to get your foot in the door and that is the most important thing. Once you are in, it is about proving your worth when you are there and learning while you are doing it. I was lucky I got in and then worked my way up but it not as easy as it sounds.”
Morris shares what she learned about perseverance during this time, “Don’t be scared to not know. Don’t be scared to learn new things. Change is a part of everyday life and I think it no question that you have to able to learn but you have to be able to listen to people and teach other people. Learning is not about yourself, learning is about how you teach other people around you.”
Life as a solutionist
Morris joined Synthesis three and a half years ago where she worked with one other business analyst. The team she now manages has since seen substantial growth. She made it her purpose to be the expert in the field of cloud when she worked on a contract at one of the big four banks. She grew her knowledge about cloud adoption and delivery and, most importantly, client relationships. During this time, she consulted at all four of the big banks. She then started focusing on business improvement and refining internal processes to enable Synthesis to continually enhance what they do. Her new role is a leadership role, “we don’t do old school management,” explains Morris.
When asked how companies can improve based on her years of experience and through her solutionist perspective, she explains the following: “Always think of the bigger picture. Stop looking at your company in siloes. Everything is not always a technical answer. You have to understand your business as a whole to understand how to make it work. Use the methodologies out there and pivot. That is what the world is. We are continuously changing. Never be scared to grow, never be scared to learn and never be scared to make dynamic and very big changes. Because if you never look at the small blocks that make the bigger picture, you are missing something.”
“Treat people as individuals. No matter how you define your culture. There is always an individual that might not see what everyone else is seeing so focus on the individual more than focusing on the bottom line.”
However, just because she has now found the position that resonates with her, does not mean she can stop persevering. She has since obtained many certificates and undergone training in the areas that she believes will assist her most. When asked what her greatest challenge is, I was surprised to hear her answer, “I am 85% introverted based on personality tests. My biggest challenge is not letting that overtake my ability to do everything that I do. My biggest challenge is people but I work very hard to overcome it.”
Morris is now a mother of three children who challenge her every day to overcome her introvert mindset. Her eldest child is 17, her middle child is 13 and her youngest is six. She explains that the age gap has been challenging because “I have basically been a mother to a small child for 17 years.” But her children have been her greatest inspiration. “I have learned most of my life lessons from my children. They have taught me that you have to be resilient. You have to adapt to the change around you. You can’t let things pull you done.”
What I enjoyed most about speaking to Morris is how open and honest she is about working, navigating her personality and being a mother. Whatever she says is said with the greatest sincerity. She speaks with a passionate belief and certainty that make you want to hear more. I challenge you to ask those around you for their stories of how they came to their current job. The most mundane question can reveal the most inspiring stories.