Airborne Ranger, Airborne Ranger, Where Have U Been? Around The World And Back Again. Airborne Ranger, Airborne Ranger, How Did Ya Go? In a C-130 Flying Low.
In the military, a cadence is used to keep a formation of soldiers in line and in step with each other. I used to hate marching in cadence, and even more than marching in cadence, I hated running in cadence. I always found myself wanting to either go faster or slower regardless of what the cadence was.
Whether you are running or walking in formation, it is imperative you stay in step with the group. The only way to move a formation of people together in the same direction at the same pace is to give them the cadence. Give them a steady step count that keeps everyone in line and in motion, going the same direction. The leader calls out the cadence and the formation of soldiers gets in step and follows the leaders cadence. One leader can literally move a group of over 100 soldiers in an organized and efficient manner simply with a loud and clear cadence.
The same is true in the civilian or corporate world. The key to teamwork is the team working together. Everyone is on the same page walking and working to the same cadence. Think about it, what is the purpose or goal of your staff meetings or team meetings? To ensure and equip your team to be on the same page. Typically, no actual work or execution of tasks occur during meetings. From a practical work perspective you aren't making any physical progress towards a goal. However, it is in those meetings that the direction and focus is given to ensure the work that lays ahead isn't wasted going in a million different directions. As a leader of a meeting, a leader of a group, it is imperative to first and foremost provide the cadence.
Providing a cadence in your organization will result in movement and momentum that is only created by a group of individuals moving in the same direction. I'm about to make some enemies here, but let's look at a prime example in sports. Why over the past 2 decades (writing this in 2020) have the New England Patriots been so successful, or better yet, why are they so consistently successful? I mean you might hate the Patriots, but you have to admit, that for decades, yes decades they have set the bar for excellence in sports. They don't always have the most talent or the top players. What they have is a cadence, a set pace and way of doing things, they call it the Patriot Way. It is a cadence that everyone gets in step with and moves together toward a goal. Even Tom Brady's longevity and success can be attributed to not only him setting the cadence for the team, but by him falling in line in a cadence set by the coach. Ok...Ok...those who checked out when I said New England Patriots, you can come back and start reading again.
Every team or organization needs someone who calls out the cadence, who gives the pace and the directions. They are the one who sets the step and keeps it consistent and moving forward. Chances are, you are that very person for a group of people who you lead and influence. You are a cadence caller. A CEO of a fortune 500 company, you are a cadence caller for hundreds of employees. A Pastor over a church of 300 people, you are a cadence caller for your staff and church. A mother of 4, you are a cadence caller for your kids and household. A 3rd grade teacher, you are a cadence caller for your classroom. You get the point.
As a cadence caller, you have the position of not only setting the direction for people to follow, but then providing them the pace and steps to stay together as they run after it.
Just as important as it is for there to be the leader who calls the cadence, you need a team who understands the importance of keeping the cadence. It is just as important to have people who are ready and willing to fall in line and get in step. Not everyone can be calling out a cadence, or setting the pace. Can you imagine if in that formation you didn't have just one sergeant calling out cadence, but 7-8 different people trying to call out their cadence? You would no longer have a formation moving together, you would have what we call in the army a gaggle (a group of people in a disorganized mess) The most valuable people in your organization might not be the ones that are the most talented. They may be the people who are able to outrun the cadence, but realize when they stay with the cadence they accomplish more and their impact increases. It's not about one guy running up the hill, it's about a formation of soldiers moving as a unit, pacing each other, staying in step, staying in cadence to sustain the pace and make progress. We are better together, and we stay together when we stay in step. What's your cadence?