If you’ve ever endured a spin class—and weren’t too sweaty and out of breath at the time—you might have unintentionally pondered two things that some managers should be be pondering on purpose.
One of those things is cadence. Cadence is periodic rhythm; like the cranking of your legs as they pedal with the music.
The other is ritual, which are the purposeful moments that dot your workout experience. The warm-up stretch, the reliable encouragement from your instructor, the cool down at the end.
But what does indoor cycling have to do with management technique?
Slice open a typical manager’s brain and you’ll find a lot of thinking about employee resources and time.
But managers who consider concepts like cadence and ritual are tapping into a way to harness their team’s energy. It might be the most important thing they can do, and there’s plenty of science that agrees.
Kick the drum, punch the clock
Think of cadence like a perpetual pulse. It’s the bass drum in the background, keeping the beat.
And while it can be steady, and generally predictable, when the beat changes the rest of the band tends to go with it.
Which is why cadence at your workplace is so important. From the individual routines of your staff (get out of bed, brush teeth, commute to work, grab a coffee, etc.) to longer wavelengths like your company’s fiscal year, cadence manifests itself everywhere. (At Asana we use episodes to define our cadence.)
Establishing a cadence to your team’s work can generate structure and predictability. Cadence gives a team a feeling of demarcation, progression, resolution or flow. A pattern which allows the team to know what they are doing and when it will be done.