Lessons Learned: My Pace is not Yours


In the process of organizing my 900+ posts to be more readily accessible I realize there might be some Change Management Lessons Learned to be culled. So Tuesdays will now be a quick lesson learned post. My guess is these will be about consulting, change management specifically, approach, perspective and hidden tidbits of insight.

Round One:

My Pace is not Yours

This took me a long time to learn.

Because I can often see how things could turn out, can envision a clients possible end state, I tend to get focused on the big picture, the planning and even a little visioning about the journey all at once (and pretty quickly). For that long time to learn I told myself this is about business and business needs to be quick to be profitable so my pace is the right pace. I have learned to stop telling myself that.

How many things out there in the big world, business included, move at the correct pace?

Isn’t EVERYTHING too fast?

Smack dab in the middle of my consulting career I ran a couple of marathons. It was then that I realized some things just can’t be rushed. Training, learning, development all take time. Most end states, in sports and business and life, take a form of all three to be successful.

An organizations pace, a leaders speed, a stakeholders change of perspective will ALWAYS be slower than mine. This I have learned. So patience, empathy and the ability to mediate people and pace have become competencies in my toolbox.

With this realization that I will be more amped up and ready than my clients and their stakeholders I am working to develop the ability to change pace depending on who I am working with.

Change practitioners take note- regulating your own pace is a competency. Clients and leaders take note- you might have to pick up your pace OR use your change practitioner to develop your change pace. Somewhere in the middle is a sweet spot.

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Cadence is a word used to describe sound in connection to rhythm.

Webster’s gives us:

1. a rhythmic sequence or flow of sounds in language

2.  the beat, time, or measure of rhythmical motion or activity


along with two other definitions that still have to do with sound.

Change practitioners have a way of getting to the “human-ness” of things. Using the word cadence to describe the pace and frequency of communications within an initiative is a great example of this. And it works. Communications themselves do not have their own sound (although they may contain sound… and comically some sort of cadence), but they might in some way create a little buzz (or more buzz depending on “cadence”). So the word fits. I have added it to my repertoire.

Cadence, for change management (and by extension operations) is the frequency of communications.

Yearly, Quarterly, Monthly, Weekly and irregularly occurring meetings are listed in a table or spreadsheet or as a series of bullets in a document (or done really well some sort of visual with links to supporting documents). You can map those communications to stakeholders, check against project level comms., line up with operational interaction and tweak with change specifics events.

  • You may just find the “pace” of the organization does not currently fit your defined end states.
  • You may see that you have created change/communication saturation.
  • You may notice, somehow, you missed people.
  • You may realize you are very virtual in your communications when, perhaps, you need to get people together.
  • You can put what you think works for CM next to the way the organization is interacting now to find paths to guide toward new behaviors.

With all these different ways to look at your communication, maybe feel… hear… (if you are using the true definition of cadence metaphorically), you can sense the “Cadence” of your organization and your change.

So we have a new word in our language bank, or at least a new meaning- Cadence to describe the pace and frequency of communication(s).

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