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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