The other day I was at Macy’s doing some pre-fall shopping. Despite the scorching heat and humidity outside, the shopping experience was a breath of fresh air. It was a much needed escape from the traditional department store experience. There was near-perfect synchronicity among store personnel. College students on summer vacations were helping full-time staff during the peak summer sales season to increase checkout speeds and streamline the customer experience.
This type of harmony and organizational rhythm is a hallmark of a successful business. As a leader, it’s important that you don’t underestimate the importance of maintaining an appropriate rhythm and cadence. As Elvis Presley once remarked, “Rhythm is something you either have or don’t have, but when you have it, you have it all over.”
Below are three key model considerations to achieving a successful rhythm of business.
The problem with event pacing
Far too many companies rely on event pacing. That is, they change in response to key events such as competitive moves, changes in technology, and fluctuations in customer demands. This strategy is highly reactive and often erratic. It’s only effective in highly stable market conditions. The problem is that almost every market is subject to constant change. Event pacing is not effective in dynamic environments.
The value of time pacing
The most effective companies, especially those that operate in changing business environments, tend to rely on time pacing. Time pacing is very different from event pacing. It involves launching new products and services according to the calendar at predictable time intervals. Time pacing helps managers avoid the natural tendency to wait too long, move too slowly, and impair momentum. Time pacing has been compared to a metronome. It creates a predictable rhythm that allows companies to proactively react to change.
Using time pacing to increase urgency
Much of the traditional world is characterized by monotony. The daily rhythms of meetings, projects, and status updates can seem repetitive and unengaging. Wash, rinse, and repeat. Time pacing is an outlier. Research has found that time pacing has a powerful psychological effect. It helps create a sense of urgency that can catapult companies into action and boost performance.
If you’re set on incorporating time pacing into your organizational DNA, it’s best to engage an expert. In much the same way that a dancer benefits from the help of a choreographer, leaders benefit from the help and guidance of an executive coach. My background holding senior leadership positions in industry allows me to understand how market dynamics, seasonality effects, and fluctuations in supply and demand affect companies.
When I engage in strategic planning with my clients, I rely a lot on my mediation background to improve collaboration between various stakeholders. I’m able to help my clients decide on an appropriate rhythm and tempo for time pacing that will prevent burnout and allow their company to stay ahead of the competition. As Ezra Pound reminds us, “Rhythm must have meaning.”
Nadine Greiner, Ph.D. provides Executive Coaching and Human Resources solutions. Her mission is to make the executive experience exceptionally enjoyable and effective. She believes that the world needs great leaders, and has dedicated her career to helping them.
As an organization psychologist and former corporate CEO, Dr. Nadine understands the pressures and demands executives face. She offers her clients the high expertise that only comes with three decades of consulting success, and a dual Ph.D. in Organization Development and Clinical Psychology. Dr. Nadine is an in-demand speaker, teaches in doctoral programs, and coaches other consultants. She is the author of two books: ‘The Art of Executive Coaching: Secrets to Unlock Leadership Performance’, and of ‘Stress-less Leadership: How to Lead in Business and in Life’. amazon.com/author/nadinegreiner