Cadence: why is it so important?

Posted on Posted in P2P Partner-to-Partner, Member Monthly Spotlight

Cadence: why is it so important?

 

CadNicolaence is my favourite word. It is something I talk about to my kids, my husband, and even Woody, the dog. But I use it more frequently in my day-to-day business role as Chief Commercial Officer and if you say the word in front of the team, it is likely to raise a smile.

The origins of the word cadence can be traced back to Medieval Latin – cadere – meaning “to fall”. Since at least the first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary was published in 1888, the origin of the word has been attributed to Italian, cadenza, either directly or through French, cadence, meaning “rhythm”.   However,  this is attested, with Middle English using the word cadence for “rhythm of prose or verse,   rhetorical periods”, appearing in Chaucer, House of Fame, composed ca. 1380[1].

 

 

 

The word is steeped in history. You can find the old Italian word, Cadenza, in the English language, referring to a brilliant musical flourish played before closing out an aria. Cadence in the military context, refers to the rhythmic chants sung by soldiers in marching formation [1]. And in poetry, it describes the rhythmic pacing of language to a resolution, a new idea in 1915. Cadence in Free verse came to mean whatever the writer liked, some claiming verse and poetry had it, but prose did not, but for some it was synonymous with Free verse, where each poet had to find the cadence within himself [2].

Finding your cadence

Finding my own cadence has been at the forefront of my mind just recently whilst training for the Outlaw Half Triathlon. Every year (excluding lockdown), since its inception in 2013, I have trained for and competed in a 1.2-mile open water swim, 56-mile bike ride and 13.1-mile run, all to be completed in a maximum of nine hours.

Each element requires a different cadence and mental approach. Likewise in business solutions, each prospect or customer will have different needs, risks, timeframes, resource, and budget, so we must find an effective cadence for each, and one that also works for the team at Seaton Partners.

Whether this is for pre-sales, project delivery, and/or managed services engagements, much like muscle groups and mindset, we learn and grow after each delivery and engagement. And reflecting on the lessons learnt helps us to remain agile, hone the methods of our approach so we’re able to adapt to the unique needs of each.

 

Setting the foundations for a successful race

 

In triathlons, the race starts with the swim, and, timewise, the swim is the least significant leg. The difference between a good and a bad swim is a matter of minutes, whereas a bad run could be over an hour. This does not mean the swim is not important, a good swim can set you up for a successful race.

My goal in the swim is to lay the foundations, to find pace and to leave the water feeling fresh enough to hit the next stage of the race. The lengths in the local pool, the hours of being in my own head with only the black line as visual simulation helps to prepare for the mental endurance needed to complete the race.

The same can be said for presales. It’s where you begin to build the foundations, where you put in the work to make sure that the areas within your control in the next stages will go as smoothly as possible. A rushed start causes ripples, instead we aim for a streamline approach, a concerted effort that builds and paves the way for success in the long-term.

 

Building speed and technique

 

Now we all know, speed usually wins but to improve speed, you need to swim faster but this relies on two things, technique, and the nervous system. When we push harder and harder to try and improve our speed, often our technique falls apart. Technique comes from repetition, it becomes ingrained in our muscle memory, and if you’re looking for speed then the repetition needs to come with the right technique, intensity and speed required. If you push too hard too fast, you’ll begin to engrain the bad techniques which will not result in the best outcome.

And this can be applied to business; across teams, customers, prospects, apprenticeships – speed can win but you cannot skip the learnings. It’s why after years of implementations across the globe, we can use our experience, methodologies, and approach to ensure you have a successful project. We’ve built the muscle memory, we’ve repeated processes across industries and sectors, across multiple countries and as a result, we’ve built the cadence required.

 

Preventing a loss in momentum

 

By focusing on cadence rather than speed or power means that you change the way you approach the race, and this includes the second leg of the race, the 56-mile bike ride. Anyone who follows, competes, or enjoys cycling knows that having a wide cadence “envelope” is a powerful tool in the cyclist’s armoury.

Cadence in cycling is defined as the number of revolutions per minute (RPM) you complete at a given speed. The power you can produce on the bike is the product of torque (force on the pedal) x angular velocity (or your pedal speed). Based on this formula it’s easy to see why an increase or a decrease in your cycling cadence will directly impact the power you produce on your bike.

Too often people change gears at the immediate sight of a hill, causing a loss of momentum. When faced with varied landscapes and gradients, the gears of your bike and the ability to control the cadence are the secret weapon.

No race is straight forward, just like your successful projects, most have diverse environments that need to be navigated. Thrashing around with on and off effort will not get you up the hill efficiently or at the front of the pack, you need to ensure torque and velocity is felt on the full revolution, you want to avoid dead-spots. They cost, in a race or in a project.

The skill is knowing when to push harder upfront and it is something we try to bring to all our customers engagements. We want transparency, we want to find the ‘Rabbits in the Freezer’ during the early engagements and it’s why we do an Eyes Wide Open session. We find that pushing at the start, qualifying opportunities hard, really focusing on the business case and where we can add value, helps us to build long-lasting relations so we are able to overcome steep climbs in the right gear at a cadence that works for everyone.

It’s important to train and work at higher and lower cadences – you can’t ride at 110rpm all the time in the real world. Customers cannot work at full speed constantly either. They must dedicate time to the day job and the project and it’s why we stress the importance of the correct ratios for resource. It why we work together with you from the start to find the happy path in your project and across your team.

It’s so important to find the happy path in projects and in each stage of the half triathlon and this is true for the last leg – the 13.2-mile run.

 

Train your mind and body for a higher cadence

 

With running, like swimming, there is a risk of those who are less experienced to develop a poor technique. They will often try to take longer strides when they speed up which leads to overstriding, overreaching on landing. What needs to happen is that you train your mind and body system to turn over quicker – to have a higher cadence. Reach needs to be avoided – yes it may help your run faster, but there is a cost to your body in terms of loads on your tissues.

It’s this over-reach that we try to prevent in pre-sales, projects, but also after by transitioning from implementation to hyper-care and managed services. We knowledge share throughout but we know that often on-going support is required to create comfort amongst the team, so we introduce our support team early. It is through this support and the knowledge share, that results in customers experiencing an internal shift from IT led to user led, during the journey with Seaton Partners.

So, if you’re looking to move the dial up, across your finance and operations solutions, then why not consider your cadence or you can reach out to me, Nicola Garrett today? (However, if you’re in need of a triathlon coach then please find a respected professional!).

 

About Seaton Partners

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Seaton Partners is a Microsoft Gold Competency Partner based in the UK with a global reach. We deliver complete Microsoft Dynamics 365 business solutions. We license, implement, integrate, optimise and manage with specialisms in cloud-based ERP, Microsoft 365 for Talent, Power BI and Power Apps (xRM/CE/CRM).

We’re honest, ambitious, pragmatic. We manage expectation, problem solve and we know that to get a project across the line it is sometimes better to stick it to the rule book, than to stick to it.

We simplify process. Improve productivity, performance and profit. Provide business services in consultancy, new full lifecycle project implementation, project recovery, niche project resources and managed services.

Our close-knit team of in-house consultants are recruited from across the globe with international and FTSE 100 experience, and we continually reinvest in our knowledge and expertise. As a result – very few consultants know Microsoft Dynamics like we do.

 

1 https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cadence

2 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cadence_(poetry)

 

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