But how to explain this to an outsider? Especially a sales person who spends much of their time on the phone working, negotiating, and waiting. These are folks who don't get to predict when things will happen, only put pressure on making them happen.
The metaphor of a heartbeat or breathing always seemed a little too mushy. I grappled for a different metaphor. Suddenly, I found myself describing cadence. At first the concept of cadence in general, and then in sports.
Next I found myself thinking of the military. I remembered how a few of my friends came back from boot camp brainwashed by these chants. I had visions of how they could line up and mindlessly march all day singing these stupid little songs.
And suddenly I realized it... they weren't silly little songs. It wasn't mindless marching. It was muscle memory training. It was about the rhythm. Backpacking twice your body weight in the rain for eight hours to a perfect rhythm actually has a point. When this team was under the stress of enemy fire, they had this muscle memory to fall back on. It was survival. They would move in unison as a group, and their success depended on it. They could lose sight of each other and still know their movements. Actually, the importance of cadence dates back to European war strategies:
The cadence was set by a drummer or sergeant and discipline was extremely important, as keeping the cadence directly affected the travel speed of infantry. - WikipediaAs I described this concept to the larger group, it seemed to sink in. For the folks who participate in these events, they suddenly looked at the standup differently. In good time or bad, they were a marker of progress. They insured the team was working in unison. We were moving together as a disciplined group. Just like the rhythm of song, we all kept pace. For the outsiders, there was a small sense of jealousy. They wanted to belong to the group, be part of that rhythm, and feel that constant progress. They wanted to know that everyone in the group had their back. They were envious of credit shared by all and no member left behind.
Cadence... it's much more than a repeated timebox.