Rhythms that Drive Execution

Remember in the 2011 Captain America movie when Steve Rogers steps into a microwave to gets his powers? Let's say that you got a chance to do the same, but there is a catch.   It doesn’t last forever.  Every week, you have to go back and get nuked again or you lose your powers.

Would you still do it?  HECK YEAH.  

Would you keep doing it every week, even if it seemed inconvenient? “Of course, stop asking me dumb questions and show me where to sign!”

The closest to the “super power microwave” in real life is what I call a Rhythm. A good Rhythm won’t give you super strength, super speed, or invincibility. But it could make you smarter, better looking (wink 😉), and over time it seems like you have “super powers”.

Rhythm Definition: A consistent, often scheduled, time set aside to focus on something specific which over time leads to “super powers”.

Characteristics of a good Rhythm:

  • Iterative & compounding- Like good music, it has a beat and it builds up to a crescendo.

  • It has a system or process

  • It includes some form of built in feedback and accountability

Here are a few examples of the results (super powers) that can be seen from a good Rhythm:

  • Steph Curry is known for nailing 3 pointers.   It’s like a super power.

  • Tiger Woods is often considered the best golfer of all time, known for his ability to bend the ball however he wants.  Its like he can control it in midair (super power)

  • Warren Buffet, for decades, has been one of the most consistent investors of all times. Does he have super powers?

  • Bill Gates created the world's largest personal computer software company.  Was he born an evil genius?

  • Arnold Schwarzenegger was the youngest to ever win Mr. Universe.  Sure he has great genes, but that wasn’t his only super power.

None of these people were born with super intelligence or super basketball skills or nunchuck skills.  All of them used rhythms to get better and, over time, became super human in their own small worlds.  

Several years ago, I realized my personal growth and the growth of my business was driven by 1 simple thing. Not a superpower, but by the use of Rhythms.

Let's look at how to take everyday events, like meetings at work, and over time develop super powers. 

Make it like good music

In the first year of our company, we didn’t really have formalized meetings.  When you’re 3 guys sitting in a basement all within 10 ft of each other, you just started talking and the “whole company” was there for the “meeting” 🙂.

As we added people, we started to meet to talk about problems and tactics.  Nothing organized or special.  Meetings are just a company way of communicating… right?

I was first introduced to the idea of rhythms as a way to grow and drive performance in the book Scaling Up by Verne Harnish. He talked about creating a “meeting rhythm” in order to grow faster.

Who wouldn’t want to grow their business faster?  So I gave it a whirl.

“To move faster, pulse faster. At the heart of a team’s performance is a rhythm of well-run daily, weekly, monthly,  quarterly, and annual meetings… The monthly meeting is a KEY routine for developing middle managers into mini-CEO’s so they are capable of running the business, freeing up senior leaders to focus on strategy”

–Scaling Up pg 175.

Wait, what? Meetings are the key to having a “growing-a-business” super power (that marvel movie didn’t do very well 😛)?

Yes... sorta… Verne isn't saying that meetings are the key, he’s saying a RHYTHM of well-run meetings is the key. Running good meetings is not enough.

Verne describes his meeting rhythms as containing these musical elements:

  • Intervals - They have a beat. Daily meetings are… you guessed it, every day.   Weekly are every week.  Monthly meetings are…well… monthly :).

  • musicians - the people involved.

  • Same song & Crescendo - All of these people are playing the same song working together towards company goals within your strategies.

My own meetings have gotten significantly more effective once I realized that meetings should be iterative & compounding by nature.  A meeting that is going nowhere and doesn’t contribute to your goals is boOORING!  

Meeting rhythm doesn't just solve problems, it does it faster with fewer meetings.  It gets everyone on the same page with less energy and time spent.   It's like giving your company the Steve Rodgers serum – it makes it bigger, faster, and better.

Your own rhythms need to contain these elements as well.   But if intervals, great musicians, and a crescendo is all your rhythms have, you’re missing out.

A rhythm needs a process

The word process is super scary to some people.  As a ghost if you ran around saying “proOOOooceeesss!” instead of “BOooo!” you might even get more screams.

Let me un-scary-itize (that's a real word) this for you.   A process is simply a “series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end”.

Here is a simple process from Steph Curry:

  • Step 1: Lace up your shoes

  • Step 2: Two ball dribble - Gets him a good feel of the ball

  • Step 3: Scoop shots, left then right hands - he start getting used to the weight and distance

  • … you get the idea.   

You do one thing, then the next.  Not a randomly chosen step, but one that's thoughtfully planned out.  You do every step in the process in order and don’t do steps that don’t have a purpose. He’s not just randomly shooting shots to warm up.  

Your rhythm must have a thoughtful process.  This will take your rhythm and amplify it, especially when mixed with the next item.

You need built-in feedback.

In September of 2021, I decided I wanted to become a better golfer.  And by better, I mean way better (I sucked… really bad). I paid for 8 weeks of golf lessons and was excited.

In my first lesson I was amazed at how much instant feedback you get from today's technology. They have high speed cameras that see everything you do.  They measure the speed of the club, speed of the ball, angles of club, hip and shoulder angles, and on and on.

For every swing, I could literally SEE, in slow motion, how crappy I was… and then measure it.  Being crappy never looked so amazing.

Most golfers go to the driving range and start swinging at golf balls.  If you ask, “what are you working on today?” They’ll say, “I’m working on my driver.”   They hit their 50-100 balls and leave.   

Next week, they are back to “work on their driver” again. This is what an armature calls “practice”. 

Professional golfers don’t do this.  When they go to the driving range they say something like “I’m working to shift weight in the downswing and have a complete follow through.” They have video from multiple angles recording their shots. They have coaches watching them to see what the golfer doesn’t notice.

Your rhythms need a feedback system.. If you’re missing feedback, it could be what's causing you to miss the next item as well.

You need accountability tied into your rhythms

Accountability is the glue that ties commitment to the result.

 –Bob Proctor

I believe that accountability is what drives execution success.  Without it, very few great things happen.

When I paid for golf lessons, I got something extremely valuable for free. Accountability.  It's like a weird BOGO deal (I guess it would be BOGA hu…).   Buy one lesson, get accountability for free.

Many feedback systems come with this built- in free accountability.  By hiring a coach and scheduling a time with him, I was telling him “I will be here next week to work on my golf skills.”

  • Have you struggled to get to the gym regularly?

  • Do you struggle to eat healthy?

  • Do you struggle to work on your business rather than in your business?

Did you tell anyone you wanted or planned to do those things? Did you ask them to hold you accountable? Hiring a golf coach, a business coach, and a personal trainer is telling someone... it is asking for someone to hold you accountable. 

They are your feedback and accountabili-buddy (that's also a real word).

So if you can, always make your feedback a part of your accountability mechanism.  

Overtime, rhythms cause amazing things to happen

You're close to having a super power.  You already do things every day that are close to being a “Captain America microwave” rhythm.  You workout, you have weekly meetings, you read the occasional book.  Take those events/tasks and make them potent.   

Make them truly powerful by adding these 4 characteristics to them:

  • Make it iterative and compounding

  • Define its process

  • Decide how you’ll constantly get feedback

  • Build-in accountability

Stop reading, go do it.


Posted on: March 23rd, 2022

By: Peter O.

On: Blog

Rhythms

Execution

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Peter O.

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