Not sure whether I’ve posted about this before, but I’ve been having a great time teaching a class this quarter at the Stanford Business School — HR282: Startup People Operations. I’m teaching it with Huggy Rao and Sujay Jaswa, and we’ve been having a great time — this is the second year we’re teaching it, and I think it’s getting better & better.

The course content is what you’d expect — lots about recruiting, hiring, firing, cash & equity compensation, equity plans, etc. And we’ve been lucky to have a number of amazing guests.

The past couple of classes we’ve been talking about how you build and operationalize culture — one of my favorite things to talk about.

Today I gave a talk on cadence — how you build the rhythms and pacing of companies from no structure. (Word nerd quiz: what does the root of “cadence” mean? Answer: comes from the Latin “cadere” which means “to fall” — like a drumstick falling on the beat.)

When companies start, the founders are usually going as fast as they possibly can go. Founders can often finish each other’s sentences, and in the early days they can get huge parts of the product and business created without much coordination with each other at all. As companies add people, this gets harder and harder to do — so you start do create process as a way to help more people lead in the organization. But processes sometimes have natural rhythms, sometimes they don’t. It takes intentionality to get them to line up with each other — and over time, to be able to increase pacing (and overall output of the organization).

That’s what we talked about today in class — the slides I used follow. They’re designed for an interactive session (and the HR282 students had a ton of great material to add) — but you’ll get the gist.

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Also published on Medium.

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