Standing Down

Stand Down.jpeg

So there is a funny term used in government, which is to “Stand down.”


Basically, it comes from the military where it has traditionally been used to denote relaxing (or “at ease”) after a prior state of alert or readiness.


Since then it has become more broadly adopted to mean abruptly ceasing activity–and usually even all further discussion–on something. 


For example, if someone is working on a project, task, or issue, but you want them to completely halt all activities on this, you may tell them to stand down.


This happens when something, usually significant, has changed or the activity has become OBE (another military term for Overcome By Events).


Basically, something has unexpectedly transpired and the strategy and orders have now changed (maybe a complete 180). 


Often, someone up the chain has put the kabbash on whatever it was.


Either way, you go from a full-on sprint to a complete halt and you might as well stand on your head for all anyone cares, because the run to the finish line, on this matter at least, is over now. 


Standing down is very different from standing up–but you aren’t sitting down either. 


Sitting would imply doing nothing at all, while standing down implies you do something else instead–like move on in the meantime to your next order of priority business. 


Still standing down, because of it’s abruptness and completeness is a big deal–and when everything and everyone was prior in motion like a moving freight train–and someone now stands in front of it and yells “All stop!”–the rest of the train cars, all the way to caboose, can essentially ram right up into the butt of the engine causing a real mess of things (productivity-wise and from a morale perspective). 


So now everyone untangle yourself and “calm the h*ll down”–there’s a new sheriff in town or new way ahead and you better get your standing down under control and stop doing whatever it is you were doing, okay there sonny boy? 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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