In last week’s Small Business Success Strategy we discussed finding a support system. Have you done that? What are you waiting on? Did you tell anyone that you were supposed to find a support system, so they would keep you honest and make sure you do it, or did you keep it quiet because you didn’t want anyone to know you when you didn’t meet a goal?  While some of us are natural self starters, many of us are procrastinators or, more likely, we get so busy putting out the fire of the day that we don’t take the time to do things that will help us grow strategically. This isn’t anything to be ashamed of, it’s a common entrepreneur trait (one that I’m particularly familiar with). What you need is Accountability.

How do I manage to stay on task and complete needed tasks, while there are a dozen fires blazing around me that I could focus on instead? Simply by finding accountability partners and telling them what I need to accomplish, giving myself a deadline, and giving my accountability partner permission to call me out on it if I don’t get things done.

Don’t think it will work for you? How many of us will make a mad dash cleaning the house right before guests (or worse the maid) is coming over? It’s human nature. We don’t want to look like a failure, and many of us work much better under a deadline. Your accountability partner is simply going to help you create and meet deadlines.

Who makes a good accountability partner?

I wouldn’t necessarily depend on your spouse or significant other. Not because they aren’t good supporters, but this role will require some tough love and asking tough questions. Our loved ones may not be comfortable in that role.

I have multiple accountability partners – some in the same industry and some in a completely different industry.

Accountability partners who are in the same industry in different markets are a great way to get insight into what is working for them and can help keep you focused on things that have proven successful for them in their market.  An accountability partner in a completely different industry will need you to explain in detail your goals and actions, in essence justifying yourself, and that’s a great way to make sure what you’re focused on is something that matters.

Don’t forget, it’s a two way street! You’re going to help hold someone accountable to their goals and what they say they need to accomplish while they are doing the same for you.

Accountability Partnership Guidelines

1. Meet or talk weekly, sharing your short and longer term goals
2. Don’t be afraid to ask (and answer) ” Why” – force your partners to justify why they are spending their time working on a given task.
3. Set goals  that will be a stretch to accomplish, and should have an immediate impact to your business once accomplished.
Who do you think will be a good accountability partner and why? Let me know in the comments!

 

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