How to Make Accountability Work
Almost every successful business owner craves accountability. We’re wired to respond to crises and to help others, sometimes before we help ourselves. Entrepreneurs are excellent in running their day-to-day businesses, but some need more accountability to meet internal deadlines and long-term goals. Let’s take a look at how we can increase our accountability.
Setting Goals and Deadlines
The first step to being accountable is to have something you want to achieve, and this means setting goals. We all have projects we want to do that haven’t been done for a variety of reasons. Just choose one, and make a timeline of tasks and milestones that you would like to be held accountable for. Mark your calendar for each milestone and the project’s end date. Display your list of milestone dates prominently on your desk or wall where you work. Carve out time to work on your project by blocking out your calendar.
Connect with Your Purpose
Take some time to analyze why you want to complete your project. How does it connect with your business purpose, mission, vision, and values? Document your why and display it prominently next to your milestone list. This will help you stay focused.
Publish Your Goals Publicly
Use social media or another means of communication to share your goals publicly with peers, friends, or co-workers. At this point, it becomes “real” for many entrepreneurs. It’s a big step to put yourself out there. Now you have to do it or face embarrassment and other consequences later. It may feel scary to do it, but this step works!
Consider an Accountability Partner
Some people do very well by partnering with a peer or trusted business person. This can be a mentor, a paid coach, an advisory board, a mastermind group of people, a nonprofit group, a co-working group, a peer, a vendor, an incubator, or an investor. Most experts do not recommend that you choose a friend.
Your relationship can be one-way or two-way. Perhaps you will hold them responsible for something they want to achieve, so that the relationship is reciprocal.
Tell your accountability partner to push you and to be candid and honest. They may need your permission if it’s an informal arrangement. Set meetings in advance every week (or two weeks), where you review your progress and report on your milestones. Allow your partner to point out mistakes, or acknowledge them yourself. Make course corrections, using your partner as a sounding board.
Make sure you are candid and honest as well, focusing on results and not excuses. Know when you’re procrastinating and dig deep to discover why. Often, it can be a lack of resources or time, but coupled with that is usually a mindset issue or simply fear of failure that needs to be brought to the surface.
Celebrate every milestone achieved. Reward yourself, especially if it’s a project you’ve been putting off for years that is finally getting off the ground. This reinforces positive behavior and creates enthusiasm and momentum.
Beyond Project Accountability
You can use this same formula to achieve accountability in many areas of your business, such as these areas:
- Financial accountability via your accounting firm or financial consultant
- Staffing or supervising accountability via HR consultants or a coach
- Technology accountability, via an IT firm or consultant
This type of accountability makes the functions of your business run better. You can also apply these ideas to your personal life goals.
Accountability can make a tremendous difference in achieving the success you want, so try it and let us know how it’s working for you.