with Simplicity Expert, A.Michelle Blakeley
By definition, an accountability partner is someone who holds you accountable to the things you commit to doing. Some of the benefits of an accountability partner are emotional and others are strategic. What is consistent though, is the amount of productivity that comes from having to answer to someone for what you do and don’t do. I agree with Eileen with Sleeve Shirt Consulting who believes when you work in the corporate world, your accountability is tracked in performance reviews, weekly meetings and feedback from clients. However, as business owners, you no longer have your feet held to the fire on specific short-term or long-term tasks. Regularly scheduled meetings with an accountability partner keep you focused.
“Is your accountability partner executing tactics that aren’t supporting their strategic vision? Don’t be afraid to speak up, just be prepared receive the same feedback regarding your own business if you commit a faux pas,” says Eileen (her accountability partner, @bwellivehealthy)
By meeting consistently and at short intervals, a sense of urgency is created along with the energy required to complete the necessary tasks. Having to check-in with someone on a regular basis puts tasks on a timeline. That healthy dose of pressure could be the motivation needed to concentrate on what’s important daily. When too much time goes by in between meetings, you can get lax, distracted and lose traction.
“The benefits of an accountability partner provides for a foundation from which to review your progress, whether on a weekly or a monthly basis. My partner (@jessabahr) provides stability and consistency to my life because our accountability calls became a habit that allows us to measure our growth and progress,” states Pavel Konoplenko with The Culture LP, @pavelnovel
Having an accountability partner is the opposite of comfort and co-dependency. Not only is time of the essence, but objectives are discussed in detail. Hard questions are asked. Your accountability partner is not there to enable your poor practices and give you the warm and fuzzies, they are there to strengthen good business habits and stretch your capacities. The process increase efficiency and effectiveness simply by committing to give the appropriate amount of time and energy to pre-determined objectives.
Jacque Small, Co-founder of Mudita Transformational Leadership states, “I have had accountability partners on and off for the last 14 years. When you make a commitment to do something, you know you will have to answer to your partner if you don’t do it. A good partner won’t let you off the hook. Therefore, you are more likely to take action and get more done. Good partners will listen, they won’t judge, they may offer advice. The best, will ask you some thought provoking questions, which leads to better decision-making. When you have a partner you are not alone. Being alone can often feel scary, which gets in the way of taking action in areas where there is a lack of certainty. One can step into the unknown with greater ease. Whatever objective you want to achieve, you will do it more quickly and it will be more fun.”
Accountability partners can also be great role-players. Someone to test conversations with; someone to test scenarios with. Constructive criticism and objective reasoning will help fine tune business processes, sales pitches and presentations. Implement, review, tweak and repeat. This simple process could be valuable with an accountability partner who can provide you with critical feedback.
“My accountability partner and I speak each morning before we open our businesses. We practice our pitch with one another, which has helped me refine my sales dialogue with clients. I directly attribute a $60k contract that was signed 2 months ago to our daily accountability sessions,” Gabriel Aluisy of Shake Tampa with partner Koby Bryan
Having an accountability partner can impact your personal life. It enhances your innate need to be seen in a good light and to do things that will encourage others to perceive you as responsible and dutiful. No self-respecting businessperson wants to be seen as a “flake,” lazy or unsuccessful.
“From a psychological perspective, having someone you are accountable to increases the benefits of doing the right thing (your accountability partner is happy) and increases the pain of doing the wrong thing (your accountability buddy is not happy with you). We generally like to please others, so we are motivated to do something that will make both us proud of ourselves and others proud of us. Thus, an accountability partner increases good behavior and discourages bad behavior,” states Dr. Michal Strahilevitz, Professor of Marketing at Golden Gate University
Accountability partners aren’t limited to individuals. There is power in numbers. Not to mention a little friendly and healthy competition. Competitive people subconsciously need to progress and work a little harder when working in a group environment. They use that competitive-edge to meet to their objectives within the group; which strengthens their commitment to the process.
“A few years ago I joined an accountability group, overseen by a business coach, as I was jumpstarting some new business goals. Each month accountability partners were switched around to breath new life into the process and learn from each other. Over many months of accountability, it caused a new modus operandi to appear. You think differently. You realize that a commitment is just that … a commitment,” Terra Wellington with Wellington Media
Solopreneurs and home-based entrepreneurs benefit greatly from meeting in person, rather than via phone. Not only do you get an outside perspective and fresh pair of eyes, but physical meetings with accountability partners prevents feelings of isolation. No technology can replace the power or effectiveness of “face-to-face” meetings. Regardless of whom they are with, the emotional and psychological benefits from that basic human interaction has yet to be replicated.
“We both have different strengths, so we learn from each other and benefit from both gains and mistakes the other makes by seeing what works and what doesn’t. When either of us is facing a dilemma or challenging situation we help each other figure it out,” Arden Clise with Clise Etiquette with her partner Beth Buelow, @introvertcoach.
Sometimes, your accountability partner is also your spouse. They seem to know you better than you know yourself, and it helps when they are able to separate who you are from what you do. It’s important that the dialogue and communication is open, candid and supportive and focuses on the real issues. The caveat is that sometimes, personal conflicts can cross the line affect business conversations.
So, what happens when you are married to your accountability partner?
Jason Womack with The Womack Company, states, “She gives me harsh feedback on the doing, and easy (ok, easier) feedback on the being. We talk it out until it’s done. The only thing my grandpa asked us to promise him – on our wedding day – is that we would not fall asleep until we had made up after an argument. Yeah, there have been some late nights, but we can end it, and move on to rest. We always wake up new and fresh.”
Need to get laser focused on revenue generating activities? There is an easy way to get further, faster. If you don’t have an accountability partner, you may want to consider getting one. Be mindful of your synergies and communication styles. Be sure you are open and up to the constructive criticism that comes with the territory.
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Simplicity expert and Micro Business Therapist™, A.Michelle Blakeley helps entrepreneurs align their purpose and principles with their business practices for agile growth. Connect with her on Twitter at @simplicityinc or check out her online magazine, Micro Business Therapy