How You Can Use an Accountability Partner to Increase Success
Guest post by Keesha Johnson of MyMissiontoEscape.com
When you are an entrepreneur, there will be times when you are not as passionate and self-motivated as you were when you first began your business. Sometimes you may feel a little stuck and realize you’re not progressing at the rate you need to in order to reach your business goals. It can be especially difficult for you when you’re working on these goals while making the transition from employee to entrepreneur!
No matter where you are in your entrepreneurial journey, consider getting a business accountability partner! Having a successful accountability partnership will be beneficial to your business!
“The greatest gift is not being afraid to question.” – Ruby Dee
WHAT IS AN ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER?
An accountability partner is someone who makes sure you stay committed to the goals that you’ve established for yourself. They want to see you accomplish your goals, and they will hold you to them.
Having an accountability partner will give you the chance to get out of your comfort zone. Your accountability partner will not let you get away with excuses. They will provide you with honest feedback and offer you support and encouragement along the way.
When you listen to your accountability partner’s feedback, you will gain a different perspective on how you can approach things in your business. You’re also learning from each other when it’s a successful accountability partnership.
Your accountability partner wants to see you succeed. They’ll do whatever they can to make sure you do!
“The way to achieve your own success is to be willing to help somebody else get it first.” – Iyanla Vanzant
HOW DO YOU FIND YOUR BUSINESS ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER?
Networking will play a big role in finding your business accountability partner.
Attend business networking events in your area. Join professional organizations that specialize in your business interests. This will give you the chance to meet others face-to-face who share your desire to become a successful entrepreneur.
Your accountability partner doesn’t have to be in your business industry or niche. If your backgrounds differ, then that can be an advantage. Because of the variety of experience, you can share different viewpoints and recommendations to each other.
You can also find an accountability partner by networking online. Facebook groups are one of the best places online to meet other business owners from all types of backgrounds.
Find engaging Facebook groups, and actively participate in them. You’ll start to meet others who are just as passionate about achieving business goals.
Ask other Facebook group members if any of them would like to participate in an accountability partnership. Be clear about what you expect in an accountability partner and get the ball rolling!
“It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.”
– Lena Horne
WHAT SHOULD BE ADDRESSED IN THE ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT?
Once you’ve both agreed to be accountability partners, schedule an initial meeting to further discuss how the partnership will work. Your first meeting will be an opportunity to understand what stage you’re in with your business. You should also talk about important milestones you both want to achieve.
Here are some questions you should address during your first meeting:
How often will you meet?
Decide on the frequency that works for both of you. For instance, you may want to meet weekly or twice a month.
How will you communicate with each other?
If you will have your accountability meetings in person, then decide on your meeting location. Examples include coffee shops, cafes, restaurants, co-working spaces, etc.
If you’re meeting via conference calls, then determine if they will be video or audio calls. For video calls, select which video conference tool will be used. Examples are FaceTime, Skype, Zoom, etc.
How will you set goals and measure them?
Determine if you will be setting business goals for the year, quarter, or month. Set a deadline for when you’ll share these goals with your business accountability partner. This will help your partner see where you’ll be concentrating your efforts and how these goals will be tracked.
How will your meetings flow?
Set a basic agenda that you can use consistently for every meeting. This will help you both stay on track so that you’re being considerate of each other’s time. Here’s an example of how your meeting could be handled.
Greetings: You can briefly chat about anything you’d like before you start your accountability updates.
Self-improvement Activities: This is a chance to share things you’ve done since your last meeting that pertain to self-development. Examples include interesting books or articles you read, insightful podcasts you enjoyed, networking events you attended, or helpful training courses you took.
Accountability Updates: You will each have the opportunity to provide your updates. Alternate who will share updates first during each meeting. Specific updates can include:
- Review accomplishments achieved since your last meeting.
- Share setbacks you encountered.
- Talk about adjustments you made that contributed to your wins and the lessons you learned from the experience.
- Discuss what goals you’ll be working on next.
The most successful entrepreneurs I know are optimistic. It’s part of the job description.” ― Caterina Fake
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WHAT ARE SOME CHARACTERISTICS OF A GOOD ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER?
Here are a few characteristics that you will see in a successful accountability partner!
- Reliable – They are committed to attend your meetings and arrive on time. They make the meetings a priority.
- Honest – A good accountability partner is not afraid to give you constructive feedback…even if it’s not what you want to hear. They will be candid with you when they offer advice. They’ll call you out when they realize you’re second-guessing yourself and selling yourself short about achieving your goals!
- Observant – They’re listening attentively to you during your meetings. They recognize when you may be overdoing it and risking business owner burnout.
- Supportive – They are encouraging and non-judgmental. They can offer assistance in some areas where you’re not as experienced.
“We may encounter many defeats, but we must not be defeated.”– Maya Angelou
HOW CAN YOU RECOGNIZE WHEN THE ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNERSHIP IS NOT WORKING?
As the accountability partnership continues, you may encounter some bumps along the road. It’s important to address any issues with your business accountability partner as soon as possible. Here are some examples of when accountability partners are not giving you their best!
- They begin to forget about your meetings.
- They agree with every decision you’re making with your business goals.
- They don’t offer suggestions or feedback.
- They don’t raise concerns about your commitment when you’re not making progress on any of your goals.
- They become increasingly negative and judgmental when you discuss your ideas.
- The partnership has become one-sided because they’re demonstrating a lack of commitment to their own goals.
It’s simple. The partnership won’t work when you or your partner are not holding each other accountable!
The accountability needs to be reciprocated. Otherwise, it will not be mutually beneficial. Make necessary adjustments to get the partnership back on track!
You need to go from wanting to change your life to deciding to change your life. If you want to live a life you’ve never lived, you have to do things you’ve never done. – Jen Sincero
MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE AS A BUSINESS ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER
Here’s how I started my accountability journey with my business accountability partner!
We were introduced by a mutual friend. We agreed to have our kickoff meeting in person at the start of the new year, so we met for brunch at a local restaurant. We hit it off from the moment we sat down!
We each shared our visions we had for our businesses. We talked about some of the obstacles we had encountered up to that point. This part of the discussion gave us a good perspective on the purpose of our businesses and why we chose to focus on those areas. This provided us a better sense of where we both were in our business journeys.
Next, we discussed how we wanted to handle our accountability meetings. We decided to conduct our meetings via conference calls. We agreed that, when schedules permitted, we would do at least one in-person meeting per month.
During our chat, we established that we wanted to meet weekly. We discussed the best time that worked for us, and we scheduled the weekly accountability check-in meetings on our calendars.
We also created an initial meeting workflow so that we knew what to expect moving forward.
As we wrapped up our initial meeting, we agreed to document major milestones we wanted to achieve for the year. We would use these as a reference to help us prioritize our goal tracking. We would be prepared to share our goals with each other during the next meeting.
Ever since that initial meeting, we’ve continued to hold each other accountable via conference calls, in-person meetings, and text messages.
We do a quarterly reflection to review our progress, celebrate our accomplishments so far, and determine if any adjustments should be made for goals that remain. Understanding that circumstances can change along the way, we also use quarterly checkpoints as the opportunity to discuss if any goals need to be put on hold. We introduce new goals that we want to achieve, too.
My business accountability partnership is going very well, and I’m excited to see how we end our year!
“The key to realizing a dream is to focus not on success but on significance — and then even the small steps and little victories along your path will take on greater meaning.” – Oprah Winfrey
CELEBRATE YOUR WINS!
It’s easy to forget to take time to celebrate your achievements while you’re busy working to become a successful entrepreneur! It’s okay to applaud your accomplishments!
Reward yourself when you reach a major milestone. You worked hard so you deserve it! It’s up to you how you want to celebrate. Make acknowledging your successes a priority, too!
“The most effective way to do it is to do it.” – Amelia Earhart
Having a business accountability partner should be part of your business growth strategy. When you find the right accountability partner, you can see some incredible results for your business.
When you’re in the partnership, make sure that it is working for both of you. Respect each other’s time and show up for each other. Stay committed to the process! Make the accountability partnership a priority, and it will be a win for both of you!
Keesha Johnson is the founder of the blog, My Mission To Escape. Her goal is to help working women navigate through the work environment, manage job burnout, and explore entrepreneurship and other flexible work options. In addition to being a business operations consultant, Keesha is a yoga enthusiast, Chick-fil-A addict, and a diehard lover of 80’s and 90’s music.
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