Ok, hands up, how many of you wanted to own your own business so that no-one could boss you about and you could be in charge of your destiny? And, now that you have the autonomy you craved often find you miss your own deadlines or don’t focus on your income generating tasks (IGTs) because you’re so busy putting in the time on your clients?
I have to admit that’s me. I’m often so client-focused that I don’t spend enough time working on my business as I’m so busy working in it! I sometimes find that little issues can get blown out of proportion and often feel that I could do things quicker and easier if I had someone who I could get input from.
So, I decided to make a change. To do that, I reached out and found myself an accountability partner. My accountability partner also has her own agency, she understands my business and understands the challenges I face. Each week, we meet on Zoom and discuss our key tasks for the week, any issues we are facing in our business and commit to making things happen.
In other words, the primary accountability benefit is that we will achieve (or stick with) a goal when we promise each other we will. Neither of us wants to face the other and make excuses for why we haven’t done what we’ve said. However, for those of you in any doubt of its value, here are 7 benefits to having an accountability buddy, mentor or coach and why your business will thank you for it.
7 Benefits of Accountability
You perform better when watched.
We make better choices and work better when we know we are being watched by others. Whether it’s in the workplace, or in exercising or losing weight, regular check-ins improve our chances of success. This phenomenon has been proven by hundreds of psychological tests over the course of the last sixty years.
Our productivity increase is the direct result of being under the watchful eyes of outside observers. Being personally responsible for our results is important, but it’s not enough to achieve peak performance. External accountability helps motivate us and keep us on track.
You get a different viewpoint.
When we are our own boss, we rarely get challenged. Having input from others who are external to the business gives us a different point of view. They can ask the difficult questions and question our actions and motivations. Even if your accountability buddy is in the same sector, their views of the world are coloured by their experiences, knowledge, and education. This allows them to assess a challenge in a different way and bring new insight on a subject.
They help us to question: “Why is this important?” or “How does this action relate to your goal?” Being challenged like this is a good thing because it forces us to examine each goal and make sure we are moving in the right direction.
It forces you to focus.
We are all human, and, as such, it’s easy to get side-tracked by “life” and quickly forget about continuing with our goal. If like me, you are great at starting but not finishing – having accountability is essential to getting things done. Knowing someone is going to be checking up on you and you’ve agreed a date to finish a task, ensures you will strive to finish what you’ve started so you don’t show yourself up in front of them!
There are many reasons we find it hard to stick to a new routine or complete something; however, one of the main reasons you don’t follow through is because you lack accountability.
It forces you to meet deadlines on important tasks.
Planning is an essential part of the goal-setting process and a key part of planning is setting firm (and public) deadlines. There is a significantly greater chance that you’ll complete a task if you tell others about them. Not only does sharing your goals keep your feet to the fire, but it also forces you to finish projects within specific timescales.
It keeps it real.
Being optimistic, believing in yourself and having a dream are all vitally important – but you can’t forget to take action! A good accountability partner will help you to dream big but take the steps you need to each day to see it come to fruition. They should help you to break down your goal into the day-to-day tasks you need to accomplish to meet it.
Great accountability partners should not just be great cheerleaders but also realists! Part of their role is to keep you grounded and focused. You need them to help you achieve your short-term goals, not just the big goals which might take months or years to complete.
It helps you to learn from the successes and failures of others.
It’s not fun to make mistakes, but those experiences help you make better decisions further down the line. Accountability partners can give you the benefit of their learning without repeating the mistakes they have made. Conversely, they can help provide you with a short-cut to success that they’ve already navigated.
Just talking to someone, whether it be a mentor, coach, peer, or member of a mastermind group, enables you to share real-life experiences to help you avoid the errors that could cost you time, money or both.
It puts your problems into perspective and stops them getting out of hand.
Little problems can become bigger ones unless they’re dealt with. Sometimes we’re oblivious to these little issues and other times we might be willfully ignoring them. Accountability partners can act as a second pair of eyes. They are there to kick your butt and help you prioritise dealing with any problem before it completely takes you over.
Conversely, an accountability partner can encourage you to not “sweat the small stuff.” They say a problem shared is a problem halved. By talking your problems through you can put them into perspective and prioritise what’s important in your business.
So, to summarise; whether you pick an accountability buddy, a mentor, coach or group, having someone else to bounce ideas off, keep you on track and give you a clear focus is an essential part of your business armoury – a true secret weapon!