Accountability – why do we let it stop?

School started this month and my 11th grade daughter had some scheduling issues.  We had been unable to contact her guidance counselor and the issue needed to be addressed.  I told her the only way that it was going to get changed was to go in there and ask the counselor to meet with her right then, or to make an appointment for the next day.  We agreed that she needed to make sure the issue was handled by that Thursday. 

My daughter called me from school on Wednesday and told me that it was taken care of and she was happy with her schedule.  Wow, discussing an action plan and a deadline really worked!  She even followed up, I was so proud of her. 

But what happens to this scenario when we grow up and become adults?  As a child we are accountable to our parents and teachers.  Sometimes they put our feet to the fire and tell us we can do better.  Sometimes they check up on us to see if we’ve done our homework.  They always want to see our report card.  The watch us, and they have high expectations for us. That caring and attention (and the inspection) propel us forward.

What happens to that accountability when we are adults and on our own?  Sometimes, if we work for someone else, our boss or supervisor holds us accountable?  But, if we are self-employed or we own our own business, how do we keep ourselves accountable?  Who is watching us and asks if we’ve done what we said we would do?  Who encourages us and then checks on our progress?

The most successful entrepreneurs and business owners build accountability into their lives.  They give another person, perhaps a coach or consultant or even a board of directors the permission to hold them accountable.  They schedule regular meetings with an agenda and a way to report what they have done and how it turned out.  It keeps them focused and on track.

One of the easiest ways is to find an accountability partner – someone you can trust to tell you what you need to hear (not just what you want to hear).  This person should be like-minded and success oriented, like you.  You share with them your clear business goals, action plans and deadlines.  Then you keep track of what happens and report it to them on a regular basis.

In a sense, you allow them to treat you like your parents did when you were young.  This adds structure and rhythm to what you do.  It keeps you focused and alert.  It doesn’t let things get off-track. It prevents you from developing the wrong habits.

Just like when you were in school, this accountability spurs creative thinking and gives you energy.  I call this “accountability partner momentum”.  And, the neat thing is, you can make the process mutual and hold each other accountable.  Of course, if this doesn’t work, you can always go ask your mom!

Speak Your Mind