Accountability in Growth

Congratulations! You’ve set your goals for this year (or quarter or month…maybe your week, who knows). They’re all SMART goals and you know who’s going to be responsible for seeing them all accomplished, right? Great! It’s time for growth.

But wait…something came up that pulled your focus away from those goals – only for a moment, though, so we’re ok. Wait…there’s something else…and something else…and another and another and another. Now where did you put that goals document? Can’t find it? Can you remember what they were? Didn’t think so.

This happens all the time. To all of us. I can’t think of a leader I’ve known who hasn’t shared war stories with this type of scenario. We all go through it – goal planning with the best of intentions to follow through and new energy to accomplish those goals and then reality intervenes. Your clients need something, your employees need something and, because we’re dedicated to making sure those relationships are effectively nurtured, they end up taking precedence and, by the time we’re able to get back to our goals, half the your time has gone by and you can’t even remember them.

We’ve all heard others say “I’m going to start working on the business, not in the business”.

No you’re not.

You’re going to work in the business because it’s what you do. Be real with yourself. This is your baby – it’s your business. Realistically, until you reach that critical turning point where you can hire a President, you’re going to be one of the main people addressing concerns and various issues that arise because you’re probably one of the only people who can.

This is exactly why it’s so important to have someone to help you stay accountable to your goals. Because you’re going to be in the business, you need someone you can rely on to pull you our of the business from time to time to refocus your goals. This can be a business coach, a life coach, a friend, a business partner or a trusted networking partner – just get someone.

Here’s one of the ways that I like to go about it:

  • Write up a list of people that you trust, are working with similar clientele (but not competitive to you) and are in a similar stage of growth
  • Pick two or three people that you’d like to connect with on a regular basis. Again, be real with yourself. Whoever you end up working with will be someone you’re getting together with monthly (at least).
  • Connect with those people and discuss your goals and theirs. If they don’t have a written set of goals then they won’t be a good accountability partner.
  • Make an agreement with this partner to exchange your goals sheets. You’ll have theirs and they’ll have yours. Then make a decision on the frequency of your meetings. Make sure that you’re meeting at least once per month. This will help you break down your goals into digestible, task oriented chunks that will be a lot easier to accomplish.

This accomplishes a couple different things:

  • Provides you with an accountability partner
  • Saves money by not having to pay for a coach (there are times when you need to pony up the dough and pay for the coach, but this doesn’t necessarily have to be one of them)
  • Creates a much deeper relationship with a trusted networking partner

Accountability is a must when entering any growth phase – otherwise it can spin out of control. However you do it, make sure that you find someone to help keep you accountable.

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Posted in Growth, Nonprofits, Startups.

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