So, what you end up doing is bouncing business ideas off of spouses or significant others. Or you may just vent to them about issues. Unless they are actually part of your business or someone who serves as a mentor for you, they do not count as a true accountability partner. In fact, continuing to use them in that role can strain your relationship.
What is an accountability partner? An accountability partner is a trusted colleague or mentor, who sincerely cares about you and your success, serves as a sounding board for you, and is committed to holding you accountable for what you say you are going to do and when you say you are going to do it.
An accountability partner also is someone who:
• Listens carefully to you,
• Provides you with straightforward feedback, thoughts, ideas, and information that is helpful
• Challenges you with ideas for doing things differently or strengthening your work.
For example, this person can provide feedback on a business idea you have, how to structure a proposal, or how to deal with a new or challenging business relationship. Your accountability partner can help you think through ideas on articles you could write, perhaps even a book. Or, your partner can provide feedback on new product and service ideas.
Knowing this, the question is, do you need an accountability partner? If you find yourself in the not-so-uncommon categories identified above – then, you will likely benefit from having an accountability partner.
So, how do you get one? Well, first look to your network. Whom do you like and respect, and who feels the same about you? This is the ideal match, as that person will be committed to your success. And, if you find someone who can also benefit from an accountability partner, the relationship will be mutually beneficial.
If no one in your network meets your criteria – you can look to meet potential accountability partners at key professional development and industry-related events. (This is how I met my accountability partner.) Understand, however, it will take time to vet and cultivate a relationship of trust. (And, in my case, my accountability partnership eventually led to a merger of our independent companies to form KLC.)
Your next option is to go “external” – that is, to buy an accountability partner. And that’s relatively easy if you have the resources and are willing to invest in yourself. This manifests as a reputable coach, mentor, or consultant relevant in your field – someone you pay to guide and keep you on an improvement track. The downside is that it is may be short term because you are paying for it.
So, several options are available to find someone to help you be your best and stay on track with your commitments and goals.
Now back to you — how do you keep improving and hold yourself accountable to your goals and dreams?