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2 Ways to Stay Accountable As a Leader

2 Ways to Stay Accountable As a Leader

As a leader, you spend most of your time keeping others accountable for their action and results but who is keeping you accountable? Are you at the top of your organization, department, project or even household? If you are, you probably don’t have someone keeping you accountable on a weekly or even monthly basis. Sure, you may have overarching stakeholders to please but they are usually focused more on the end result. Here are 2 ways leaders can keep themselves accountable:

Accountability Partner

Shawn Stratton

© Stephen D

I first learned about the idea of an accountability partner from Tom Stoyan of the Coaching in Sales Institute while attending his session at a CAPS Convention a few years ago. The idea is pretty simple: you connect with a person who is also interested in staying accountable and meet with them on regularly scheduled basis. The main purpose of these meetings is to address previous goals and set new ones. The meetings are also a good time to use your partner as a sounding board for new ideas or challenging issues you are facing.

The accountability partner is not a mentor but a peer, typically at a similar stage as you are in your career. I have had the same partner now for 4 years and we meet about every 4 weeks, depending on scheduling, for about 60 minutes. Knowing that each month I will have to update her on the progress of my goals is often the push I need to accomplish them. A year ago, to further incentivize completing our monthly goals, we introduced a penalty. We usually have 3 monthly goals and for every one we don’t complete, we have to pay the other person $20. We keep track of our goals and fines on a basic Google Doc spreadsheet.

Knowing that I will have to update my partner on my goals each month is often the kick in the pants I need to complete it even if I am scrambling to finish it the day before the call. Whatever it takes!

Mastermind Groups

Shawn Stratton

© anselm23

In a way, mastermind groups are like a group of accountability partners. The notion is relatively new to most people, even though Napoleon Hill created the concept around 75 years ago with his classic book, Think and Grow Rich.

Mastermind groups offer a combination of brainstorming, education, peer accountability and support in a group setting to sharpen your business and personal skills. A mastermind group helps you and your group members achieve success. Groups can range from any number but I prefer three to five members. The greatest benefit I have seen of being in several mastermind groups over the years is the focused group brainstorming on a challenge you have. This often takes place during the Hot Seat section of a meeting.

Brainstorming Tip: During a face to face brainstorming session always have participants use post-it notes to write down ideas instead of a facilitator on a white board or flip chart. When writing down one idea at a time on a central board people have to wait their turn to give input often causing them to forget the ideas popping into their head. In brainstorming there is no wrong answer and if people are required to shout out their idea they may be reluctant to share seemingly crazy ideas when it fact they are often the ones that work.

In each meeting, one group member will be put on the Hot Seat for usually 30 minutes in which the focus is on them and solving the challenge they have presented to the group. The person on the Hot Seat rotates each meeting. This is just one aspect of the meeting I have been involved with. There are numerous ways to run your meetings depending on the goals and interests of your group.

Mastermind groups are popular with entrepreneurs but they can be formed around any common interest. I have been in a podcasting mastermind group and I have friends on groups focused on fatherhood, CEO’s, health and fitness, craft making and even addictions. If you are interested in starting your own group, check out Jonathan Milligan’s great article titled How To Launch A Mastermind Group.

Have you had success with a mastermind group? Why or why not, please let me know in the comments below.