So you’re an entrepreneur, living the dream, right? No one to answer to, you can work your own hours, do your own thing and make all the decisions yourself. Life is great. Or is it? When it comes to accountability, being your own boss isn’t always everything it’s cracked up to be.
There are generally two outcomes that occur with a lack of accountability. You either break yourself working 100 hours a week trying to achieve EVERYTHING on your never-ending to do list (and more than likely filling your time with a whole bunch of stuff that wasn’t even on the list). Or, you get next to nothing done, deadlines get pushed out and the business’ growth plan starts grinding to a halt.
Either way, you’re not being very effective with your time, and likely beating yourself up severely for it. There’s no one to pat you on the back when you smash through your week, and likewise there is no one to kick you up the butt when you’re prioritising your social calendar over getting some business done.
This absolute lack of accountability is the curse of the entrepreneur. Basically we can do whatever the hell we want, and (as liberating as this sounds) if we don’t find a way to build accountability into our life, we end up with a constantly-running negative internal dialogue. Beating ourselves up for not doing enough and trying desperately to measure ourselves against what’s normal, with no external yardstick to measure against.
Unless you’re cool with a one-way ticket to financial or mental ruin (or both – wouldn’t that be fun?), you’ve got to get some accountability into your life pronto. Here are three ways that have worked for us:
Get an Accountability Partner
Every Monday morning at 8am AEST, Sarah jumps on a 15 minute call with Jacqueline Arias, Founder of Republica Organic to run through their goals for the week ahead, and also to fess up to how they did the previous week. The dynamic duo use a simple running google doc and highlight everything that was achieved in green, and what wasn’t in orange (if still in progress) or red in the case of a complete failure. The idea is obviously to get all greens, but in the case where you have a blowout of a week, your accountability partner is going to call you on it.
The accountability call is not negotiable, it doesn’t matter where in the world Sarah or Jacqueline are that day, they prepare their week in advance and get on that call.
“Our accountability call is probably, in fact it is, the only routine thing in my life! That’s crazy when I think about it, but it works. I generally try to stick to 5 key things to achieve for the week, (one for each day) and not go overboard… that’s what I used to do, have these massive To Do lists that never got ticked off and I always felt like I was failing.
“It’s really satisfying to get through my 5 things, and to have Jac say ‘well done girl – you nailed it last week’. I don’t know about her, but I definitely feel committed to getting through it, and when we have to kick each other along a bit it’s tough, but you know you need to lift your game.” – Sarah Riegelhuth
Our sister company Wealth Enhancers has recently implemented this buddy system too, to increase the accountability for the internal team. Having a culture that is 100% outcomes driven, and 100% flexible means that team members are left alone to get their work done, but they need accountability too, and not just at the end of the quarter. So far, it’s working well.
Engage an External Coach or Adviser
As human beings we want to impress people, it’s in our nature and starts as children when our parents reward us for good behaviour and chastise us for bad behaviour. Obviously as adults we start to shake this off a little and certainly there are varying levels of how good individuals are at ‘not giving a sh*t about what other people think’ but deep down inside most of us, we like a little pat on the back when we’ve done a good job. We also appreciate, as hard as it is, someone calling us on our crap and getting us back on the right track again.
Engaging a professional coach or adviser is the perfect way to build accountability into what you are doing, not only are they providing you with expert advice, but they are going to hold you to implementing it. And you’re paying them, so let’s face it, you motivated in more ways than one to get value out of the relationship!
Our Finance Team membership is built around a combination of coaching, accountability and advisory because we know all three are the important secret ingredients to real success. Advice alone is as good as google really, there’s thousands of workouts available for free online, but do they get you out of bed and into shape anywhere near as well as a Personal Trainer does?
Our co-founders started training with Rapid PT about 2 months ago and can vouch for the fact that they are counting calories (and macros!), turning up to sessions and following exercise and diet plans behind the scenes like nobody’s business! All because they have their trainer to answer to. This is what a good advisor or coach will do for you. Provide you with advice and guidance to develop your strategy and goals, and then keep you accountable over the long term.
Although not necessarily quite as good as a real person, there are some great technology solutions available now that enable you to create structure, plan and then basically track and gamify the experience of getting things done. We follow the Scaling Up methodology for planning and growing our business (in fact our co-founders use this across all of their companies), based on the Rockefeller habits and developed by Verne Harnish.
The great thing about technology is that all of the paper based planning tools we used to use to implement this methodology are now available online through a platform called AlignToday. Starting with your One Page Plan (this goes through your 3-5 year vision, one year goals, and quarterly priorities), right through to assigning critical numbers, KPIs, quarterly priorities, attaching your tasks to those priorities, and your weekly and daily team huddles, Align gives you a visual picture of what is happening in your organisation and pretty quickly highlights whether you are on-track or off-track through it’s colour coding system.
This technology is an incredible additional accountability piece to keep you on track and accountable to the bigger picture that you’re working on.
So yeah, it ain’t easy having the freedom and choice to do whatever you want, whenever you want. However who are we kidding? We wouldn’t trade it for the world! It’s just important to build a framework around you to ensure that you still achieve your #bigapplevision and give yourself a well-earned break from time to time too.
If you’re interested in finding out how a Profit Coach would be able to help you grow your company and keep you accountable to your goals, reach out to us today, we’d love to have a chat.