How To Be a Better Accountability Partner

Photo by  on  Unsplash

Photo by on Unsplash

For many entrepreneurs, partnering with someone in a similar industry or profession may be just the boost you need to be sure you get stuff done -- especially if you are a solopreneur or running a remote business.

Nevertheless, while many entrepreneurs love the idea of an accountability system or partner, some fizzle because they don't address the elephant in the room: their own performance. We're not talking about your business' analytics and traffic data -- we're talking about your performance as a contributor.

The real question is: are you a good accountability partner? Does your partner agree? While every accountability arrangement is different, here are some tips to keep in mind while supporting your partner toward the finish line.

1. Stick to a consistent schedule

I once had an accountability partner who seemed like a professional soulmate. Our paths and values were such a match I couldn't imagine it not working out. The problem? We were on two different sides of the world and Google Hangouts paired with a conflicting timezone wasn't working for us. We spent more time rescheduling than rooting each other on. To be a good partner you should have reliable technology, flexibility, and a consistent schedule. 

2. Be Observant

When most people think of accountability partners, they primarily get excited at the thought of someone else cheering them on and pushing them forward. Unfortunately, most forget that it is also their job to check in, be present, and reciprocate. Pay it forward effectively by paying close attention to your partner's business goals and activity, and asking the right questions. Just like a gym buddy, ask them about their goal progress, their recent highs and lows, and offer to review their latest work.

3. Be prepared

Every professional accountability session should have an outline of talking points prepared and agreed upon before the next session. This allows the meeting to stay on track, and offers equal opportunity for both parties to receive undivided attention. Before your next check-in, send a simple bulleted email with a suggested session outline. If you want to get fancy, start organizing your sessions with the same productivity tools you use to manage your own business. Dedicated preparation will show your partner how committed you are to their success. 

4. Take responsibility

Your partner is there to help you stay on track, but only you can achieve your goals -- they aren't business magicians. They are professionals who equally seek a support system along their journey, too. So take responsibility for your business' achievements and missteps, and challenge yourself to actively revise your goals as fit. Your actions will often inspire your partner to do the same, helping you grow together. 

5. Become a friend

Professional accountability partners are amazing. But authenticity is even better. Why secure a temporary work partner when you can nurture a new friendship? Build deeper partnerships by being a person they can grow to value, admire, and trust. Long after you achieve your goals, you'll find these friendships may not only be personally fulfilling, they can lead to recommended business opportunities down the line. 

How are you being a great accountability partner?

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