What is accountability and what are the benefits?
Accountability is accepting responsibility for our actions in a very public or personal way. In organizations, it is used as a measure of performance and profoundly tied to the outcomes you were hired to deliver.
Also, psychologists agreed that it is about providing results on a commitment, which points out the importance of outcomes over tasks. This last point brings me to bring this topic to your attention because in a cyber world of too many coaches coaching coaches and an overload of Facebook Groups, I feel that we are losing focus on how to use this valuable strategy to improve our lives and businesses.
It has been demonstrated in diverse research that accountability plays an integral role in achieving our goals. Why? We all need the discipline to accomplish our goals, and accountability is the best way to take knowledge into action consistently. However, I have found in my practice as a coach and consultant that many people look for this accountability in significant-others, friends, or family, which most of the time end in frustration and delayed results if any.
Accountability vs support
We most definitely need support from our immediate environment, no doubt. Nonetheless, support is different from accountability. Support in this context relates to receiving assistance in different areas of our life to get to the goal faster. That support can be
1. Emotional – Expressions of empathy, love, trust, and caring
2. Instrumental – Tangible aid and service
3. Informational – Advice, suggestions, and information
4. Appraisal – Information that is useful for self-evaluation
For example, I receive immense support from my husband when he takes the boys to the park so that I can write; or my mom is invaluable when she comes to fold all the laundry or pick up the kids to school so that I can teach on a webinar. But none of them will be an accountability partner because they don’t get my vision and I have to respect that. When I was working on my physical and emotional transformation back in 2012, my mom, my husband, my sister, they all supported me in their own way, but they never made me accountable. Regardless, accountability has been a massive part of my success as of today.
Four Layers of Accountability
The best way to implement accountability in your life, career, or business to attain the changes you are looking for is by using four layers. Overlapping accountability layers allow us to create an environment where we do what we have to do even when we don’t want to. Consider these four layers of accountability, and how you could benefit from them. You don’t have to implement all and they are not in order. However, they are a proven framework to turn knowledge into action consistently:
- Teacher & mentor – Find someone that challenges the status quo and that sets high expectations. It doesn’t have to be one-on-one, you have a great mentor/teacher in a group setting (remember school). Ideally, you have permitted this person to be tough on you, and You get motivated to show results
- A team of people you respect – Become part of a group working towards similar goals. In this group, you will find people at your level or higher. Also, the environment should be one of mutual respect with a healthy competitive environment. You get motivated to get into the game.
- Buddy system – like in scuba diving, one person is responsible for the other and sink or swim together. Be cautious, about making your friend your buddy. You need someone that is in the ranks with you and will call it on you when you are missing the mark. NOTE: I have tried to make my husband my success partner, aka, buddy, and it never works.
Use this guide to make the most out of your meetings with your success partner and the questions will help you decide who could be your success partner. I created exclusively for my tribe so that you take action.
- Public accountability – find ways to declare public accountabilities, you don’t have to post it all over social media, but share it with people that are important to you. Most importantly share why you are doing what you are doing. Focus on sharing the outcomes. Yes, there may be many repetitive, mundane tasks in the way, but I have found that when we share the why behind all the things that may look silly or crazy to bystanders, we get better support. It is also a great way to put skin in the game.
Where to begin?
But how can I know that I am accountable for the right tasks? I started this blog telling you about the importance of being accountable to the outcome because it is having clarity on the prize that will determine all the tasks that need to take place. Below, I describe for you a short process to sort shallow work from meaningful work, and it’s been very valuable to use it with my success partner:
- What can you do this week that at the end of the week will deserve a real celebration?
- If you don’t have that moment, ask yourself what is going on that is holding you back?
- Are we being reasonable with our expectations?
- Did you set the bar too low?
- Did life happen?
- Take it a step forward, what is the one thing that if it happens, this year your life will massively uplevel your life?
As to Facebook Groups, coaches, and consultants, they all can be of great value in helping you be accountable in the process of taking knowledge into action, but they can become a great distraction, and can become shallow/busywork. For example, my Facebook community is layer 2 and 4 above to me and many others. I have hired different consultants, coaches, therapists in the past 2 decades to assist me with all 4 layers. What differentiates the good experiences from the learning experiences (keeping it positive) is the clarity that I have had as to the outcomes when deciding to work with a specialist.
I gave more insights and examples on my Facebook Live broadcast. Watch below and don’t forget to get involved in our community “Declutter; Make Room For Impact”, details below the video.
Now I would love to hear from you. Which accountability layer would make the biggest impact on what you’re working on and why? Then, tell me how you can turn that insight into action right now.
And don’t be shy. Share as much detail as you want there are hundreds of visitors daily that could be inspired and motivated by your insights and stories (but don’t post videos or links, those will be automatically deleted)
Thank you for been here and sharing your voice. If you have friends, colleagues, or clients who could use these ideas, please share this post.
Because no matter your industry, these three principles can help you craft something that’s built to last.
Best of success always,