Everyone needs an Accountability Partner!
“Help others achieve their dreams and you will achieve yours.” – Les Brown
As small business owners, we all like to think that we can handle things on our own. After all, we are professionals. There can’t be too much out there that we haven’t experienced, seen, or need to know, right? So, we should be able to resolve any problem or issue without too much help or assistance.
The truth of the matter is, we all need help. If we truly believe we don’t, then we are fooling ourselves. Really smart people surround themselves with really smart people because they know that they simply cannot resolve all the problems that they face on a day-to-day basis on their own. The key to getting help is to realize that we need help to begin with.
There are various national and international peer advisory groups. For small businesses there is the Small Business Administration and SCORE to name but two. There are even Meetup Accountability Groups. Many of these groups offer advice and insight. The peer advisory groups generally meet once a month with an hour of executive coaching per month as well. In many cases, this may be all you need, but what if it isn’t? What if you want and need someone to be there more than just once or twice a month?
That’s where an accountability partner comes in. Now you can pay for an executive coach or consultant. Or, you can find a friend who would be willing to spend the time with you in order to help you resolve or at least alleviate some of the problems you are currently facing.
Regardless of the route you take, realize that it is a route you need to take! Here’s why:
- Because none of us is as smart as we think we are – If you think that there is nothing else you need to learn, you are wrong. The time we stop learning is when we die. Until that time, open your mind and learn about new methodologies, processes, systems, and ways of doing things. It will be enlightening.
- Because many times we don’t know what we don’t know – We think we know about a particular area, only to find out that our problems had nothing to do with that particular area. Many times it takes someone else to ask a simple question which opens up the possibility that we were looking in the wrong place to begin with.
- Because many times we are too close to the problem to be able to see the solution – How many times have you read over a paper and thought that it was perfect only to have someone else read it and find typos and grammatical errors? Too many times, we are just too close to the situation to be able to look at it objectively any longer.
- Because we all need help at times to get on and stay on track – If you believe that you can’t continue to wear all those hats because they either don’t fit very well or don’t look that good on you, then you realize that you can’t possibly move toward problem resolution in so many areas. In that case, you can’t even get on track, none the less stay on track.
- Because it’s always good to get an outside perspective – Years ago when the milk industry was looking for new ways to preserve their milk products in order to ensure they could get from the factory to the store, they didn’t look at other milk producers, they looked at the American Red Cross. Why, because this organization was also transporting a perishable commodity, blood! Seeking outside help from someone who is not close to the company offers a fresh, new outside-the-box perspective.
So that’s why you should seriously think about an accountability partner. What about when? Well, here’s a start. Ask yourselves the following questions:
- Am I wearing a lot of hats? In other words, am I the CEO, CIO, COO, CFO, Sales Manager, Marketing Director, and so on and so on …
- Am I working over 12 hours a day and do I bring work home each evening and on the weekends?
- Do I feel like I’m losing control over my professional and perhaps even my personal life?
- Do I have a line outside my office door with people who need to talk to me on a daily basis?
- Knowing that your employees bring their problems to you, do you have someone to bring your problems to?Let’s go one step further. Now you know why you should seek an accountability partner and when you should seek an accountability partner, but what about what to look for in an accountability partner? Here are seven things to consider. An accountability partner should be:
So how did you do? Many feel that answering these questions honestly doesn’t mean anything, it’s just the cost of owning a business. I believe that answering these questions honestly is the first step toward realizing that you have some problems that are just going to get worse if you don’t do something about them.
- Someone you trust – Otherwise their advice or insight may be meaningless to you or you may think they have an ulterior motive.
- Someone who is available – Meeting with someone once a month or once every few months will not help you get to the root cause of your problems much less begin to resolve them.
- Someone whose opinion you value – Find someone experienced, smart, likeable, easy to be around, well respected and whose insight is helpful.
- Someone who will be honest with you – Finding someone who will tell you what you want to hear will not help you remove any of the hats you are wearing. He/she must be able to give you open, honest feedback whether it is good news or bad.
- Someone you will listen to – You can hear advice and you can listen to advice. If you hear it, and do nothing then you truly weren’t listening. If you brought this person in, then it behooves you to be open to his/her advice and insight.
- Someone of high integrity, honesty, shared values, and personality match – Find someone who shares what you believe in. Find them by referral as opposed to from a website or ad. Learn something about them before you engage them. Let’s face it, if you don’t particularly like them, you’re not likely to take advice from them.
- Someone who can relate to your current situation/problem – Find someone experienced. A millennial business coach with five years of experience may not be someone who has experienced your kind of problem or situation. This is one area where the “seasoned professional” might be the best choice.
Business life can be hard. Why go through it thinking that you can or need to handle all the day-to-day problems, issues, and concerns on your own when there is help out there. All of us want someone to talk to, confide in and yes, at times, vent to. That’s what a good accountability partner can be for you.
About the Author — Ron Feher is the Chief Improvement Officer at WhiteRock Business Solutions. Ron’s business helps turn small business strategy into reality. He is an executive advisor with The BoardRoom (executive think tank) and specializes in improving all aspects of business operations including executive coaching, employee assessments, business planning, and day-to-day operations improvement. He is a certified professional analyst with TTI Success Insights® utilizing their behavioral, motivational, competency, and emotional intelligence assessments to help businesses hire, retain, and improve their teams. Ron does Career Coaching as an outreach (#givingback) to the community. WhiteRock is located in Orange County, California and can be found at www.whiterockbusiness.net; or contact Ron directly at email@example.com (949-466-0943). #accountability @RonFeher