For me, creating a G.O.A.L.S. strategy went a long way towards keeping me accountable. It represents: (G)irlfriends (who keep me sane and focused); (O)ptimism (crucial for weathering the storms and propelling my business); (A)daptability (multiple revenue sources and a strong marketplace presence regardless of external forces); (L)everage (opportunities and partners that help to optimize the business); and (S)trategic focus on the future (a detailed business plan and regularly talking up goals to fruition). The last one is particularly important in being accountable. It’s easy in theory, but much harder in reality. However, accountability has worked wonders for me personally and professionally.
You’ve heard the saying “No man is an island," right? No truer words were spoken, particularly when you’re trying to accomplish your goals. Forming an accountability group can mean the difference between getting mired in the minutia of day-to-day operations versus taking your business to the next level AND successfully balancing work and family. So where do you start? Our group encompasses three business owners, two others and me. We attended a weekend retreat on goals. During a workshop, we were asked to list 100 short-term, mid-range, and long-term goals. I came up with 107 for myself. Concerned that I might shelve them, I suggested to my two colleagues that we commit to holding each accountable in our quest to reach our goals.
Accountability through Technology
For the past three years, we’ve utilized a software program that details our weekly, quarterly and yearly personal, professional and recurring (i.e.-exercising) goals. Collectively, we use the program to ensure that we stick to our goals and complete their associated steps.
Every Friday, we sign into the software and report the past week’s progress. The next day, we record our objectives for the upcoming week. Throughout the week, we update one another on certain tasks via email or touch base to ensure accountability. Occasionally, we’ll offer one another advice, though this is not the group’s main objective. But we do push, pull and cheer for one another.
An integral part of our success is that we are a small, intimate group, enabling each of us to be honest about our goals and supportive of one another’s progress. We occasionally meet face-to-face to catch up and reconnect.
Though our group is closed, I encourage others to get involved and create their own groups. I highly recommend that anybody who is interested check out theaccountabilitygroup. com for more information on how to get started.
As a business owner, it’s all too easy to get distracted or become complacent when you don’t have to answer to someone else. An accountability group is a great way to stay on track as you work towards your dreams. In many cases, it can even motivate you to excel well beyond your initial goals.
More Accountability Tips
Be specific. The more detailed your goals, the faster you’ll reach them.
Create manageable tasks. You’ll get discouraged if tasks are too daunting. Create small, doable steps that move you a little closer to the finish line each day.
Stick to deadlines. If you don’t adhere to goal deadlines, it’ll be a slow road to success.
Compartmentalize. Manage the workload and allay the stress by allotting specific amounts of time for each task. For instance, 30 minutes a day to deal with email and don’t deviate from it. You’ll accomplish more without getting sidetracked.
Build a solid support team. Aside from your accountability team, a strong network of family, friends and other peers is essential, not only to meet goals but to keep your sanity intact as well.
Factor in “me” time. For women, it’s a challenge. However, you’re no good to anyone if you’re no good to yourself.
HEIDI KALLETT is the CEO and President of The Dandelion Patch, a 15-year-old fine stationary store with locations in Vienna, Reston, and Leesburg, Virginia as well as Georgetown in Washington, DC. She has grown The Dandelion Patch by more than 425% since1994. Heidi serves on many non-profit boards and is a member of several area chambers of commerce and professional organizations. She is a past President of the Junior League of Northern Virginia and the current President-Elect for the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) Greater DC chapter. She is a frequent contributor to the magazine.