So what is an accountability partner, you might ask? Like many entrepreneurs, freight agents often find themselves working on their own, and somewhat lonely, even if they have an office full of employees. As the business owner, you have goals you want to achieve, but may not always feel motivated to take steps toward achieving them every single day, because you’re the boss and you don’t really have to answer to anyone. And if you are a solo-preneur working by yourself, this is even harder. That’s where an accountability partner comes in. It is someone you trust, who has their own business or could be in sales in a different industry, who may at times have problems getting motivated as well. When you pair up with an accountability partner, suddenly you have to explain to someone why you’re not getting things done. For many people, just having to report on progress or lack thereof motivates them into action.
Do you think having an accountability partner might be helpful to you? If so, here’s how to establish a strong relationship with an accountability partner so you can both help each other achieve your respective goals:
- Identify a Good Accountability Partner: Who do you know that is also a freight agent, but not really a competitor? Or maybe you know another business owner in your town, or someone in sales. Oftentimes growing your book of business is the most challenging, so finding another person who is selling as well could be a good match. Once you identify someone with a compatible business background whom you trust, you are on your way to establishing relationship.
- Propose the Idea: Similar to forming a Mastermind Group as discussed in my previous blog, a simple call conveying the following idea could open the door to a deeper discussion where you address the items listed below: “I really respect you. We are both in business for ourselves, and I know it can sometimes be a challenge to get motivated to make consistent progress towards achieving our goals since we are really accountable to no one. I recently learned of this concept called accountability partners where you meet with another person on a regular basis to share goals and challenges and report on progress. Would you be interested in partnering with me on this?”
- Define the Parameters of Your Relationship: What do you want to discuss? How deep and personal do you want to get? Is everything on the table or just very specific areas of your work or personal life? By deciding what is within and off limits upfront, you can start to define the parameters of the relationship.
- Schedule Regular Meeting Times: This can be a weekly, every two weeks, or monthly; a call or an in-person meeting or a mix. When I was partnered with a woman from my Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO) chapter where our moderator launched the idea for us, we would meet monthly mostly in person. Our WPO chapter met monthly, so we met two weeks afterwards to discuss progress and prepare for the next meeting. For variety’s sake and to keep things efficient, you could also alternate in person and phone meetings either weekly, every two weeks, or monthly.
- Be Prepared: Treat this like a real business meeting, because it is and it will keep you focused on results and progress both as you prepare for the meeting and during the meeting. List your objectives and what you would like to accomplish between the current and next meeting, then report on your progress at the next meeting with the promises you made to yourself and your partner. By being very professional about it, you keep things on track, and it does not end up being an unfocused social call.
- Provide Encouragement: If you sense your accountability partner is struggling, don’t beat them up, instead, try to get to the heart of what is holding them back from success and then try think about how you felt in a similar situation and share how you handled it. In the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO), we call this Gestalt experience-sharing vs. giving advice. This way they don’t get angry if they do what you suggest and it doesn’t work and you don’t get insulted they don’t take advice. To make things seem more manageable if your partner is overwhelmed, you can help by suggesting how to break goals down into smaller, more achievable steps upon which they can report progress more easily. That way they can build up some momentum if they are feeling stalled.
So now you know what an accountability partner is and how having one can help provide you with support, so what are you waiting for? Who do you respect, trust, and think would be a good accountability partner for you? Contact that person today. You’d be surprised at how open people can be to helping each other with new ideas on how to succeed!
– By Cheryl Biron, President
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