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Don’t Hold Yourself Accountable

Source | LinkedIn : By Dave Kerpen

“Why do we keep missing our goals?” Ben asked my eight-person entrepreneurs group. “Because we’ve been missing one key ingredient. That all changes, right now.”

For the previous year, our group, which meets monthly, had been working on goal achievement. Eight driven successful entrepreneurs were determined to grow as individuals, and the goals activity was bound to help. At the beginning of the year, we had each set metrics-driven personal and professional goals that we could come back to and report on to the group. At each monthly meeting, among other things, we all reviewed our progress on our goals.

There was only one problem: We weren’t making any progress. Each month we were honestly reporting on how well we’d done that month, and each month we were coming up short.

I began to wonder if perhaps we had set goals that were too difficult to achieve. My goal, for instance, was to exercise at least thirty minutes a day at least four times a week, and I just wasn’t hitting it on a consistent basis. I was trying to lose weight, and I knew that consistent exercise (or lack thereof) was an important part of the equation.

“Bullshit,” said Ben. “We’re not hitting our goals because we’re not accountable enough. Starting today, we’ll each have a goal accountability partner. You are to check in with your partner at least once a week. First up, reassess all goals together and make sure they’re SMART goals (simple, measureable, attainable,realistic, and time-bound). Then, instead of you updating the group at our monthly meeting with your progress, your partner will update the group on how well you’re doing and you will update the group on how well your partner is doing.”

Ben was a man on a mission, and although there was definitely some pushback and hesitation among the group, we collectively decided to embrace the new plan. Andy would be my personal accountability partner, and I would be his. The meeting ended, and the new era of goals work began.

A funny thing happened over the next several months. We all went from missing our goals to hitting them! Encouraged by this success, I began to get very competitive, and not just for myself but also for my accountability partner, Andy. I wanted him to be able to report that I’d hit my goals each month, and so I worked harder than I had before to hit them. At the same time I was thrilled to report that Andy was hitting his goal of performing and tracking random acts of kindness. The rest of the group was doing great, too.

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