Why You Need an Accountability Group and How to Make It to Work for Everyone


Why You Need an Accountability Group and How to Make It to Work for Everyone

Like a lot of you, I’m in business by myself. Sure, I have contractors in several roles but they work remotely so on a day-to-day basis it’s just me. Mostly I love that I can ‘go to work’ in my PJs but at times I miss being able to talk through an issue with a coworker.

Luckily I discovered accountability groups some years ago. On a regular basis, I get together with other business owners, all from very different industries, at various stages of the business cycle. We celebrate our wins, commiserate our losses and bring our best thinking to bear on each other’s challenges.

Being in an accountability group makes me realise I’m actually not in business by myself. I feel like I’ve got a band of brothers, who genuinely have my back and want to see me succeed. I really do believe every business owner should find a group of peers and form an accountability group.

Here are the things that work well for these groups…. and the things that don’t work at all.

  • It’s good to have a diverse group. Don’t look for people all within the same industry, because outside opinions and perspectives are invaluable.
  • Set up some group rules. I’m after real accountability so if someone says they’ll do something by a certain date, I’ll want to know why it didn’t get done. But not everyone actually wants to be held accountable. Be clear on the purpose from the start.
  • Make the group a regular thing. My current group meets every fortnight for two hours over Skype (we’re all in different parts of Australia). This gives us enough time between catch ups to work on our projects and have some outcomes to discuss.
  • Make the meeting time non-negotiable. Block it out in your calendar and don’t miss them. I will turn down client meetings to make sure I catch up with my team. Their time is just as valuable to me as a client’s time.
  • Make sure everyone gets equal air time. I’ve been in groups where one or two people become oxygen thieves, which it becomes a bit of an eye roll for everyone else. If you have someone who talks too much, set a timer and cut them off once their time is done.
  • Wear your ‘listening ears’. If you bring a challenge to the group, make sure you actually listen to all the opinions you get. You’ll very quickly alienate your group if you constantly find reasons why none of their suggestions will work.
  • Don’t outstay your welcome. I’m on my third accountability group. Like some relationships, you’ll get a feeling when it’s run its course. If you’re no longer adding value to the group, or you’re no longer getting value, it’s best to part company as friends.
  • Keep the group to a maximum of 6. Any more just doesn’t work. In every session, there be one person with an issue that needs more attention and with more than six, some people will start feeling left out. My current group is only three in total and I find it a really great number for deep dives and solid conversations.

I really can’t overstate the value my accountability groups have given me and my business over the years. I’ve developed deep friendships with some great business owners that I otherwise wouldn’t have got to know. It’s helped expand my thinking and create some amazing products and services for my clients. It’s challenged me and helped me to grow as a person. Isn’t that what we all want?

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