How do you design accountability?

Angela van SonBlog, Goal setting and goal keeping16 Comments

I promised myself…

monster_flumpingAccountability basically means that somebody does what they are supposed to do. In coaching, that something is a promise that people made to themselves: this is what I will do. You don’t need a coach to have an accountability relationship. It can be anybody, provided they are interested in your well being and willing to work with you.

How do you make an accountability relationship work?

The most effective accountability relationships are consciously designed. Designed to make them work. A mutual accountability arrangement for example, will typically address these questions.

  • How often will we be in touch?
  • How? (mail, Skype, etc.)
  • What are we holding each other accountable for (this could be a different thing each time, and different subject matter)
  • How will we be around finishing a task (my suggestion is celebrate, definitely not just step over it). One person may ask for something different than the other, you both get to design what you like for you.
  • How do you want the other to be when you’ve NOT done your task? (be honest, to yourself as well…!)
  • Will you contact the other as soon as you notice you’re not doing what it takes, to get support before the deadline?
  • And anything else you can design to create the best support for you.

Who would be my best partner?

monster_on_backFor some people it works really well to ask somebody close by, like a partner or a friend. For other people someone a bit further away works out better, because they are more neutral. This might make them more able to be tough when you need it, and understanding when that works best.

If you have any questions, please comment below. For now I’d like to finish with a question: where could accountability help you out?

16 Comments on “How do you design accountability?”

  1. Avatar

    Love this idea, I have a productivity partner that I found while taking your e-course. We have a template we fill out each week and I learned I was biting off more than I could chew in a week and had to scale back. It was a learning process that I think I wouldn’t of seen if I didn’t do it.

    My only frustration with the accountability is that it is more of an imagined accountability. Of course, I don’t think you could make it one that is real. And I suppose I could just fill out the form for just myself but there is something to be said of sending it to someone and knowing someone hears you.
    Joanne recently posted…Review: Do it Tomorrow AppMy Profile

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    When I am up to something big I make sure I tell everyone what I am up to. In this way I feel committed to get it done. I’ve tried an accountability relationship with one person before but found they didn’t keep up with their end of the bargain. I like your idea of choosing a partner who is neutral, and I certainly didn’t discuss my expectations explicitly. Both of those are probably why it didn’t work for me. Will give that a try next time.
    Lauren recently posted…Vitamin D: A Natural Wonder DrugMy Profile

    1. Angela van Son

      I’ve joined the Facebook group you created after my course,and I find it helpful. Even though I didn’t create smart goals, talking about my intentions, my successes and my lapses helps me. It keeps me focused that I write a daily post. There’s a reason why I called it my accountability thread 😉
      Angela van Son recently posted…Even procrastination coaches procrastinateMy Profile

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    I like the idea of having an accountability partner- My best friend is like my accountability partner- tho we’ve never established it as that, but she knows me well, and always keeps me on the right track and knows what to tell me when I need to hear something!

    1. Angela van Son

      I love that: “and knows what to tell me when I need to hear something!”

      All of us need people who are willing to do that. It’s why kings had jesters. Often no one else dared, and a situation like that is not healthy.
      Angela van Son recently posted…ProcrastinationMy Profile

  4. Avatar

    Accountability doesn’t work that well for me. I have a mastermind group and we use each other for accountability, and while sometimes I really do what I said that I will do, I don’t do it because I said so. I would have done it anyway. A lot of time I don’t do what I committed to.

    I read about Gretchen Rubin’s types and I’m definitely what she describes as a Rebel. Rebels do what they want, and that’s it. Outside commitments only work well if they are real, ie. deadlines. Losing faith doesn’t bother me in the slightest.

    This message can work very well for some people, but not for us “rebels”. Actual deadlines and doing enjoyable work are the only things that are foolproof for me, so far.
    Nela recently posted…Why I Think Every Visual Creative Should Keep A Sketchbook (+ Video sketchbook flip)My Profile

    1. Angela van Son

      I really like that you add this to the discussion Nela. I’m sure a number of people will recognise themselves as the rebel – and be happy they are not alone in this.

      It makes me wonder: how do you get stuff done when it’s not enjoyable or when there’s no deadline – or both, yikes? Feel free to e-mail me if you don’t want to share the answer publicly. I’m really interested.

      I must say that in general I don’t believe in foolproof systems. It would mean that a system never fails and people always get their stuff done. For most people that doesn’t happen.

      That’s why I love to bring different tips and forms, so that people can try out one thing when the other thing doesn’t work.
      Angela van Son recently posted…I’ll do anything to avoid planningMy Profile

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