Accountability: More Than A Deadline

If you’ve been in business for more than a few months, you’ve had the discussion about accountability with at least one other business owner – and will continue to have that conversation with other business owners.

We all struggle with staying focused and getting things done. One way that we combat this is by setting up systems of accountability. Our systems vary greatly, from detailed plans and deadlines to mastermind groups and more. One strategy that can be effective is bringing another person into your system to be accountable to. Telling someone else about your goals and deadlines is a step in the right direction.

But accountability works best when it’s more than deadlines and reminders – when there’s the real potential for loss. That could be the loss of money, if we are paying someone to keep us accountable. It could be the loss of opportunity, if we aren’t acting fast enough. It could be the loss of integrity or trust, if the opinion of the person we are letting down is important to us. Of course the person we are really letting down is our own self.

Sometimes it takes more than our own gumption to get things done. Sometimes it takes the potential for loss to get us motivated. I’ve started asking myself more, “Self, what am I giving up by not getting this done?” If the answer is a lot, then I better get at it.


Originally published in Work Better, Not Harder on March 7, 2012.