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During a client meeting, as we were making the plans for our work together in 2013, the client suggested that he needs to work on holding himself more accountable to staying on track for his business objectives.

I smiled and politely nodded. With his permission, I then shared my own views on self-accountability. While a measure of self-accountability is important for me to stay focused and move forward on my goals, even if I really expended a lot of energy I would be mediocre at best at motivating myself and remaining accountable to the goals I’ve set for 2013.

That’s why I created a structure of accountability to provide the support I know I need to be successful in 2013. I counted for him no fewer than five specific people that I have invited to help keep me accountable, focused and on track with my business plans (for more about the five types of support I’ve put in place, see my blog post “Who’s on Your Bus?”).

To meet my goal of helping you achieve your own goals for 2013, I developed a tool called the “One-Page Project Plan.” I had realized that too much detailed planning was overwhelming for business owners and they needed a concise plan that would keep them focused on their highest priorities.

Many parts of the One-Page Project Plan were obvious (like “Objective” and “Milestones”). With this client conversation in mind I now added another section, “Accountability.”

Every time you make a business plan, whether at the outset of a year or any other time, accountability must be specifically defined for the objective you are looking to achieve.

Here are three steps for defining accountability:

  1. Who? Whether the answer is one or more people, choose someone who is invested in you; someone who has extended themselves in the past for your sake and for your success. This could be a spouse, friend, business colleague or another person in your network anyone who you respect and trust.
  2. What? Once you’ve chosen the person or people, go to each one and have a conversation about what you need them to do. Share the specifics of the objective you’ve set and precisely what you need from them.
  3. How? This last step is meant to define how things will work between you and your accountability partner. Define the frequency you would like to connect, what you will be sharing, and what you would like them to do in response. Make sure you give them permission to tell you the truth and to challenge you when they see you slipping.
    At the end of the day, no matter what accountability structure we surround ourselves with, it’s about self-accountability, but putting a structure in place has a powerful influence on our minds and hearts to keep us moving on the things that are most important in our work and life.

Having trouble getting your plans to a point where you can even think about accountability? Give us 30 minutes together and by the end of the call, you’ll have the framework for your own One-Page Project Plan. Call any time – 201.294.4417

Jeff Harmon

Jeff Harmon is the president of Brilliance Within Coaching & Consulting which specializes in developing servant leaders while helping them translate their strategies into actionable plans that drive business results. Jeff is the author of “The Anatomy of a Principled Leader.” Jeff has been developing leaders for nearly 20 years and has led the execution of over 100,000 hours of business strategy for information technology, financial services and non-profit organizations.

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