By now you should have a good overview of what accountability partnerships are and what kind might be best for you. It’s time to go over some ways to make sure that your relationship – whatever kind you choose – will work smoothly and successfully for both you and your partner.
Create the ground rules.
It may seem silly to set out on paper the rules of engagement for your relationship, but writing down some details will help you avoid misunderstandings and confusion later. At a minimum, lay out:
- How often you will meet. (Frequency. Will you check in daily, weekly, monthly?)
- Where/how you’ll meet. (Skype, phone, in person, etc.?)
- What dates/times you’ll meet.
- How long the meetings will be. (All in the group should be clear on this. If one person is expecting a 20 minute meeting and the rest of the members talk for 2 hours – there’s obviously some miscommunication.)
- The overall goal of the accountability partnership. (Is it accountability to meet your goals? Or a weekly support connection? Brainstorming? What’s the purpose of connecting? Make sure you’re on the same page.)
- The basic agenda for your meetings. (This schedule will help the meetings be more productive and less chatty.)
- Requirements. (What happens if your partner misses several meetings in a row and thinks nothing of it? Do you have your requirements set?)
- Expectations. (Is each member expected to bring a resource or question to the meeting? Make the preparation clear.)
- If you’re forming a group, the number of members (and how you’d decide to add more)
- Also decide if you’re open to communicating between meetings; are you willing to field phone calls or answer emails, or do you just want to confine your partnership to your regularly scheduled meetings? Either way is fine, as long as you agree on the boundaries.
Agree on confidentiality.
You may assume that your partner isn’t going to spread the news of the security hack on your website, but he may have no qualms about using your situation as a cautionary tale in his latest blog post. Talk about what kind of confidentiality you expect from your partner, and make sure you’re all on the same page before starting to share the ins and outs of your business.
Appoint a check-in time.
If your partnership is brand-new, set a time a few weeks or a month out to reassess and troubleshoot any problems you may be having. You can take this chance to set new guidelines, or reaffirm what’s working well for you. If things are just not working out, this is a good time to cut the ties, rather than continuing on for the duration of the original time period.
Decide specifically what you’d like to accomplish during your time with your accountability partner. Do you want to double your site’s traffic? Release new products? Create an e-course? Know what you’re going to aim for so your partner can remind you to stay on task and not get distracted.
Things can move so fast in the online world that we become fixated on what’s right in front of us, and forget about how far we’ve come. As a result, it’s easy to overlook the progress you’ve made and focus only on how far you still have to go. If you take notes during your accountability sessions, you’ll have a track record of your accomplishments.