Accountability groups are a good source of support, strength, and ideas that can help you take your ideas from dream to reality. If you are part of one, make plans to use it more strategically from today forward. If you are not part of one, take this opportunity to join or create one. You will be glad you did.
Over the past year, I learned accountability groups must grow and develop with their members.
Between the end of one year and the beginning of the next people all across the country make plans to do big, bold and audacious things. They get excited about the possibility of moving their ideas from dream to reality. Often they think about what they can do on their own and what they will need to help to accomplish. This is a good thing. If you are thinking about your goals and plans for the next year and understand that there is strength to be found in using a team to help you reach your goals.
Accountability groups are groups of people who team up to help each member reach their goals by requiring each member to be accountable to the other members. Typically the groups meet in person, via video conference, or by telephone on a regular basis to talk, share ideas, and hold each other accountable. At their best, these groups are small so that all members get to know each other, interact on a regular basis, and feel comfortable sharing their secrets, thoughts, and feelings in the group. When accountability groups get too large, members feel like they are dealing with strangers. Large groups also make it possible for members to disappear in the crowd and not actually be held accountable. With smaller accountability groups, members feel as though they know each other. When the members know each other it is harder for them to disappear because they can be called out by name by the other members of the group.
One thing to keep in mind is that accountability groups change and develop over time as do the members. During the past year, I was part of three different accountability groups.
My personal accountability group has been in existence for the past five years. Two friends and I started the group after a business conference. We met every other week for several years. Then one of the members dropped off and just two of us continued to meet. The two of us became friends and worked together in a variety of ways both personal and professional. At our accountability meetings, we only discuss our personal accountability issues. We share goals and plans and work hard to give each other support advice and accountability. This year the two of us introduced a new member to our accountability group. This year I learned that new people can be brought into the personal accountability group and though they change the atmosphere, it can be a good thing.
For business, I have been part of a mastermind group for the past two years. Our group was formed to work our way through business improvement projects. Over the course of two years members left the group as their projects were completed or they decided to move on to other things. Over the past two years, our group shrunk from ten women to three. We have held steady at three members for the past nine months. As the group shrank in size we learned what each person was capable of doing. We got a clear understanding of which member was best at which type of advice and assistance. As the group shrank in numbers it became better, stronger, and more of a resource to its members. This year I learned that small can be spectacular when it comes to accountability groups.
My project-based accountability group has been in place only for the past two and a half months. This group was formed after some women entrepreneurs got together for a networking lunch decided it would be good for us to meet on a regular basis to encourage, support, and advise each other when it came to work projects. We set aside time once per month for six months in order to support and encourage each other on one project. At our monthly meetings, we picked a project to focus on with the group. Between meetings, we share ideas and ask questions and answer questions for one another. It has been a good two and a half months with these women. This year I learned that small and focused accountability groups can be a powerful tool.
Take a moment today to put together an accountability group.
When it comes to succeeding in life, it is important to remember the words to the old John Donne poem,
No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
The main thing to take away from the poem is that you do not have to do it all on your own. Instead, create a team that will help you reach your goals. Create a team that will hold you accountable. Create a team that will push you to do what you say and to say you will do great things. Accountability groups are hard, scary, and a lot of work. But, as they are worth the effort and work you put into them. Here are a few tips to help you get started creating accountability groups of your own.
- Decide if the group will be for personal or professional purposes
- Keep the group small 10 or fewer people so that everyone can speak at every meeting
- For your personal group keep meetings only about accountability issues, talk about everything else later
- For professional groups keep the conversations strictly business and socialize after the accountability session
- For personal groups do not admit people who are jealous, petty or threatened by criticism
- For professional groups select people who want to succeed and want to see you succeed
- Never be afraid to remove members or yourself if the group does not benefit you
The most important thing to remember about accountability groups is that you only get out of them what you put into them. If you want your group to succeed make sure everyone attends each meeting. It must be a priority to members in order to be successful and helpful. Members who only show up occasionally hinder the growth of the group. You must be present in order to see where people are and where they are going. Presence at meetings is also important for continuity. That being said, make it easy for members to attend. Have meetings at times and locations that are easily accessible for all. My professional and personal accountability groups meet via Google hangout each week. My project-based accountability group meets in person once per month. Last month, one member attended via telephone because she needed to be at the hospital to await the birth of her newest grandchild. The meeting was a priority to her so she found a way to make it work.
Accountability groups will have ups, downs successes, and failures. This is all part of the process. Accountability groups are a wonderful tool for helping people succeed and reach the heights in their dreams. Start one or two today and see how they work. If you need help starting one or advice once your group has started, feel free to reach out to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org