Lauren King is the EO Accelerator Program Director for Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO). This business accelerator program empowers entrepreneurs with the tools, community and accountability necessary to aggressively grow and master their businesses. Lauren shared her thoughts on the importance of accountability in achieving goals.
"When performance is measured, performance improves. When performance is measured and reported, the rate of improvement accelerates." ― Thomas S. Monson
When was the last time you stopped to consider why business accelerator accountability group meetings are so impactful? Don't underestimate the impact of formal learning events on a regular schedule coupled with monthly small-group gatherings. Beyond catching up with like-minded entrepreneurs who are working to scale their businesses, something happens in those meetings that increases each participant's likelihood of success.
What's the Secret?
The American Society of Training and Development conducted a study about accountability and found the following success rates for completing goals.
- 10% You have an idea or a goal
- 25% You consciously decide you will achieve the goal
- 40% You decide when you will achieve the goal
- 50% You plan how you will accomplish the goal
- 65% You commit to someone that you will achieve the goal
- 95% You make an accountability appointment with a person to whom you've committed
This is why participants in business accelerator groups are asked to set and write out goals quarterly. Taking these steps seem to almost guarantee that they'll succeed.
I thought about why having an accountability appointment increases the success rate so much. In a typical business accelerator accountability group, there are four to six other participants all asking for the same support and accountability as they implement the tools they're learning―plus a leader who's already grown a business to scale. And at every meeting, they're all going to ask about your progress. No one wants to be "that person" who shows up with nothing to report and nothing to add to the conversation. It doesn't matter how small your movement is, as long as things are happening.
Nick Thuston, a graduate of our business accelerator program in St. Louis, explains, "Having a coach and a handful of peers holding me accountable to follow through and push me to test the limits of my abilities was an incredible experience."
Johnny Fuerst, a participant in Minnesota, agrees. "The accountability group has been invaluable to me, as there is no one else in my business or outside it that I've been accountable to."
The Four A's of Accountability
I find it helpful to think about the specific aspects of accountability that can help me increase the likelihood of achieving my goals.
- Ask. Find someone you trust and ask them to hold you accountable. This doesn't have to be a formal group. It can be a friend or a coworker―anyone you trust to actually hold you accountable for doing the things you say you're going to do.
- Agree. Once you have your "person," work together to create the plan you're putting in place, as well as ways your person can support you, whether you're not making progress or you're ready to celebrate wins along the way. Put structures in place to track your progress and set up check-in dates when you know you'll have to describe that progress.
- Act. Your goal isn't going to achieve itself. The final 5 percent of your success comes from the work you put into it. Make the phone call. Do the reading. Test a new tool. It doesn't matter where you start, but you do have to start. Now.
- Assess. During each check-in with your person, assess your progress and make a plan. Are all the things you're working on moving you in the right direction? It's imperative to make time to stop where you are and update your person about what you're doing. During each conversation, you may identify things that cause you to make a massive change in direction.
Remember, your person is there to help you! They're your support system. They can (and should) celebrate with you along the way and ask questions about your progress or your roadblocks. They'll help you increase your odds of achieving the goal you set for yourself.
If you'd like to learn more about EO's Accelerator program and benefit from the strategies Lauren mentioned, visit eonetwork.org/eo-accelerator.