A few weeks ago, one of my friends, Robert Begley, asked me if I wanted to be his accountability buddy in 2017. As we discovered while catching up during a holiday party, we share a goal in wanting to expand our respective engagements as thought leaders, albeit in different fields. He specializes in history and heroism, from a philosophical perspective. (Robert is the founder of the New York Heroes Society and talks eloquently about Alexander Hamilton and other esteemed innovators.) My research, speaking and writing is about investment risk governance and financial client service.
I had never heard of this concept before but it strikes me that this will be a good way to bounce ideas off someone on a regular basis. As it turns out, the approach is a big deal in motivation circles. In “Why an Accountability Buddy Is Your Secret Weapon for Faster Growth” (Entrepreneur, August 29, 2013), contributor Stephanie Vozza offers the following tips:
- Pick someone outside of your industry to offer “fresh” insights;
- Work with someone who will give candid feedback and be prepared to return the favor, even when it’s “uncomfortable” to give advice;
- Identify objectives and communication preferences regarding frequency, venue (phone, Skype, email, in-person) and whether one or more goals will be discussed; and
- Decide what happens if “commitments go uncompleted.”
When applying these criteria to my situation, I am in relatively good stead. My accountability buddy has a background in trading technology but his primary industry concentration these days is sufficiently different that he can advance interesting and independent opinions. I know him to be forthright and bold when it comes to giving someone the unvarnished truth (at least his version of it). We have discussed objectives and will add to our ground rules when we have our first weekly call in January. Where I think we need more effort is in the area of consequences and what we want from each other in terms of reinforcing the need to stay on track or come up with an alternative plan.
I am excited to get started on this new adventure with my accountability buddy. Like me, he is dedicated to quality and understands that self-growth occurs when we challenge ourselves. I already have homework to watch “Resolution Revolution” by Alex Epstein about productivity improvement methods.
As the new year looms large, think about getting your own accountability buddy to help navigate the next quest. Have fun and good luck!