The Mirage of Accountability Partnering

Articles – Maximize Owner Well Being
Maximize Owner Well Being

The Mirage of Accountability Partnering

“An accountability partner is a person who coaches another person in terms of helping the other person keep a commitment.”

In just .41 seconds Google gave me 1,090,000 results for the search for ‘accountability partner.’

Other characteristics of an accountability partner cited were:

  • Keeps you responsible for your actions
  • Keeps you honest and moving on a path you set for yourself.
  • Helps by offering guidance and by holding you to your commitments
  • Will “not rescue, fix or save you”
  • Holds you to the standards that you set for yourself
  • Tells you like it is”.

What if all of these earnest behaviors don’t actually make a difference to your ability to achieve your goals? What if the concept of accountability partnering is a mirage? You think you see it but as you draw near and try to touch it, it vanishes.

I think the concept is a mirage because it assumes that external factors are more powerful in shaping your behavior than internal factors are.

Every action we take is within our control. We must be in charge. Look inward and adopt behaviors that will create accountability from within.

Three critical behaviors:

  1. Journal. Write down in the morning what you want to accomplish (not to do, but to accomplish) in a given day and then in the evening review and write down what you actually did accomplish. Before long you will see how closely you are acting in accordance with your goals.
  2. Understand your mindset. By the time we’re adults, we’ve got beliefs and values that underlie every thought and action. We have baggage, culture, attitudes, and memories. When you understand your mindset, you see what helps and what hinders you in working towards your goals. Select what helps, remind yourself of it every day and accomplish what you want to accomplish.
  3. Ask engaging questions.  In his excellent book Triggers, Marshall Goldsmith describes the benefit of asking himself engaging questions every day: “did I do my best” added the element of trying into the equation. It injected personal ownership and responsibility into my question-and-answer process. After a few weeks… (these questions) created a different level of engagement with my goals.” (Triggers, by Marshall Goldsmith, page 117)

Stop searching for an accountability partner and instead, start journaling, understanding your mindset and asking yourself engaging questions. In a very short time you will have achieved far more than the mirage of accountability partnering would have led to.