Everybody Needs An Accountability Buddy

Written by Dallas Travers, CEC

One of the simplest and most effective ways to accomplish your goals is to rely on an accountability partner.  Checking in with a buddy about your daily actions, your weekly accomplishments, your monthly roadblocks, and your yearly goals will keep you on track and actually help you generate bigger results quickly.

My students often ask me, “Dallas, how do you get so much stuff done everyday?”  My answer is simple.  I have support.  I rely on my accountability buddy to help me prioritize my immediate goals, take smart actions daily, and most importantly, celebrate the process.

Believe it or not, I have three accountability partners.  That’s right, three.  I’m a big believer in the power of teamwork.  So,  I guess you could say that when it comes to accountability, I take a “more is merrier” approach.  Now, you do not need to have three different accountability partners.  Unless, of course, you want to.  Instead, why don’t you pick the type of partnership that feels like the best fit for you.
The Daily Buddy Check-In

My first accountability buddy, Joanna and I begin every workday with a 7:00 am check-in phone call.  Joanna and I are both building our businesses at a rapid rate.  Though our businesses are different, we operate in the same way.  We’re both quick decision makers, hard workers, and big thinkers.  These similarities make us the perfect match for daily accountability calls.

These calls last about twenty minutes and they’re designed to help us both laser in on the day’s top priorities.  Joanna and I have been making these buddy calls since the beginning of the year and I credit them to helping me accomplish more in the last six months than I did in the previous twelve.  These daily calls also provide an instant confidence boost because I’ve got a buddy to remind me everyday of the mini accomplishments that I often ignore when I’m working on my own.

Here’s what the daily buddy check-in looks like:

  1. Joanna calls me at 7:00 am sharp.
  2. We each have ten minutes to share and we take turns going first
  3. During our allotted time, we share what we accomplished the day before.  Then we identify the immediate priorities for that day.  Lastly, we discuss what, if any insight or support we need from the other person.

If you’re looking for more focus or you just need a swift kick in the rear, the Daily Buddy Check-In is just what the doctor ordered!

The Weekly Buddy Deep Dive

I think of my daily check-ins with Joanna as a daily jumpstart to my business battery.  My weekly calls with my lovely friend Melanie are more like a deep dive.  During these hour-long calls, Melanie and I rely on our personal expertise to coach each other.

Melanie and I have opposite strengths.  My business is more evolved than hers, so I can share how-to tips to help her develop her marketing muscles.  With years of training and work as an expert healer, Melanie is spiritual, centered, and really in tune; qualities I’d like to expand in myself.  That’s why she and I are the perfect pair to dive deeply each week into strengthening our ‘weak spots’.

Our weekly deep dive calls look like this:

  1. I call Melanie every Monday at 8:00 am.
  2. One of us volunteers to go first.
  3. We start by sharing a brief overview of the previous week and the projects we’re currently working on.
  4. Then, we laser in on specific questions we have for the other person.
  5. We address all of the first person’s questions.
  6. Then, person one commits to take specific actions before the next call.
  7. Next, it’s person number two’s turn.
  8. At the end of the call, we congratulate each other on all of the progress we’re making.
  9. These calls are typically an hour long and I’m always amazed by how quickly time flies!

If you’re feeling stuck in your career and want deeper support, the Weekly Buddy Deep Dive is for you.

The Monthly Buddy Brainstorm

Last but not least are my monthly brainstorming calls with Pat.  She’s a mover and a shaker and a ton of fun!  Pat and I already get a lot of support in our businesses, but we still like a periodic check in to take a step back and look at the big picture.

Here’s a sample structure for the Monthly Buddy Brainstorm:

  1. Pat and I set a date and time for our monthly call.  We’re both so busy that the dates often shift, so rather than having a set date, we schedule our calls one at a time.
  2. We begin the call with a quick hello and catch up.
  3. One of us then volunteers to share first.
  4. We share successes for the month.
  5. We then address the specific project we’re currently focusing on.
  6. As the conversation unfolds, we offer up ideas, support, and resources for the other person.
  7. We identify the specific actions we want the other to hold us accountable to during the next month’s check in.
  8. At the end of the call, we schedule next month’s call.
  9. There is no time limit for these monthly calls.  For me and Pat, they’ve ranged from sixty minutes to just five minutes in length.
  1. Between monthly check-ins, Pat and I know that we can reach out to each other if a problem arises.

If you’re truckin’ along in your career endeavors and just want an outside perspective every once in a while, try the Monthly Buddy Brainstorm on for size.

How to Form Your Accountability Partnership

You know better than I do what type of person and what type of partnership will work best for you.  But let me share a few tips to help you create your accountability partnership.

Tip 1: Reach Outside Your Inner Circle

Try to partner with someone who is not a close friend, relative, roommate or partner.  You’ll see deeper benefits from your buddy relationship if the waters aren’t muddied. Ideally, the foundation for this partnership should be that you both want to focus on your careers and you’re seeking support from a neutral party.  You’ll find that your buddy will evolve into a close friend naturally, which is an added bonus.  But don’t assume your best friend is the ideal accountability partner.

So, think of three or four people you know, but who aren’t necessarily in your inner circle yet.  You could ask a classmate, a former colleague, or even the friend of a friend to try out the buddy system with you.

A lot of proactive and positive actors support each other on my Facebook wall.  If you need help finding a partner, post your request on the wall and try to find yourself a match in that community.

Tip 2: Set a Firm Foundation

Identify what date and time you will connect.  Agree upon who is responsible for initiating the call.  Set ground rules about confidentiality, topics you’ll cover and acceptable reasons to miss a call.  Also, share what you both want to gain from the partnership and how you can support one another.  Creating this foundation in the beginning will help you both get exactly what you need and know exactly where you stand in the relationship.

Tip 3: Keep Your Word

The buddy system only works if you work it.  So, don’t try this at home if you’re not willing to commit.  You’ll only get out of the relationship what you put in.  And though it may feel like work, once you get your buddy system up and running, you’ll experience the incredible power of teamwork for yourself.

 

Respected as one of the entertainment industry’s leading experts, Dallas Travers teaches actors the career and life skills often left out of traditional training programs. Her groundbreaking book, The Tao of Show Business, has won over five awards including first prizes at The Hollywood Book Festival and the London Festival along with the National Indie Excellence Award. She has helped thousands of actors to increase their auditions, produce their own projects, secure representation and book roles in film and television.

If you’re ready to jump-start your acting career, get your FREE Thriving Artist Starter kit now at http://www.dallastravers.com

2 Comments

  1. Kelly

    July 29, 2011 at 11:36 am

    One of the best articles out there!!! Great job Lance in pulling this together!!! It’s bookmarked for future reference!!

  2. Lance Carter

    July 29, 2011 at 12:05 pm

    Totally agree. I love Dallas’ columns!

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