Mmm, I wonder how those started and who had the inspiration to run the first accountability group – no, stop! I must not allow myself to drop into my preferred research mode and out of the sleeves-rolled-up-action state. So still I could not tell you who ran the first one, but I did it – I took action!
I asked for advice about why I am stuck with a marketing problem. I have great respect for those who gave the advice and I felt heard by them, which compels me to act. So immediately (without overthinking it and going off the boil) I asked on a forum whether others would wish to join an accountability group.
Someone responded by asking for more information.
Now I need to detail what I mean by it, and that’s fair enough.
As I see it, the accountability group would be rather small (perhaps no more than four people).
By putting the question on the special interest group of a forum of a professional body, I would hope to reach like-minded people so that our circumstances would be similar and relatable without the need of too much explanation.
The group would meet online, as it is far too complicated to meet in person.
Probably people in the same time zone, or near enough. Not weekly as that seems too frequent, so I suggest once every two weeks.
I envisage a rather short meeting, certainly all done and dusted in under an hour.
To prepare for this meeting, each would have decided which goals or tasks they would like to have completed and may, for whatever reason, be stuck with actually getting done. The nature of the task would need to be:
- Relevant, and
- Time bound
Specific – rather than ‘work quicker’ maybe ‘find and use a macro which will speed up deciding whether a manuscript is written in US or UK English’.
Measureable – quantify the achievement, so instead of ‘do more on my marketing’ maybe ‘write and post a new blog post’.
Achievable – this will depend very much on your circumstances, but if you are studying a course it could be (rather than get a superb grade) complete the latest module and hand the assessed work in.
Relevant – the task should be one which is linked to the bigger-picture direction you want to go in. So rather than ‘learn to cook’ an editorial professional might have a goal to revamp their website and a relevant task could be to find a professional photographer for some headshots.
Time bound – so rather than the airy-fairy ‘take on more work’ a time-bound task could be to ‘update my CV by Friday’.
How would it run?
Once a group was formed across whatever online platform, or by email, the invitations would go out to the group. There would be a first meeting where each member would briefly introduce themselves and state the SMART goal they would work on in the following two weeks. The new meeting would be set up.
After the two weeks, the accountability group meeting would have three parts:
- In turn, each would tell the others, in one sentence, how they are (so allowance for this could be made by the group)
- Next, in turn, each would restate the goal they had set for themselves and say whether they had done it or not. If others had ideas of how to help with an under-achieved task, they could mention this but only that they have a helpful suggestion (and will get in touch later with more details – outside the accountability group itself).
- Then, again in turn, each would tell the others briefly what their SMART task would be for the following two weeks.
- The person who would arrange the next meeting would be appointed, and the meeting would close.
The timing would be brief so sticking to the outline would be important and this would be maintained by the leader, who could be the person who set up the meeting (and this could rotate through the group).
The intention of keeping the timing bish-bash-bosh is to prevent it becoming arduous and therefore difficult to maintain enthusiasm for. If group members wanted to do more, this could be arranged separately, outside the accountability group.
Sounds like a plan.
Illustration courtesy of sketchrobin.com