“It is not only for what we do that we are held responsible, but also for what we do not do.” – John Baptiste Molière
Steven Covey suggests that as human beings, we’re pretty good at staying focused for about 90 days before we “squirrel” out and go chase other shiny objects. I would agree if, and only if, we have some form of weekly Touch Point to remind us what we want to do.
Having a weekly Touch Point on what you’ve identified as a priority is important and it helps us to task and achieve our desired objective. By using these reminders, people are able to keep items tasks prioritized so they don’t fall through the cracks.
Here are three tips for staying on task:
- Clear objectives
This is one of the most effective tools and also the easiest to let slip. When you’re creating Quarterly Objectives, or metrics you can track, they need to be crystal clear. I always push that they can’t be “squishy”; in other words, if you ask yourself “Was I on track to achieve this?” and you answer with “kind of”, you didn’t define it well from the beginning.
When outlining your objective, the first step is investing the time and thinking about what it will look like when it’s done. The second step is to create a timeline or milestones so you can track your progress and ensure the objective will be completed on time.
2. Accountability partner
Accountably partners can be other members of your leadership team as whole, another individual, your spouse, or anyone you respect. The value of accountability partners comes when we start experiencing the social pressure of knowing we’ll have to tell that person what we did or didn’t do over the past week. It’s a lot like cramming for a test – I know I’m guilty of blowing of all my studying until the last night. This helps break that timeline down with more frequent check-ins. As an augmentation to the accountability partner, there are a number of accountability apps available, some with the ability to schedule events, meetings, call, etc.
This may sound like a no-brainer, but the key to making accountability work is being consistent. If you’re meeting with your team, make sure it’s at the same time and place each week. If you use the phone with an accountability partner, set the day and time each week, and truly be present for that 15-minute call. If you join an accountability group, do what you say and show up when you’re scheduled. This consistency builds a rhythm that will result in a great new habit – a habit that will pay dividends to all aspects of your life.
If you or anyone in your network is interested in learning how to be more accountable or how to instill it in others, please reach out!