Seventy-six percent of The Extremely Productive (The XP) hold themselves accountable for doing what they tell themselves they’re going to do. Only 34% of The Rest hold themselves to this same level of accountability.
In RAIN Group’s new Extreme Productivity Benchmark Report, which includes data from 2,377 respondents, “holding yourself accountable” was the top behavior exhibited by The XP. It was also the No. 1 key driver of Extreme Productivity, and the behavior that represented the biggest difference between The XP and The Rest.
The data is clear: No matter if you’re in sales, marketing, or another field, the importance of holding yourself accountable can’t be understated. If you can master this, you’ll stay focused and achieve greater success.
Here are three ways to improve self-accountability.
Create Weekly and Priority Lists
While you still should have a catch-all list so you don’t forget things, the weekly and daily priority list addresses the key areas that will make your week or day a success.
Where should you be spending your time to reach your goals? Plan your priorities so you can actually get there. Then, for your Greatest Impact Activities (GIAs), put them on your calendar in advance.
At the end of the week or beginning of the next, review your list with someone else (see next point), and reflect on how you did.
Did you achieve all that you had hoped to? If not, what got in your way and why? Do you need to adjust your expectations for the time required to complete activities? Are you truly committed to your priority list? If you are, what will you do differently next week to ensure that you’re able to achieve all that you set out to?
By defining your goals and planning your actions each week, writing them down, reviewing how you did, and debriefing on what happened, you will improve your self-accountability.
Meet with an Accountability Partner
You can take the above idea a step farther by sharing your to-do list with an accountability partner and connecting with them on a weekly basis to review your list together.
When you share your priorities with someone else, you’re much more likely to follow through. After all, none of us like to admit to someone else that we failed to do what we said we would. This is a very powerful self-accountability strategy.
Your accountability partner doesn’t need to be your direct manager. It can be a colleague, a friend, a family member, or anyone who’s willing to check in with you on a weekly basis.
Choose someone as your accountability partner who will push you. It’s easy to make excuses for why you didn’t accomplish certain things. An accountability partner can keep you on target, ask good questions, offer time management tips, and keep you focused.
The simple habit of writing your to-do list, sharing it with a partner, and reviewing what you accomplished will help you achieve more.
Sign a Commitment Contract
If you’re serious about improving accountability, sign a commitment contract. A commitment contract is a signed agreement with yourself outlining what you’ll do by when.
stickK is a free online commitment tool that helps people achieve their goals. When you register, you’ll be asked to define your goal and then check-in regularly to share your progress.
You can even attach a monetary amount to your contract. The company has found that financial stakes increase chances of keeping to your commitments by up to 3X. If you don’t meet your commitments, you pay it to either a friend, a charity, or even an anti-charity of your choosing.
To achieve more, the answer is simple: Hold yourself accountable. The tips shared in the post will put you on your path to success. For more best practices that you can use as a seller or a marketer, explore RAIN Group’s Spot on the Highspot platform as part of the new Sales Acceleration Partners program.
Mike Schultz is a bestselling author of Rainmaking Conversations and Insight Selling, Director of the RAIN Group Center for Sales Research, and President of RAIN Group, a global sales training and performance improvement company. He and RAIN Group have helped hundreds of thousands of salespeople, managers, and professionals in more than 73 countries transform their sales results and unleash their sales potential. Follow Mike on Twitter or connect with him on LinkedIn.