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Accountability Partner

Accountability Partner: How to set, track and achieve Goals with Objectives and Key Results (OKRs)

I start with a little background story to give you some context about me, if you are not interested in that you can jump directly to the hard facts in Essentials to reach your goals, Accountability Partner and My Process.

My Story and why I can help you to reach your goals!

Since I can think I was always valuing my time, even if coming from a family where this was not a typical trait. My mother took good care of my brother and me, and my father working in the hospital as a plasterer and was really good as his job and liked by the patients. He often came home annoyed after long working days or nightshifts. My whole immediate environment, including older friends, showed similar behaviors. Work is a necessary evil.

Sleep one-third of the day, do something that you do not like for one-third of the day, and the last third think about the annoying time at work or spend it for commuting there. The whole adult world of work never really added up for me. The primary motivation is to get just enough money to somehow survive and have a normal life. It seems like there are no other options, no way out of this hamster wheel.

When I was a teenager, my thoughts on that specific topic were not as straightforward as they are today, but my gut feeling said:

"Something is wrong here, that's not how I want to live my life" - Leo aka Weirdo.Rocks

I was not vocal about that, but it was manifested deep inside me.

Yes, I always felt the time is more precious, as most humans seem to think it is. The whole "valuable time" story came to a new level when I started to study computer science at University. I felt lost and overwhelmed coming from a commercial academy and having 20 hours/week job. My days just did not have enough hours to make up ground in mathematics and programming. Those skills were somehow premised, but I just did not have any useful knowledge in this area. I tried to reduce my sleep and use my time as efficiently as possible. Still, it did not seem to be enough.

This was just the start. 2003 in the middle of my studies, my lovely daughter Julia was born, making me a proud, sleepy daddy with 23 years. In that year, I also kicked off my entrepreneurial career (not counting in the nonofficial businesses that I owned as a teenager) and started my first company in the software area to support a new family and come through life somehow. Naturally, my sleep was cut even more now. Time available was not existing; I used every minute available to work, learn for University and raise my little baby together with my partner.

I tried many methods like:

  • planning every minute of the day,
  • putting stuff on the calendar,
  • making long and short term goals and plans,
  • Getting Things Done (GTD) method,

and everything else I found. I was very well organized, even back then.

Of course, some of the methods worked better than others, depending on the situation I was in. The early learned skills of having and following goals, being careful, and especially valuing my time came in handy in my private and professional life.

If you want to:

  • see your kids' growing up and develop into an adult,
  • have and maintain a healthy romantic relationship and friendships
  • developing a good new habit
  • get fitter and healthier (fitness goal),
  • start and expand a venture,
  • become financially independent,
  • master a new skill,
  • making a million dollars,
  • transform to stationary to a remote team, or just have a more free life,

you better have your priorities right and have a rough plan of what, why, and how you want to achieve your goals; otherwise, some important areas in your life will suffer in the long run.

Hard times, but being a natural-born "fighter" who was never interested in the easy paths just because it's easy, made me go through it and get stronger. I am still trying to learn and improve every single day.

Some essentials that will help you to live your life at fullest and become the best version of yourself.

Essentials to reach your goals

"What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals." — Zig Ziglar.

This is not a complete list, but in my opinion, some important points that have a significant impact on your results:

  • Know your Why and have a longterm vision. I will go into detail about that in one of my future articles. Knowing your why and where you want to go or which person you want to become in the long run makes everything easier; from setting your longterm, midterm goals to deciding what the next most important action you should take.
  • Set and Track your Mid-Term Goals. Here I am referring to a period of 3 months to one year. We use OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) to set and track our goals. OKRs are a flexible and straightforward goal setting and performance tracking system that can help your reach your goals no matter if you are a "private" person, a solopreneur, small business owner, startup, or multinational company. Setting Goals and Objectives besides describing what we want to achieve helps us to navigate through distractions and prevent the expectations of others to dominate your life. No matter which area of your life you want to improve, dating, relationships, financial freedom, business, goals done right will help you to get there. We will dive deeper into this in the following paragraphs.
  • Love the Process or at least make it as enjoyable as possible. Unlike the previously mentioned examples of hating your job but seemingly having no other options and waiting for a pension (that maybe we will never get), I believe in building your own future, company, job, or whatever you want to do. The point is to do something that you at least like to do most of the time and gives you a purpose. Do not get me wrong, I am also not smiling every day on every single task or project I do, but most of the time I enjoy what I do. Every year, I try to choose more and more who I want to work with; customers and business partners. I focus more on things I like to do and are meaningful to me, and I delegate or outsource the rest. I am not waiting for Fridays to enjoy the weekend, and I do not hate Mondays, neither am I waiting for milestones in the future to start enjoying life. (e.g., pension, lotto win, holiday). This is a big part of my personal freedom, and I am very grateful for that. There is only one spot in time you can live in; that's not the past or the future, it is now. What you can do, is to plant the seeds for your future, follow your vision, and become the person you want to be or the best version of yourself, but you can only live in the NOW. Anytime.
  • Build supportive habits Time, willpower, and energy are limited resources and you need to start valuing them. I am a huge fan of (mini) habits and I will create more content around the topic. Good habits are, in my opinion, a significant factor if you will succeed or not in the end. The basic concept is that you have to create automatisms in your life that support your personal goal, in this way, you do not have to use your willpower to make it happen. Everybody has a bad day someday or runs out of will power. What then? Throw all the produced results away!? I do not believe that's the best way.
  • Accountability System / Accountability Partners Having a system in place that keeps you accountable is also an essential success factor. Having an accountability buddy or accountability partner that is holding you accountable towards your goals can make the difference between reaching your goals or "failing" them. There are advantages and disadvantages to having a family member, a friend, or a professional accountability partner.
  • Work with a system you trust You can set your goals on a napkin, in one of the many available OKR Software Systems or build your own system as I did in a Cloud software like Notion. All of them have advantages and disadvantages. The most important thing is that you trust your system, and you can reach and review it whenever you need or want to.
  • Daily and Weekly Planning & Review. The OKRs methodology can help you plan and put your focus on the most essential areas in your life at any given time; what you want to achieve, and how do you measure the progress. Without knowing how to break the midterm goals down into daily and weekly plans and tasks, you will not reach the desired outcome. You can do your daily planning in the form of Daily Journaling and setting a weekly Focus. To assure that your goals will be achieved, you need to constantly review your progress. My services are helping to plan and review on a weekly level. In my option, one of the key factors of a working system.
  • Do not give up - ever. If you fail, the whole world seems to turn against you, you are overwhelmed, you are not getting any support, or worse, people surrounding you seem to hold you back. At this moment, it is important to wipe your mouth, grieve a little bit if necessary, analyze and start over - The obstacle is the way (great book by Ryan Holiday BTW). If you have a long-term vision and mid-term goals set, it is less likely that every fart is making you think about stopping.

All those and many more factors play an essential role when it comes to a decision if you live the life you want or not. Do not get overwhelmed. All this sounds more difficult than you may think, and the most important thing is that you are not alone. I am here to support you on your journey. Before we talk about how I can help you a few words about "What an Accountability Partner is," just to be on the same page.

Accountability Partner

Accountability Partner - What is that?

“When performance is measured, performance improves. When performance is measured and reported, the rate of improvement accelerates.” — Thomas S. Monson

Accountability means having both the ability and the willingness to give an honest account of your thoughts, feelings, and behavior to someone else. It is essential to always hold ourselves accountable for actions we do but it's also important to be accountable to others.

Having a good Accountability Partner or Accountability Buddy means that you give account to this person. Examples of our daily lives could be priests at confession, telling your therapist about feelings and your situation, or having a coach who helps through some challenging situation.

There are also different kind of Accountability Partnership that you might look for:

  • Life Coach or Mentors as external Accountability Partners: They are ideally already successful in the area you want to improve and way ahead of you. Basically, they already solved what you want to solve. Input on a regular basis  can give you a big boost and help with your personal growth, if its coming from the right person.
  • Motivators and Enablers: People who went through all this and are some steps ahead with the best interests at heart that will motivate you. They can share their Story with you and inspire and encourage you to write your own personal Story.
  • A peer: a person who is about on the same level as you. Ideally, also have a similar goal and are as motivated and dedicated as you are. You can push each other, and this can definitely be great as well. The chances that that works are not as high as with the previous types. Mutual Accountability. :)

In the end, it is up to you which kind of Accountability Partnership fits best with your current situation.

However you decide, give someone the permission to hold you accountable!

Great Accountability Partner- What to look for?

Some qualities are very important for an accountability partner that you should look for.

An Accountability Partner should:

  • care about your progress - the main point here is to help you to make the next steps
  • be non-judgemental - you should get support, not get judged
  • be trustworthy - you need to be open and honest with your progress and thoughts, so you need to be able to just the person you talk to.
  • give reinforcement in a positive way
  • provide useful advice (obviously)
  • be dependable
  • provide encouragement
  • provide honest feedback
  • provide constructive feedback

To mention a few.

Here comes a little overview, how I would like to work with you.

My Process to help you to set, track and achieve your Goals

Ideally, you already know your "why" and have a long term vision when we start working together.

If not, I also can help you with that as well.

Step 1: Current situation - Where are you at the moment?

“Courage doesn’t happen when you have all the answers. It happens when you are ready to face the questions you have been avoiding your whole life.” – Shannon Alder

It is not only necessary to set objectives as a destination, but we also need to know where we are starting our journey from. We will evaluate your current situation in your different relevant areas of life in our first conversations. Many factors are relevant; some of them are time available to invest, budget to come closer towards your primary goal, relevant previous experiences and knowledge in the area, previous trials, other obligations, and much more.

Step 2: Identify your Objectives

"At the end of the day, my goal was to be the best hacker." — Kevin Mitnick

We will identify and write down the most relevant Objectives. Objectives are one of the key elements of the Objective and Key Results (OKR) methodology that we will use to set your specific goal and track the performance. A good selection and commitment to your personal goals is essential here.

If you are working full time on this, we will define three to five (3 recommended) Objectives for the next quarter that we will focus on.

An Objective is a short, inspirational, and achievable statement that describes what you want to achieve.

Objectives show you the direction you want to go and on which areas you want to focus on and usually do not contain any numbers.

Objectives are answering the question: What do you want to achieve?

Examples for Objectives (OKR)
  • Develop Habits for a better and healthier life
  • Become a content creation machine
  • Launch my new Online Shop
  • Optimize our customer acqusition
  • Build a targeted, organic and recurring traffic source for my website

Step 3: Find your Key Results

"If you can't measure it, you can't improve it." — Peter Drucker

In the next steps, we will find three to five Key Results for EACH of our previously defined Objectives. Especially in the beginning, less is often more so you do not spread yourself too thin, better start with three Key Results per Objective.

Key Results are specific and time-bound, ambitious but realistic and measurable actions that will collectively allow you to achieve your Objective.

Key Results focus on tracking the progress through milestones, that support the Objectives. They usually contain numbers and answer the question: How to achieve my Objectives?

Examples of Key Results (OKR)

If we pick two Objectives from above, the Key Results could look like this. (Time period 3 month)

O1 - Become a content creation machine

  1. KeyResult - Create and post 60 TikToks
  2. KeyResult - Produce and Publish 12 High-Quality Videos on Youtube
  3. KeyResult - Complete the Course - Final Cut - From Beginner to Advanced

O2 - Develop Habits for a better and healthier life

  1. KeyResult - Walk daily more than 10.000 steps
  2. KeyResult - Meditate 60 times
  3. KeyResult - Track your Food for 60 times

Step 4: Break down your Key Results to an Action Plan

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” – Antoine de Saint- Exupéry.

This step is all about "How do we plan to achieve the Key Results?"

If a Goal or Key Result is too big, it can be overwhelming and demotivating, you need to have at least a rough plan how you want to achieve it. We do not have to plan everything out in detail, we still want to be flexible, but we need to know how we want to start and what we want to try first.

You need to know and be honest with yourself to be able to develop a system that allows you to make the necessary changes in your life to achieve what you want to.

Step 5: Take action

“Knowledge isn’t power until it is applied.” – Dale Carnegie

Your goals are not set in stone, life and your environment is constantly changing. Do not give up if things are getting hard, but also do not keep goals that do not make any sense anymore. If you change one or two Key Results on the way, it is not a big deal. We will have a close look at our review, what happened with the goals to set better ones next iteration. Especially current (Covid-19) times show that nobody can predict the future. Flourishing businesses were basically vanished overnight and have to change their plans and be creative to get out of this s***. You should definitely stick to your OKRs, but there are exceptions.

Try to make one step forward toward your goal every single day and nobody can stop you. As we heard before, your time and energy are limited resources, more important than working hard is working smart. Hard and smart is perfect.

Be flexible, iterate and have some fun.

Like with everything to adapt to new systems and methods takes some time. Maybe you need 2 or 3 quarters of tweaking and adjustments till OKRs work best for you. Believe it's worth it to stick to the system. Together we can accelerate the process.

Step 6: Measure and review your results on a regular basis

You need to measure your goals otherwise you will fail. It's way easier to set thoughtful goals, the hard part is to stay on track, to follow them, and take daily actions.

You need to create an accountability system, that helps you with that. Booking me and my team as Accountability Partners is one of the options that you have. There are many unexpected challenges on your path to success; distractions, demotivation, and other obstacles that will try to make you leave your defined way.

Daily Planning / Journaling, Weekly Planning, Reviews, and Accountability Meetings will increase the chance to stay on track. I can help with that.

This is probably the most underrated, underestimated, and often forgotten step, that can make the difference between success and failing.

Why you should work with me?

I am Entrepreneur since 2003, have helped dozens of people, still learn daily. I am not only "addicted" to try and learn new things, i am also applying the knowledge every single day in one of my companies.

The change of completing a goal if you commit to someone (e.g Accountability Person) increases from 65 % to 95 %, was found in a study of the (ASTD) American Society of Training and Development.

You should talk to me, if:

  • you have goals, but you have now clue how to reach them
  • you want to change your life, but do not know how to get started
  • you know what you want to achieve next and need somebody to talk about your current situation
  • you need a fresh, experienced pair of eyes looking at your current situation and get unbiased feedback and input
  • you think this might be helpful for you for some other reason

Are you ready for an Accountability Partnership with me then visit Achieve Your Goals and let's start changing your future today!

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