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6 Steps to Create Personal Accountability

August 14, 20235 min read

I recently spoke to a group of real estate brokers who wanted to focus on better accountability. In this session, we walked through different steps that produce effective accountability.

I have identified 6 specific steps to help leaders establish or improve their accountability. Continue reading to discover these 6 important steps in creating good accountability!

Step #1 – Choose a specific area in which you desire to be accountable.  

Accountability is a good thing, but no one can be accountable about everything. How do you choose what area in which you will be accountable? Let me suggest that you choose one of the Key Performance Indicators (KPI) in your business.  

For example, the brokers to whom I spoke chose to focus upon “calling their contacts.” By this I mean each of them have a list of potential customers or clients. In a brokerage business, it is important to periodically reach out to your sphere of contacts to see if they or someone they know might desire to sell or purchase a home.

Brokers want to stay “top of mind.” Since most brokers do not like to make these calls, they rarely do so. By not calling, however, they frequently miss out on potential business. Everyone at this session agreed that they wanted to be more accountable in this area.  

Choosing a specific area is very important. Otherwise, being accountable becomes more of a wish than a reality.  

Choose a specific area in which you desire to be accountable

Step #2 – Determine a concrete goal for that area.

It is important to determine a concrete goal in your area of accountability. For example, the brokers chose to become better at making calls to their contacts. What precisely does that mean? Such a statement is too general.  It is a desire that cannot be measured.  

After much discussion, they decided to make 5 calls per day to their contacts, Monday through Friday. That’s concrete. You can measure if you make 5 calls per day.    

Concrete, clear goals enable you to be accountable.  If you lack clarity about what you desire to do, it will not occur.     

Step #3 – Decide how you will measure your results.

Once you choose a concrete goal, you must determine how to measure if you reach it. The method you use doesn’t matter. That you measure your results REALLY matters.  

It was interesting that the brokers chose different ways to track their results. Some chose to use their phone, some their CRM, some put it in their planner, etc. It really doesn’t matter where you keep track of your results. Just make sure you do track your results.  

If you do not track your results, you will assess your progress by “your gut.” I often hear statements like “I think I’m doing fairly well in calling,” or “I’ve done better lately.” I always respond by asking, “How do you know?”

Unless you tangibly track your results, you are just guessing. When you keep track, you take guessing out of the equation. You know that you reached your goal or that you did not.

Grow Your Business By Getting Out of the Way

Step #4 – Determine how frequently you will report your results.

Determining the frequency of your reporting is important. If you spread out your reporting too far, you will postpone executing the tasks until the goal gets closer, then rapidly try to make up for what you failed to do.

For example, if the brokers decided that they would average 25 calls per week and report bi-weekly, many would push out their activities until the deadline was upon them. Then, they would frantically spend an entire day making their calls to reach their goal. Most of them would hate doing this and most likely stop doing it in less than a few months.

Thankfully, the brokers decided they would report weekly and that their goal was to call daily. 5 calls a day is very reachable. If they make and keep track of their calls consistently, then they will clearly reach their goal. By reporting weekly, they force themselves to develop a regular habit and execute on what they want to do.  

Step #5 – Choose what it will cost if you fail to meet your goal.

Having some cost associated with failing to meet your goal is important. Everyone knows that consistently making calls should produce growth. However, these are pleasurable results. Pain has a way of motivating us more than pleasure.

The various brokers choose different pain points for not meeting their goals. For example, one accountability group chose to obligate themselves to visit the gym, if they failed to meet their goal. Since those brokers did not like to make gym visits, they felt it would motivate them to make their goals.

Whatever you choose needs to be painful enough to motivate you. It can be something as silly as making a $50 donation to a political candidate that you do not like if you fail to meet your goal. Because you do not like that candidate, you do not want to give money to his or her campaign. Therefore, you will make your goal.

Goal Setting

Step #6 – Choose to whom you will be accountable.

We regularly hear about accountability partners. The word “partners” implies 2 people. I encourage people to have 3 people or partners in a group. With 2 people, it is easy to let your partner “off the hook.” You know, “he had a bad week,” etc.

Having 3 people in your accountability group makes it much harder to let people slide. In suggesting this concept to the brokers, they purposely chose to group themselves with people who would hold them accountable. We had a great deal of fun teasing each other about how they were going to hold the other people in their group accountable. Their results will likely be favorable.

Accountability is an important principle. Few people have the ability to hold themselves accountable. 

Holding each other accountable requires you to answer the following questions.  Have you determined your KPIs in your organization? Have you set concrete goals and developed the ability to measure them? What will it cost if you fail to make your goal? How often will you report to your accountability partners? 

Having accountability may be hard, but it will be worthwhile. Have fun with this! Most importantly, just do it. It will improve your work and increase your productivity and your profitability.  


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Dave Pennington PhD

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