You know the power of accountability, ne?
Having done a lot of soul searching and self-discovery over the years, I've come to recognize that I'm externally motivated and externally validated. Needing other people to get jazzed and to confirm straight thinking means the best way to kick-start yourself is to make sure you're reaching out and connecting with other people.
Here's the formula and a little explanation:
- Far + Near + Past + Feeling = Action
This is a tested and proven formula that has been used by myself and others to get more things done than would have happened otherwise.
As a business mentor, my friend and some time business partner, Donna Fox has used this with spectacular results -- for herself and for those being mentored. She uses a daily meeting of about 5 minutes with these components. Check out her accountability blog post for the details of how she uses this formula.
In a productivity setting, my friend and fellow NLP Trainer, Stever Robbins has guided many groups through an hourly-check-in-for-a-day version of this same formula in what he calls Action Days.
The same components are there to some degree in both of these protocols: far, past, near, feeling -- and they both generate more action than not employing these components.
Here's the breakdown on what each piece is and how it helps:
- Far -- this is a goal to be met several accountability cycles into the future. When meeting daily, that means on the week-month scale. When meeting hourly, that means on the today-tomorrow scale. Stating this gives you a direction to focus your efforts and a "big chunk" to double check yourself against before the next accountability session. When I declare I'm releasing a product next Monday, it is simple to check against this "product release" direction and say yes-or-no on whether my action at a given moment is headed in the right direction.
- Past -- this is reporting what happened in the time since the last accountability session. A brief "got X & Y done, not Z" is a valid report on the past. The mere fact that we ask "what did I get done, or not get done" helps us track our results by noticing what is/isn't happening between sessions. It's amazing to me how small an amount of tracking can keep you making course corrections almost immediately.
- Near -- this is laying out what you're going to do before the next accountability meeting. Again, just a brief "I'm going to do A, B, & maybe C" kick starts actions. This Near is like the Far because it sets direction. The primary difference between Far and Near is that the Far sets a more strategic or bird's-eye direction and Near sets a more tactical or on-the-ground direction.
- Feeling -- this is where you take a moment to notice what you feel about the other components. Does your Far still have the same feelings surrounding it? How do you feel about what you did/didn't do in the Past time frame? How ready do you feel to finish your proposed Near actions? How will it feel to hit those Near/Far milestones and be reporting them as Past accomplishments? (I'll skip the explanation on how this component works. It will be quite obvious for those it will help, and moot for those that it won't!)
There you go -- a formula for getting a lot more done with a little accountability.
- Far + Near + Past + Feeling = Action!
How have you noticed these pieces as a part of your accountability?
When have you successfully used accountability to drive your own actions?