One challenge I put to my clients is to find an Accountability Partner. Someone who can support you, challenge you and serve as a mirror to help you gain insight and wisdom.
Outside of their spouse, few leaders have this form of relationship.
It seems simple. One coffee or meal every week or even a phone call to talk about what’s important: wins, flubs, challenges, opportunities.
I resisted enrolling this type of support through my thirties. Here is a few paragraphs from my upcoming book The Business of Wanting More that talks about this.
It wasn’t until I began to face challenges that my intellect, wallet or will could not fix that I understood that riding alone would be limiting, if not dangerous. I found myself in situations in business where I couldn’t disclose my personal plans about my board or management team to my inner circle at the company. These people had obvious biases. Sometimes, it was the people I was concerned about that I would normally brainstorm with.
There were only so many times I was willing to lean on my wife to express my fears about my business or our finances. Her business knowledge was limited and I wanted to insulate her from the daily and weekly swings in cash flow and the emotions related to pending deals. I quickly discovered that outside of my business colleagues and wife, the list of those I could turn to about leadership, money, business, marriage, and my life goals was non-existent.
As a result, I made decisions as best I could on my own. Yet tension with key board members grew, I struggled to find and retain the right executives to fill certain roles, and I began making riskier personal investments.
Recurring stress in these and other areas made me realize the problem was not caused by others. I was unable to gain the objective perspective I needed to break these patterns. I needed someone else to analyze my backswing but to do that, I knew I had to take the risk of opening up, telling my story and being vulnerable. To support me in this new phase of my life I turned to what I knew how to do well in business—team building. But this team would be different. It would support all vital dimensions of my life, including my relationships, business and financial goals and spiritual life. What I built is what I eventually called a Court of Support.
Does this sound familiar? Who is in your court? Is it time to pick one person and form an intential accountability partnership to help you get more of what you are looking for?