Accountability Partner: You Don’t Have One? Get One!

Last week we discussed how joining a group and sharing your personal goals can catapult your effectiveness into the stratosphere: Collective Inspiration, Meet Personal Accountability.

This week I will share some of the specific benefits of meeting with my accountability partner Georges Janin, every week since December 2, 2012.

So how did it come to pass you might ask?

I see it as a series of fortunate events (not to be confused with Lemony Snicket’s “A Series of Unfortunate Events).

I accepted a commission-only sales position for Your Office Agent in Dec 2011, and proceeded to spend about 4 months, and well over 100 hours, to earn a big fat $ZILCH in commission. For those of you who aren’t math wizards… this wasn’t exactly the best use of my time.

In reality, I have nobody to blame but myself. And as I’m sure you’ve already deciphered, it actually worked out for the best anyway. #woot

So there I was, in a position of selling temporary real estate solutions to small-medium sized businesses in NYC. I needed to improve my selling skills. And fast. Luckily (or was it fate?), I stumbled upon a Skillshare class taught by Georges Janin called “The Art of the Cold Call” and enrolled on 2/8/12.

After the class, I distinctly remember thinking “Now here’s a guy who is not only really good at his craft, but also genuinely enjoys sharing his knowledge and expertise with other people.”

Curiosity = Piqued

A few weeks later, a multi-session sales course offered by Georges found its way into my inbox. I signed up immediately. A few days before the course was scheduled to begin however, I received the following email from Georges:

(And by the way, notice the stellar customer service skills he exhibits here. It still amazes me how the overwhelming majority of businesses get this part so shamefully wrong, so take notes!)

“I wanted to update you on the Art of the Sale. A few large developments have taken place on my end…. Because of that I am not going to do the Art of the Sale at least for now. Sorry about that.

There are 2 options for you. I can:

-Refund you. Which I can do in a click.
-Do a 1-1 Sales Course that would take place over a 4 hour period and would be specific to your business. Sort of like the course but accelerated and personalized. We would do it in the next few weeks depending on your schedule.

Just tell me what your preference is and I’ll make it happen!

Thanks

Georges”

It was a no-brainer. “Sign me up for option 2 please!”

Fast forward to our first meeting

Georges deconstructed my professional goals, and identified how to best achieve them from a sales perspective. He also had a keen eye and a business savvy that I didn’t see in any of my friends or acquaintances at the time.

Before leaving, he mentioned that he wanted to learn how to salsa dance. How interesting… I just happened to have taught beginner salsa classes for 2 years to over 2,600 people. Why don’t we arrange a little barter? Sales/business training for salsa dance instruction? Let’s just say it was an easy sell :).

For 4 months I taught Georges everything I knew as a Salsa dancer. In exchange, I was getting a unique behind the scenes look into the mind of a sales genius. Georges had a remarkable way of breaking down my ideas and simplifying them. I can’t even begin to quantify how much time and energy he saved me. And you know how much I like to quantify things… haha.

To sum it up, here are some of the benefits of having met every week for the past year:

  • A fresh, outside perspective. Sometimes the solution to a particular challenge was RIGHT in front of me, but I could never see it because I was too close to it. Having someone from the outside who was invested enough in my success has proven to be invaluable, time and time again.
  • Accountability. You better believe that I wasn’t going to show each week NOT having accomplished what I said I would. Ok, so it happened a few times, but it felt really crappy, and I tried extra hard to not let it happen again.
  • Staying on track. I used to be notoriously bad at getting distracted by what Georges and I refer to as “shiny objects” or business opportunities that seem cool, but are actually not at all related to our primary goals. In other words, Major de-railers. Major no-no’s.
  • Fun. It was awesome to talk about what I accomplished each week to someone else who was as motivated as I was to succeed. After all, I couldn’t just talk to my friends for an hour about my business achievements. “That’s great Shir, but can we just enjoy this drink and play another game of shuffleboard?”

If that’s not totally worth it, I don’t know what is.

Want to start your own accountability partner sessions?

I have tried a few others and none have worked quite as well as with Georges. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

  • Get to know each other before beginning sessions. I tried once without knowing the person too well, and I found myself feeling a lack of emotional investment on both our parts. I also didn’t know how to advise them because I didn’t know them well enough.
  • Compatible personalities is essential. If you can’t stand being in the same room together, it ain’t gonna work. Big fat DUH!
  • Similar core values and complimentary talents are a major plus. Both need a strong work ethic, and take self improvement and professional development seriously. It also really helped for example that Georges was really good at sales and I’m really good at staying organized and implementing strategies to stay intrinsically motivated.
  • You absolutely positively MUST respect each other’s time. I cannot stress this point enough. Show up late once and it might be forgivable. Show up late again and I will cut you out of my life so fast it will make your head spin. Is it just me, or is this a major deal-breaker?
  • You both need to be equally driven & dedicated to success. This should go without saying, but you’re simply not going to stick with regular meetings unless you’re both taking it seriously.

So what are you waiting for?

If you already know someone who fits the profile I just described, propose the idea to them. If you don’t, go ahead and sign up for classes or attend seminars/events in your area of interest. I have found speakers/teachers to be excellent candidates for accountability partnerships.

Either way, don’t forget to tell me about it in the comments!

P.S. Here was my inspiration for the title of this post: Toy Story moving buddy quote

2 comments

  1. Zuly says:

    You know what’s crazy? I was working at DP while you were teaching Georges how to salsa, and I once salsa’d with him so he could show me some of the awesome moves you were teaching him.

    Then I met you (totally separately) and knew you taught salsa, and eventually found out you knew Georges….but never made the connection until I read this post. Tiny world!

    Anyway, great post as usual.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *