My last blog post about accountability prompted additional questions, not so much about the system of accountability, rather more personal questions about the types of goals that make on the weekly and quarterly lists.

Without getting too personal, here are some examples.

Weekly goals:

  • Staying within my calorie budget and exercising three times per week are on my goal list for each week; I succeed in the former about two thirds of the time, and in the latter 90% of the time.
  • Sales meeting and sales calls always make it on the list as they are the most important driver of my business.
  • I will also list eyebrow waxes or massages when relevant – self care is as important as my other duties.
  • And then I’ll put really boring annoying things on this list, things I always procrastinate about and hate to do – part of the purpose of accountability is to make sure I get these done. Bank reconciliations and inventory analysis are two examples that come to mind immediately.

Quarterly goals and annual goals are much bigger-picture. These are typically divided in large buckets, such as personal, family, Alchimie, writing, and for 2015 included launching into a new distribution channel nationwide (done!), being a better sister (as NYE photos indicate, this is done – although truly it is an ongoing project!), and blogging regularly (I did not quite make my 2 blogs per week goal last year, this is going back on the list for this year).

I should add one more note. In addition to these lists of goals, we also each have two lists that serve more as a reminder.

One is “things that make me happy” – this list (also known as the “things to do more of list”) is extremely powerful when having a bad day. Looking at what is listed is a reminder of all of the possibilities, and sometimes provides an immediate solution to a bad day. For example on my happy list is running and SoulCycle. Seeing this on the list when I feel grumpy ensures I go for a run later that day, and helps my mood.

The other is my “bucket list.” Things I want to achieve, have, do in my lifetime. 2015 was amazing in the sense that I got to check one item off this list: seeing the Patriots win the SuperBowl, live, with the duo of Belichick and Brady still intact.

Happy list making!


Beyond goals, let’s talk about accountability.

The start of a New Year is the traditional time to think about goals and resolutions. And surely enough, every year I have my own list. This year instead of sharing my 2016 goals, I thought I would share a key tool that has helped me maintain focus on my goals for 12 full months instead of losing sight of the big picture after a few weeks. That tool is my accountability group.

I have written briefly about this group before, but am often asked for more details. Here are some of our guidelines and how we do things to keep each other in line.

What is accountability?

Accountability is a group which I am a part of, with the goal as the name indicates of being accountable to partners about what you want to accomplish. It’s the business equivalent of an “exercise buddy.” It’s so easy to not go running if you run alone, but much harder to call your running buddy in the morning and tell her you are too tired to go – after all, she is counting on you, waiting on you, depending on you. The same philosophy applies. Telling someone what your goals are for a specific week and knowing you will have to report back next week makes it much harder to not accomplish those goals.

Who is in accountability?

We started out as a group of two, myself and a very good girlfriend who is also an entrepreneur. We then added a third, and now a fourth. We are all women, have become very close friends (although this is partly because of our accountability group, we did not all four start out as close), and all have our own business. I think 4 is the maximum that works logistically in terms of scheduling and time management.

How often do we meet?

We have an hour-long weekly conference call where we all have 15 minutes to share the status on our goals and ask for help on something if need be. We meet in person once per month for lunch (this takes the place of that week’s conference call). We usually skip the week between Christmas and New Year’s and July / August tend to be a bit more challenging given summer vacation and international travel.

What tools do we use?

We have a google document with weekly goals (one sheet per person) and higher-level annual goals. The weekly goals get updated weekly before our conference call, and our higher-level annual goals sheet gets updated once per quarter. After each of us does our 15 minute update by phone, we also use the tool of saying “I need help with XX this week.” This is a great statement to end on, it forces us to think about the hardest thing ahead of us for that week and ask for something concrete.

What’s the best thing about accountability?

The three main benefits for me have been:

  1. To be “forced” to do something when I really am procrastinating on it, because I don’t want to have to tell three people I didn’t do it.
  2. To benefit from the very regular encouragement and advice of three amazing women entrepreneurs.
  3. To become even closer to three women I love and admire.

What’s the most challenging thing about accountability?

The hardest thing is to actually hold us accountable. We have become so close sometimes our natural instinct is to be gentle with each other as opposed to when necessary be strong enough to actually hold ourselves accountable.

I have made my list of goals for 2016 – and I am grateful to my accountability group for the help I know it will provide in accomplishing them!