Last week I made a pledge to be intentionally kind to myself and others for a whole week! I also promised to be accountable and report back to you the reader.

So how did I go? I managed acts of self-kindness 7 out of 7 days. Not all were nice acts as one was a visit to a COVID Clinic after having mild symptoms all week. Nonetheless I consider it a kind act to me and everyone else to be on the safe side and get tested as per the public health authorities directive.

I’ve been kind to others 7 out of 7 days. I count doing my job and helping others as a kind act. I count volunteering on a Board as a kind act. I count stopping, listening and being present with my husband as a kind act. (The last one is something I could do more of).

The process of accountability was interesting. It made me ask myself every day, am I being kind to me and others. It made me consciously examine my actions and intentions for a minute or two a couple of times a day. That’s a challenge in a busy life of being swept along by other’s demands. On reflection though, it was a useful exercise.

Some things I learnt

  1. If you are prone to being hard on yourself, like I am, searching for how you have been kind to others is a good exercise.
  2. It was beneficial to deliberately prioritise an act of self-kindness even an unpleasant one such as a COVID Test or one that requires effort such as exercise on a cold day
  3. Self-discipline is not my strongest gift. Knowing I had to report into a public audience kept me on track and was the main reason I fulfilled the pledge.

“The key to growth is to learn to make promises and to keep them.” Stephen R Covey

The value of accountability shone out. The stakes weren’t that high. No-one would have been that damaged if I had or hadn’t succeeded in keeping this pledge,

Accountability can be a great tool when the stakes are high though, such as in business, a major personal health situation or a relationship issue.

Accountability tools that have worked for me and that I’ve used with Clients include:

  • Regular coaching or mentoring sessions.
  • Peer to peer support groups.
  • Documenting and periodic evaluation and adjustment of business strategy including farm succession plans.
  • An accountability buddy.
  • Paying for accountability systems.

For example, I send my accountant some finance and tax related to do lists and that’s enough to make me do the jobs on that list. When I was part of a group fitness program, I exercised more regularly.

I’m now into the early stages of writing a book (Working Title, Excellent Farming) so have paired up with another budding almost-author to support each other and stay accountable. I’ve also paid for an on-line book writing program that has accountability measures and I am part of a book writing group that make targets each week and then check in and support each other.

One of the best and worst things about being an owner-operator of a business is that there are few people to be accountable to. This is very liberating most of the time. It’s quite a burden in another way as the end result is yours and yours only to own. This week, a farm decision maker made the comment. “We’re accountable to no-one and sometimes that’s the problem”.

We are all human and can get derailed by life when trying to make astute business decisions that lead us toward our end goal. My business coaching clients tell me they get value out of being held accountable by someone. They take it seriously because they’ve paid for it. It helps them do the hard stuff like tricky succession conversations or extra due diligence before committing large sums to machinery or property. One client described it as challenging, enjoyable and profitable.

Truly accountable leadership is the only way to build an organization that can not only survive in our increasingly complicated world but also grow and thrive.    Vince Molinaro

So, what does accountability mean for you and your business and personal success?

  • How could accountability improve your business or your personal life?
  • What does being accountable look like for you?
  • What accountability tricks could you put in place?
  • Who can you call on to keep you to account?

Further Reading:

Stay safe. Farm well.