November 5, 2020

How do you remain accountable?

Stefan M @TalkToStefan

How do you remain accountable? Is it effective?

A common theme I discuss with founders is accountability.

Usually they're wanting to be held accountable i.e. ensuring that they achieve what they say they will. Together we'll discuss the wider picture of what's on their mind, then hone in what they see as a priority and then figure out how they'll actually get it done.

It helps to be crystal clear on what you're wanting to achieving and also why. There are so many things you could be doing—why are you doing these tasks this week? How do they fit into the bigger picture?

Throwing it open to you—how do you remain accountable?

  1. 3

    I set personal OKRs for myself every quarter. As they are usually aspirational outcomes, I don't lose sleep if they're not achieved.

    But I hold myself accountable for the tasks I set every week - such as building a particular feature etc.

    So I hold myself accountable for the inputs but I'm very patient with the outcomes.

    1. 2

      Thanks for sharing, Aditya!

      That seems wise to be patient with the outcomes... you'd hope that if you're getting those inputs done (and they're the right tasks), the outcomes will follow.

      What's the most difficult part of figuring out what you should be doing each week?

      1. 1

        As you mentioned, the tasks that you plan have to be the right ones. So figuring out what should be done itself is not easy.

        And when you're figuring out the tasks, the most difficult part is remaining objective and honest. Feeling excited, energetic, sad or lazy should not determine what you plan to do next week.

        1. 1

          'the most difficult part is remaining objective and honest. Feeling excited, energetic, sad or lazy should not determine what you plan to do next week.'

          You've hit the nail on the head! Great points... thanks for sharing!

  2. 3

    Masterminds & Building in public helps

    1. 1

      Thanks for sharing!

      What kinds of masterminds are you involved with?

  3. 2

    The only accountability partner that matters is yourself. If you can't do what you need to do, then you have work to do on yourself.

    Start eliminating all distractions until you do what you need to do.

    1. 1

      Thanks for sharing Jordan.... agreed, though many benefit from talking it through to get to that point.

  4. 2

    I think it's fair to say I haven't! In general when my wife and I were full time on our projects it was easier as we did a kind of standup everyday and retrospective every week. We still do the retro weekly but the quality has slipped quite significantly since we aren't full time on it. What have you seen working well?

    1. 1

      Thanks for the honesty Krishan.

      It's a shame that the change from full time has led to a slight loss of structure for you.

      I think the things that work well are the repeatable processes. As you mentioned - standups/retrospectives - are examples of these.

      Having known points to stop, reflect and figure out where you're at (during the good AND the bad times) forces you to figure things out.

      Personally I do a plan for the week and a review/comparison of the previous week to see actual vs planned work.

  5. 2
    1. Self imposed deadlines - I sort of follow a parkinsons law on "work will expand to fill the time allotted". I therefore constrict deadlines for myself for features and projects. I then write the date on a PostIt and then put that on my monitor so I always see it when working.

    2. Future-self thinking - what would future me be proud of accomplishing? I then do those things and sort of make myself proud rather than looking back on wasted time.

    1. 1

      Hi Josh,

      2 great techniques you've got going on there. Do you manage to stick to your self imposed deadlines?

      1. 2

        Roughly speaking yes! It gives me that time pressure that I'm conscience I made a promise to myself. If something does genuinely arise that means I can't complete on time, then I don't call myself into my office for a telling off 😂 But I've found it helpful to sort of stress myself out in that way

        1. 1

          Haha... that sounds like it's working well for you! Great work :)

  6. 1

    Simple. I fantasize.

    I fantasize about the day when I can actually do what I've always dreamed to do when I was a little boy.

    I never announce anything publicly about what I'm going to do, only what I have done.

    That way there's always a goal to strive towards, and it prevents me from indulging in empty talk (a lot of people can talk about their goals, very few achieve them).

    So basically my rule is, if I haven't done it, I don't deserve to talk about it.

    1. 2

      Interesting take, Jay!

      I love that it's focused on action more than words.

  7. 1

    I do build in public but I was keeping myself accountable before entering IH or building in public...

    I don't do masterminds though, I have no need...

    1. 1

      Good work... You have to do whatever works for you.

  8. 1

    It's not always a consitent approach for me, it often works but not always. But in general, I work with these 3 rules.

    1. Write down my goals with outcome
    2. Review them regularly
    3. Keep yourself surrounded with like minded people

    And I try to be kind with myself. Sometimes I can work like a maniac and be super productive. In that case, working with these 3 rules are easy. But sometimes it just doesn't work and I need a more flexible approach to remain accountable.

    1. 1

      Nice approach Maeva—your point about being kind to yourself is super important at the moment!

      Step 2 - how often do you review those goals?

      Also, do you find you're clear on how you'll get to your goals?

      1. 1

        Thnx, being kind is important but somehow always the hardest.

        The rhythm I have for reviewing depends a bit on the goals. When I'm working on a dynamic project, I'll review them more often. Think like once a week. Otherwise, I would review like once every two weeks.

        Call me old fashioned, but in order to reach my goals, I more or less use an action plan. It keeps my actions clearly tied to my goals. That being said, I am quite flexible in how to reach my goals. My actionplan can sometimes be a mess with this approach, but it works for me.

        1. 2

          Agreed on kindness!

          That's good you've got variable rhythms.

          Nothing old fashioned about tying action plans to goals... if it lets you achieve them, then that's good!

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