Legal Business Development: Accountability to Yourself

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Accountability. I know you understand the importance of accountability to others, otherwise you wouldn’t be as successful as you are. But… I suspect that when it comes to accountability to yourself, you’re not quite as masterful. It’s not easy! You make plans and 15 minutes later they’re derailed by circumstances beyond your control… this happens to me more often than I would like, how about you?  When I read 4 Simple Ways to Boost Accountability by Lee Colan, Inc. Magazine contributor and author, I thought it would be valuable for all of us.

This is what Colan has to say about accountability when dealing with a team, but imagine that the team is YOU…

 1. Be specific. Ambiguity is the Achilles’ heel of accountability.

What is it that you really need and want? It can’t be a vague idea, it must have details.

 2. Consider timelines in addition to deadlines. Whether you are requesting or delivering on a task, first consider your ability and bandwidth to get it done before you agree to the deadline.

Deadlines to yourself are often blurred lines with unrealistic estimates of your bandwidth. Get real and create a timeline.

3. Increase your say/do ratio. Being accountable is really about being reliable. How reliable are you to act upon what you say? The key is to be careful about what you say–and if you say something, be committed to doing it. Applying Tip No. 2 will help drive up your say/do ratio.

Avoid overwhelm and carefully commit to the things you truly care about.

 4. Use 3 Ws. Leave every meeting with a simple, three-column 3W form: What, Who, and When. What needs to be done by whom, and by when? You can even use the 3W form as a mental template for conversations to confirm agreement on what you just talked about: “OK, so you will identify our top three prospects by noon today, and I will call them by noon tomorrow.”

Imagine how powerful this concept could be when you hold yourself accountable.

Accountability to your clients and your partners is critical to your success as a lawyer. Accountability to yourself gives you the ability to complete important steps on the path to achieving your ultimate goals and dreams. So be accountable, to others… and to yourself! If you’d like some help along the way, I’m here! Just shoot me an email.