From Levi Lapp, its founder and CEO Signature Builders, an outdoor living company that builds structures for your lifestyle.
If you want to take your business to the next level, improve your leadership skills, or even make changes in your life, a Google search reveals a huge number of options for you. Online courses, personal coaches and business coaches all claim to be what you need to unlock your full potential.
These growth paths can have their place in your business journey, especially when you are first laying the foundation for a functioning business. But there’s one highly effective, often underrated, and usually more accessible method of improvement that stands out: accountability groups, also known as peer groups.
Accountability teams are usually small teams consists of three to eight people who are committed to working toward goals and holding each other accountable for achieving them—but they do more than that. They can help you acquire a myriad of skills, grow as a leader, and ultimately create a beautiful symbiosis that helps everyone involved achieve widespread success. Here is a summary of the multi-dimensional support offered by a strong accountability team.
Pursuing Your Ever-Evolving Goals
With our industries constantly evolving and our lives constantly changing, business owners must be able to meet professional and personal challenges head-on by constantly learning and adapting. Setting goals and following through are often the first steps to keeping up with the demands of business and life, whether that means learning a new skill, solving a problem in your business, or investing time in your health.
However, every business owner knows that lack of time, endless responsibilities, and immediate business concerns can prevent certain goals from being pursued. So we need a system to help ensure that we don’t let these goals fall by the wayside. That’s where accountability teams come in.
Research suggests the effectiveness of achieving goals with the support of others rather than alone. From weight loss to addiction treatment and academic goal achievementpeer support and accountability often show positive results in goal setting and achievement.
Our businesses can’t reach their potential, nor can we reach ours, if we don’t have a tried and true method for making change happen. Accountability groups give you a system for tracking important goals on your business trip.
Harnessing the team’s collective intelligence (while cultivating your own)
When you have differentiated or unique issues in your business, who do you turn to? A coach or mentor may have a solution and an online course can provide insight into similar obstacles, but a group of business owners can offer a first-hand look at their own experiences along with ideas and thoughts on your problem areas.
It has been shown to be exposed to the responses of others enhancing performance in solving specific problems, and this is true even if the solutions suggested by others are “worse” than yours. That kind of diversity of ideas doesn’t happen when you hire a coach or take a business development course. A group of business owners offers greater variability in the types of problems solved, the questions addressed, and the answers forthcoming. So even when the question you’re looking at isn’t yours, you’re exposed to endless learning opportunities and lessons that you’ll likely use one day.
In addition to getting solutions and ideas for specific problems, being part of a group of people who are dedicated to growing their business naturally builds other skill sets. A study shows growth of problem-solving, networking and deal-making skills. Other studies point to its benefits cooperative learning, suggesting that it helps students become critical thinkers. Accountability groups can help you develop transferable skills that you can use in a variety of professional and non-professional situations, even when you don’t have a group to brainstorm with.
Whole person development and symbiotic relationships that strive beyond your own success
When we think about improvement as business owners, we should be thinking as much, if not more, about being better leaders than strategizing about increasing profits. Joining a business owner accountability group, especially one that focuses on lifelong accountability (not just business growth), is an incredible way to do this.
In fact, leadership development training that emphasizes the development of the whole person in areas such as self-awareness and resilience rather than tactical skills is a proven strategy improving results at the organization level (registration required). This research highlights that being a strong leader depends on who you are beyond your technical skills.
This makes sense, since business success often depends on strong, reliable leadership and effective teamwork. Simply put, we need to be able to work together in healthy, positive ways if we want to build something great together.
But maybe that “something” we should ultimately build together isn’t necessarily our own businesses, skills, or lives. Perhaps these are just by-products of the larger work. Maybe, instead, it’s about helping others build.
Many of the leaders I know at the top of their industries do just that. they are constantly looking for ways to serve and teach others. And the more they seem to help others, the more their own business needs are met.
That’s part of the idea behind the larger organization that my accountability team belongs to. As a non-profit organization focused on helping business owners think and act symbiotically, they look at how we can help our fellow business owners, employees and customers in their own pursuits. This symbiotic approach is the basis of real success.
What would happen if we prioritized giving generous help and guidance? Suddenly, we may find ourselves surrounded by even smarter people who have been able to grow with our help (perhaps people in our own accountability group) and are then willing to radically help and share their ideas with us. We may be surprised at the success that this generous symbiosis brings—and the mutual responsibility it instills in us.