Ever set a commitment for yourself and fail to get it done? Sure you have. We all have.
It might be that 5 a.m. run we carefully planned the night before, or it could be to get through our unread emails by the end of the day.
Sometimes the stakes are even higher, like carving 5% from the expense budget, reducing rehab therapy patient no-shows and cancellations by 10%, or having a sit-down with an underperforming employee.
Despite our best intentions, being accountable only to ourselves for getting important things done is a system rife with flaws.
Setting an ‘Accountability Trap’
Now, of course, we didn’t become physical therapists, occupational therapists and speech-language pathologists without a healthy dose of self-discipline and an unwavering drive. We all have that, but it’s not always going to be enough. It’s easy to temporarily let ourselves down from time to time as often there is little immediate consequence.
But, letting others down is much harder.
Looking someone in the eye, allowing them to read your uncomfortable body language and admitting to failure … it makes me quiver just thinking about it.
And, this discomfort can be used as great leverage in our pursuit of execution.
By making ourselves accountable to others, we will get some really important stuff done. It’s easy to do, as well.
1. Establish Clear Goals
When setting a commitment, start by defining it clearly for yourself. Tell yourself exactly what you’ll do and by when.
If you need to be more disciplined with your spending, set a measurable and time-based target such as, “I’m going to implement a patient engagement strategy that reduces my no-shows and cancellations by 10%.”
2. Set the ‘Trap’
Once you’ve established your commitment, you need to set what I call “the accountability trap” for yourself. The accountability trap ensures that you won’t be able to slide by with anything less than a valiant effort toward your commitment.
Set your trap by voicing your commitment to someone who will hold you accountable.
In your business, your accountability options are plenty, but I prefer confiding my commitments with someone I can trust to actually keep me accountable – someone who I respect enough to care about what they think of me, and someone who respects me enough to hold me to task.
This could be a business partner, a member of your management team or a mentor. The possibilities are endless as long as you share your commitment with someone who will actually keep you accountable.
Not only is this exercise as easy as it is powerful, but it also serves the benefit of modeling a culture of accountability within your organization.
By demonstrating the importance of accountability for your own behaviors, those who you entrust to hold you to task are also learning an important lesson in accountability for themselves, as well.
Performed strategically, you might be surprised at the difference this technique can have on a bottom line.
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