Accountability is critical to networking. It forces us to get out of our cave. Find someone in your BNI chapter to be your accountability partner to keep you on track. Here are seven questions to help you find the right person.
- Who do I highly respect?
- Who would not be afraid to push me?
- Who would I never think of disappointing?
- Who really wants to build his or her business through networking?
- Who knows me and my tendency to [fill in the blank]?
- Who will follow through on this commitment to me?
- Who has the time to help me?
It can also help to create a tracking system for this. There’s a Networking Scorecard developed by the Referral Institute and included in the Certified Networker Training.
Read Dr. Misner’s blog post about accountability. Then try this out and come back and let us know how it worked for you—just post to the comments section of the blog!
Brought to you by Networking Now.
Complete Transcription of BNI Podcast Episode 095 –
Hello everyone, and welcome back to The Official BNI Podcast brought to you by NetworkingNow.com, which is the leading site on the Net for networking downloadables.
I’m Priscilla Rice, and I’m coming to you from Live Oak Recording Studio in Berkeley, California, and I am joined on the phone today by the founder and the chairman of BNI, Dr. Ivan Misner.
Hello, Ivan, and how are you doing today?
Doing great, Priscilla. I’ve got an interesting topic today: Find An Accountability Partner.
Good. Tell us all about that.
Well, I did a blog on this a few weeks back, and I talk about the fact that I was at dinner one night, and I asked my son the dreaded question. “So, Trey, how’s homework coming?”
And I got the typical teenage roll of the eyes response and the standard answer, which is, “Well, I was going to finish that after dinner, Dad.” And I just laughed. Holding your kids accountable is so much fun.
But even if you don’t have kids, at one time, you were a kid, so I’m pretty much guessing that everybody can identify with that kind of scenario. Being held accountable for completing your homework as a kid was never fun, but you’ve got to face it, when you’re held accountable for what we do, for our actions, for our performance and commitments, it tends to heighten our awareness of what we’re responsible for and what we promised to do or what we’re supposed to be doing.
So it’s the same or similar with networking your business. Accountability is critical. When you make a commitment to yourself to get out of that cave and attend networking functions, the reality is sometimes other things come up and we forget about those promises or we push them to the back burner. So it becomes difficult unless we have somebody who’s willing to help us.
One of the things that I recommend in a BNI group is Find An Accountability Partner for networking your business. Find somebody in the BNI chapter who you have a really good relationship with who’s willing to be your accountability partner. That way, every time you commit to a new networking strategy or to some other goal or activity relating to networking, your accountability partner can help keep you on track.
Each week, perhaps by phone, maybe after the meeting, spend ten minutes after the meeting where you talk about your progress in your networking efforts, and they talk about their progress. You meet with your accountability partner to identify your strategy for the week, and because you have someone hearing your progress, you’re more inclined to focus on the task at hand.
So here are seven points, seven suggestions that I have to help you find the right accountability partner, and it may be a BNI member; it may not be. I love the concept, if it’s at all possible, to find somebody in your chapter where you both agree to be each other’s accountability partner, because you’re meeting every week so there’s no place to hide. Right?
You can’t hide from them because you’re there every week, and that’s the ideal partner, if at all possible.
So here are the seven questions that I recommend that you ask yourself in terms of finding the right accountability partner.
First, who do I highly respect as a business colleague? You’ve got to respect the person that is your accountability partner, and they’ve got to respect you. There has to be a mutual respect with the two parties.
Second, who would not be afraid to push me and keep me focused? You don’t want a pansy as an accountability partner. You don’t want somebody who’s just going to roll over, “Well, I couldn’t do it; I didn’t make it; My cat needed a whisker-ectomy,” all of these crazy reasons why you couldn’t accomplish it. So you need to have somebody who’s not afraid to nudge you and keep you focused.
Third, who would I never think of disappointing?
Now, I think that’s an interesting one. In our relationships, in our professional relationships, there are people who I would feel devastated if I disappointed some of my business associates. You like to think that you don’t want to disappoint anybody, but there are some that I would just be appalled if I disappointed someone. So that actually makes somebody who’s a good accountability partner.
Fourth is, who is also interested in networking his or her business so that you can be accountability partners with each other? So who do you have who really wants to build they business through networking, and that’s one of the reasons why using a BNI member is really great, because you’ve got somebody that they want to be accountable for the same kinds of things that you want to be accountable for.
Fifth is, who knows me and my tendencies to do whatever, procrastinate, be too assertive, whatever the tendencies you might have? The most common one is either to procrastinate or to put things on the back burner, get into overwhelm. But who knows you well enough to know some of those things. I’d say that that’s probably not the single-most important thing, because you’re going to learn that about people over time, but if you’ve been a member of a chapter for a while, people kind of have a sense of who you are.
The sixth item is, who will follow through on this commitment to me? The assumption is that you’re going to follow through on your commitment to them. That really applies just to disappointing someone. You don’t want to create a relationship with someone that you’re going to disappoint. But you’ve got to ask yourself who’s going to be willing to do the same for you; who will follow through on the commitment to you.
And the last is, who has the time to help me? We all say we’re busy; I’m very busy; you’re busy; we’re all busy. So what. The thing is who’s going to take the time to do this to improve their results. And that’s really what this is all about is improving your results, and staying focused and having somebody say, “Hey, so how’s the homework coming?” is really important. And who is willing to do that along with you.
Those are the seven points. How do you think those would work out in a chapter, Priscilla?
I think it’s a great idea, and I wanted to add something, which is, once you find your accountability partner, if you create some kind of a tracking system so that you can keep track of what you’ve done, that really helps, I found. I do this kind of thing with somebody, actually.
Yeah, you’re absolutely right. There are some tracking systems out there. I can tell you about one that I really like. It’s the Networking Scorecard. I don’t know if that’s the system that you use, but the Networking Scorecard. It was developed by the Referral Institute, and it’s available anywhere you might find a Referral Institute trainer, and they’re in several countries around the world. Just go to ReferralInstitute.com. It’s the Certified Networker Training. In the Certified Networker Training us a networking scorecard, and the networking scorecard is literally what we’re talking here. You literally keep track of your activities. And if you have an accountability partner, you share that with each other. “What’s your score this week? What’s my score this week? What was our goal? How come we didn’t make it? What are we going to do to make it next week?” Those kinds of things. So great scorecard.
In the same way that some sales people track the number of cold calls they make, the scorecard is a way of tracking the number of activities that you do to build your business through networking or word of mouth.
Yeah, I think it’s very helpful.
It really is. There’s something else that the Referral Institute has which I really, really like, and that is the Referral Pipeline training. And the reason I like that Referral Pipeline training is that it’s all about accountability partners, all about accountability partners. As a matter of fact, you cannot go to the Referral Institute’s Referral Pipeline training without a partner. If you show up by yourself, they turn you away.
You can’t attend. You must go to the training with an accountability partner so that the two of you – really a referral partner, but that’s what it amounts to is an accountability partner – and you have to come with a referral partner so that you’re working and supporting each other. I can always tell BNI members who’ve been through Pipeline; they are really, really good members. Or BNI members who’ve been through the Certified Networker Training program, they’re always great BNI members. So I highly recommend the Referral Institute to help do that.
That sounds great.
Well, I think we’re almost out of time. I would just leave this with the listeners. No one likes to knowingly disappoint someone else, and no one likes to waste his or her time or have their time wasted, and the process of having an accountability partner helps to compel us to perform at a higher level. And performing at a higher level is going to get you much stronger networking results. I would love for the listeners to try this out and to come back and post your results. What were some of the things you did to help make it work? What were some of the challenges you have? We’d very much like to hear from BNI members all around the world about how this worked for them.
That’s all I have for today, Priscilla. Thank you.
Okay, that was great, Dr. Misner. Thank you so much.
Well, listeners, I just want to remind you that this podcast has been brought to you by NetworkingNow.com, which is the leading site on the Net for networking downloadables. Thanks so much for listening. This is Priscilla Rice, and we hope you’ll join us next week for another exciting episode of The Official BNI Podcast.