John Kotter wrote a book called Leading Change that is a business school standard and I happen to have it on my book shelf here in the office. I was thinking about what I wanted to share with you this week and I glanced over and saw the title. All I could think is, “boy that’s timely.”
We are in our third week of facilitating Financial Peace University here on campus. As I said in my post Why Is It So Hard To Talk About This Stuff, we are attempting to equip the folks in the class with information that will help them lead change in their house and here at the Riverfront. So in that vein I am going to start a series of posts about leading financial change in your house.
Leading Change: The Power of Accountability
How many times have you started a diet or a new-year’s resolution only to leave it in the dust a few weeks later? I know it’s almost an annual occurrence for me. It seems like every January I make a list of personal “resolutions” that I have completely forgotten by the middle of March! Isn’t that how it is with nearly everything? – We just get caught in the daily grind and forget about what we wanted to accomplish.
In business we create structure to keep us accountable. At both of our businesses, Gallup FCU and Guide Rock, we have a board of directors. One of their major responsibilities of the board is to keep us accountable for the goals we set. We have to report to them every month about the progress of our projects. It might seem simple but when you know that you have to explain your progress, or lack there of, to a group of people you respect – it seems to light the motivation fire. The board also offers a wealth of experience and input to the business. When we run into road blocks or need some advice, their collective experience often gives us insight on how to approach the problem.
In my opinion the most valuable part of our board is having a group to celebrate success with. The board can get excited about accomplishments because they know how hard we have worked to reach our goals. They have been a part of the process since the very beginning!
Guys, you will never be able to implement the financial change you desire until you have an accountability system in place.
Have you ever heard of having a “Personal Board of Directors?” It is nearly identical to the board of directors for a business, except it is for you personally. Your board can be made up of anyone you want - it might include your spouse, parents, boss, friends, pastor, or any other individual (both Ronny and I have filled these types of rolls in the past). The idea is not to necessarily tell all these people that they are on your “board”, you could if you wanted to. It is simply to have a group of people you trust and could go to for accountability, advice, and celebration.
In my opinion you should be very deliberate to include someone on your board with whom you can be accountable with for your finances. This part is important, no matter who you choose, make sure you pick someone who really cares about you… that’s not necessarily your spouse.
You need to pick someone who will be firm with you when necessary and will care enough about you to push you toward success even when it is hard for them. Everyone has a different personality. You know if you need someone who will be a tough, no-nonsense coach or if you need someone who will be a softer, doctor Phil kind of counselor.
The bottom line is that you need to find the person who will help you achieve success. Think hard about who that is and then take that person out for a cup of coffee to see if they are willing to take the journey with you. If they are the right person for the board seat – they will be excited to get involved.