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  • Diana Schneidman

Accountability is way overrated

I have hit an important milestone this week. Specifically, I am taking a course on how to publicize the book I will soon publish, and I have submitted all assigned campaign components before the four-week program concludes. (The program is offered by Sandra Beckwith. I highly recommend both her one-on-one consulting and her supporting information products.)

The point is that I have kept up with assignments throughout the class. This is something I was not able to do in the first few years that I enrolled in such experiences.

Until about two years ago I participated in courses and masterminds where I substantially lagged behind the group and felt like a dismal failure.

The first multi-thousand-dollar series I participated in was from Mark Silver. (I recommend him highly as well.) It covered a lot of territory and I worked hard to keep up. The first week I read the entire reading assignment, highlighted parts, and brainstormed. Then the course quickly progressed to USP, branding, etc.

Here’s where it started to fall apart for me. The issue wasn’t one of commitment; I put lots of time into it, communicated with classmates and commented on their posts as recommended and really tried. Sometimes it seems like a pot of coffee late at night is the solution, but here that was not the case. No amount of effort achieved the desired results.

Then the group progressed on to assembling a pipeline or pyramid or journey or whatever you want to call a variety of products and services at varying price points. Here I was even more at sea.

Mark pointed out to me in a private phone conversation that some fellow participants in the program had been in business for two or three years or even longer. They already had many parts of their businesses in place, and for the new elements they were creating, they had extensive experience on which to build.

They knew their ideal customer and the problems these clients needed to solve because they had already worked with such customers and solved such problems. There’s a big difference between inventing typical clients in your own brain and having worked with live customers. The former is useful when you do not have real-life cases to analyze, but the latter is clearly better.

I felt somewhat better after this discussion. Now it has taken me years of study and development to reach where I am today . . . and I have much more learning and experience ahead of me. Business development is a career-long quest.

Accountability means being answerable for achieving the course’s objectives by assigned deadlines. Many online (and in-person) courses justify their existence first and foremost on grounds of accountability. In my experience, I busted my butt trying to keep up, but it takes more than commitment to reach the finish line with the rest of the group.

Developing a business through courses, online groups and other scheduled developmental activities is always challenging. However, the more developed your business already is, the easier it is to move ahead in sync.

Accountability has a place but it’s not the whole story. Even if we can’t maintain the pace, we are still achieving.

The answer is to get comfortable with ourselves and to trust that our efforts will pay off. Even if not by the assigned date, the work will continue and bear fruit in due time.


Mark Silver:

Originally posted 10-28-13

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