Accountability groups, whether they're formal or informal, can help your members achieve their goals. They provide a space for members to talk about their progress, get advice from others who are at the same stage of their journey, and share insights about how to move forward. But there's more to an accountability group than just getting together. You need to plan out exactly what will make this group work best for everyone involved—and that means having clear expectations from the start.
An accountability group is a support system where members help each other grow. A strategy session is a meeting that members hold at the beginning of your group’s life cycle, before any commitments have been made. It's an opportunity to get everyone on the same page about how members will support each other in reaching their goals.
During this meeting, have members discuss what makes this group different from others; how each member wants or needs support; and what kind of responsibilities they are willing to take on. You'll want at least two people in attendance: one leader who will take notes and one person who can help facilitate conversation if things get awkward or heated—that person doesn't have to be an expert, but should be comfortable with conflict resolution techniques like active listening and paraphrasing back what others are saying so they know they're being understood.
Make sure that everyone understands their roles within this group--you don't want someone feeling left out because she didn't anticipate doing all her own work!
When you introduce a new accountability group, you'll want to be sure that your members understand what they're getting into. Specifically, it's important to explain:
A good way to keep everyone on track is by creating a checklist that tracks progress and reminds members of things they need to do. This should be tailored to specific needs, but here are some ideas:
Accountability groups aren’t just about accountability; they're also a key element of community-building. Connecting members with one another is often more important than holding them accountable!
Connecting with others will:
Accountability groups sound like a big commitment, but they don't have to be. Be realistic about the time commitment expected of your members. How much time should they commit to the group?
How much time should you commit as a community leader? Enough for reflection on what's working and what needs changing in order for effective accountability groups within your community or organization!
If you want your accountability groups to be successful, you need to keep them on track. That means coaching your group leaders to keep meetings short and on time. If a member is late or absent, make sure someone else leads the discussion in their absence so it doesn't drag on longer than necessary.
It's also important that everyone gets a chance to speak during the meeting—no one person should dominate the conversation or hog all of the attention. It's easy for this kind of thing to happen when you have people who are more outgoing or talkative than others, so be sure to encourage every member of your accountability group by asking them questions about their goals and progress as much as possible during each meeting
You can get accountability groups started by asking your members to commit to a regular time and place for a few weeks. If people are willing to do that, it will make it easier for you to lead the group. But if not, then let them choose their own times and places. And if there are some people who are always late or never show up, don't worry about them—just start without them! You'll find that they'll eventually come around when they realize how much fun this is and how valuable it is for them as individuals (and as part of the team).
Accountability groups can be a great way to achieve results, but they have to be run with experience and intention. Here’s why:
It’s best to remember that accountability groups are a tool, not a quick fix. It’s an investment in the success of others, but the payoff is worth it. The process can seem daunting at first, so take your time with it and go slow—you will soon see results. And don’t forget that you don’t have to go it alone: You can always ask for help from members who know what they’re doing!
In an upcoming post, we're going to dive into the types of community member profiles. Before you dig through these, it's important to understand the 5 stages of a community member....
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