The situation: When Melbourne went into its first pandemic lockdown, reality struck my wife and me. We were juggling homeschooling our two kids (ages 8 and 6), running my practice from home and her job as a nurse in a local hospital. The first couple of weeks in particular were tough, and my business activity levels dropped off significantly as we tried to adjust.
One day, fellow Melburnian and MDRT member Mathew Thomas Fogarty, CFP, Dip FP, called me to check in and see how I was doing. We had a good talk about what was going on and came up with a plan that would help us both get focused and up our activity levels.
By Sunday evening each week, we would email each other with two to four things we needed to complete the coming week. Every Thursday morning between 8:30 and 9:30, we have an “accountability call” via video conference to discuss progress.
How it works
We use the MDRT Whole Person concept as a base for goal setting each week. Progress and success can’t happen without things like energy, self-belief, time management and a business plan. So weekly goals need to cover more than just business outcomes; they have to be about work-life balance. The Sunday email always opens with an update on how the weekend went, focused on family time and fitness. We then list the things we’ll complete in the next seven days. It takes no more than 10 minutes to do this.
The Thursday morning video call discussion is about what we have completed so far, work items outstanding, challenges, achievements and an open discussion about how we can do things better and raise the standards the following week.
Now is the time to ask a forward-looking, positive question to get back into the growth mindset: What am I grateful for today?
What started with three basic accountability items each week to build momentum quickly turned into a system to help move the bigger projects in my business. In the space of a few weeks, we were able to build a “virtual advice” experience, which covered all things related to delivering an end-to-end online financial planning service. Other things have included establishing a new client value proposition for high-net-worth individuals and families, working on complex client strategies, and reevaluating our business expenses, including staffing.
When Melbourne recently headed into a second 12-week lockdown, we strengthened our calls even more. We have welcomed another MDRT member, Aaron Kane, B Bus, AFA, to our calls, and there is more determination, more encouragement and more fight than ever before. We made a committed choice: We wanted to succeed and build the ideal future no matter how great the challenge.
We introduced a brief agenda to keep within a one-hour timeframe that includes:
- A roundtable discussion on how we are doing, with a few forward-looking positive questions such as: What are you excited about? What are you grateful for? Why do you have to win today?
- A short talk on a particular topic, strategy, client scenario or practice management idea. This is usually raised on the Sunday email with our weekly accountabilities.
The core focus is, and will always be, our accountability items. Each of us has the opportunity to discuss where we are, and we all provide each other feedback and advice.
Why you should try it
The accountability call is as easy as it gets to help boost your momentum and productivity. It’s a powerful thing when you know that every Thursday morning you will be discussing with another person how you executed your weekly plan. When you make an active and enthusiastic commitment to get your accountability items completed, the mind takes over and gets into action mode and you get things done!
There have been some tough days when I feel this situation is getting the better of me. I’ve learned this is normal: You wouldn’t be human if you didn’t get overwhelmed by this at times. I’m sure many feel the same. Now is the time to ask a forward-looking, positive question to get back into the growth mindset: What am I grateful for today?
This coming Thursday morning, I will dial into our accountability call. Waiting will be two MDRT members ready to push me to achieve all I can now, and build a growth mindset for the future.