Have you ever marveled at a flock of geese flying in formation on their way to warmer climes in the spring or fall? Why do they travel that way? The reasons migratory birds fly in a V shape is because the aerodynamics make it easier for them to fly. As the birds flap their wings, the air flowing off their wing tips gives birds in the back of the V an extra lift. This reduces the amount of energy the birds need to fly. This also ensures that the flock evenly distributes the workload so that they can easily make the long journey to their target destination.
Over the course of a long journey, the birds take turns leading the front of the V, the most difficult position. When a bird has tired of leading, it falls to the rear of the V, where there is the least wind resistance. Scientists have found that when geese fly together in the V-formation, they can cover 70% more distance than if the birds were to fly alone.
Find an accountability partner
What do geese have to do with career transition? We know that change is hard and staying motivated is challenging. Research has indicated that when we share our goals with others, we are more likely to succeed. Having an accountability partner to provide encouragement and feedback along the way can make the difference between success and failure.
How to choose an accountability partner
Typically, an accountability partner knows you well and is motivated to help you succeed. They may have been through a transition themselves or may have benefitted from having had a mentor. They can be someone who has offered to be a reference, a former manager, colleague or friend. Ideally, your partner should be someone who can relate to what you are trying to accomplish, your challenges, and, can help you prioritize. Most importantly, they need to be, in the words of the psychologist and author, Tal BenShahar, “a beautiful enemy,” someone who cares enough to tell you the truth in an encouraging way.
What the research indicates
In case you’re skeptical of the benefits of having an accountability partner, studies by psychologists Wing & Jeffery showed that people who joined a weight loss program alone had a 76% completion rate and 24% maintained their weight loss. Those who went with a friend had a 95% completion rate and 66% maintained their weight loss in full for 6 months. In addition, similar research indicates that having an accountability partner provides an enhanced ability to cope with stress.
How to insure success
Step 1: Define a clear and measurable goal.
Step 2: Identify the actions you need to complete in order to achieve your goal. For example, if you goal is to find a new job, one action you have to finish is to update your resume.
Step3: Create a timeline for completing each step in the process on a daily and weekly basis.
Step 4: Set up a schedule for checking in with your accountability partner and how you plan to communicate.
Step 5: Clarify your expectations. Do you want to inform your partner of your progress or are you looking for feedback and guidance? Be clear.
How’s it going?
Let me know what works for you. I welcome your feedback.