Why an Accountability Partner makes a HUGE difference when prepping for the PMP Certification
All along the term “peer pressure” has had a negative connotation. It turns out that if you look at the glass half full – – peer pressure can be healthy in peer-based partnerships and/or menter relationships.
Since when is peer pressure a good thing?!?!

I spend a lot of time on the internet these days. Sometimes on my desktop or laptop and other times on my phone. Sometimes I am productive, sometimes I just get lost in the depths of forums and Facebook groups. This time, navigating my way around all topics involving:

  • PMP Study Prep
  • Project Management

Which somehow led to:

  • Accountability Partners
  • Peer Pressure
  • And…Workouts

Ha!

Let me explain.

Value of accountability

When it comes to accountability in our lives, its everywhere. Probably more than we realize.

That’s probably why it only took a few minutes of scrolling though project management and PMP forums/groups to see over 100 recent comments from aspiring PM’s already who already see the value in an accountability partner to help them study and pass the world renowned PMP certification exam.

So what does an accountability partner (AP) look like? How will I know when I found one? Let’s take a quick trip down memory lane….and I’ll share one of my most memorable experiences to illustrate what my AP looked like.

How about an example?

When I was more of an avid gym rat than I am now, I use to pick up my friend every morning around 5:30am so we could get to the gym by 6am sharp, get an hour work out in and get to our jobs or grueling college lectures.

We hated waking up early (her more than I. She was such a night owl).

The last thing I wanted to do was hit snooze and go back to bed knowing how pissed she would be. Or even send her a disappointing text as she is waiting out front in the cold waiting for me to swing by her place.

In a way, it was probably the only thing that kept me in the habit of staying in shape and managing my time well with all the other responsibilities.

On weeks when she was out of town or unavailable, my gym attendance was practically nonexistent. I didn’t care if I let myself down, I cared about letting her down.

She was my accountability partner and she gave me the kick in the butt I needed to get my workouts in.

Turns out there was something to it.

According to the “American Society of Training and Development (ASTD) who completed a study on accountability they found that you have a 65% of completing a goal if you commit to someone. With reoccurring accountability check-ins with a person you’ve committed, your chance of success raises to 95%.”

Aha!

Our pattern of morning workouts worked. Due in part to our commitment to each other and our regular gym days, where we showed up and got our workouts in (because it sure as hell wasn’t out of my desire to wake up that early).

FINDING an accountability partner

So how do you find a PMP accountability partner?

Here are a few places to start:

  • Local PMI Chapter meeting
  • Facebook and reddit forums of PMP aspirants
  • A colleague with a similar goal
  • Study programs that include private forums
  • Local meetups
  • LinkedIn groups

If you do participate in any project management related groups or are thinking about subscribing, it is worth posting about looking for a study partner. You’ll be surprised how many fellow aspirants respond!

 

There are people all over the internet and within your community who need an accountability partner for one reason or another.

And it doesn’t take much effort to find them.

Accountability Partner vs Coach

For those of you who cringe at the thought of socializing and finding an accountability partner, there is also the option of connecting with online PM coaches. Sessions can be completed from your computer and you’ll have the comfort knowing that these are experts who have answers and guide you through the material. They make sure that there is continuous progression towards the goal.

Regardless of who your accountability partner becomes, your chances of achieving your goal skyrockets just by having one.

Now this doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to forgo an accountability partner for a mentor, they work too – – it is just a different dynamic.

A mentor, or coach, tends to have more experience and knowledge of a topic. They can give you the push you need and keep you on track with your goals, with more of a systematic approach. An accountability partner is figuring it all out with you; pains, struggles and successes where their level of knowledge likely falls in line with yours.

Both provide a ton of value add.

Dr. Robert Cialdini, a well-known social psychologist, often discusses “social influence” and decision-making. His studies show that 1) peer pressure is powerful, and 2) the closer we are to the person or group we are comparing ourselves to, the more likely we are to be influenced by them.

All along, the term “peer pressure” has had a negative connotation. It turns out that if you look at the glass half full – – peer pressure can be healthy in peer-based partnerships and/or menter relationships.

Ready to get started with an AP?

Start simple:

  • Nail down a time and method to communicate on a regular basis (set by you and your partner)
  • Discuss weekly wins
  • Challenges
  • Goals heading into the next week and how you plan to achieve them

The most difficult step is the first one.  Go find yourself an accountability partner.

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