6 Step Quick Start Guide

How To Start A Successful Goals Group

Goals Groups provide two core drivers of achievement:  affirmation and accountability.  Peers help each other realize long and short-term goals in an environment of positive attitude, commitment, confidentiality and respect.  Here's a six step guide to forming a Goals Group of your own.

1.  To find members, start where you are.  You can find potential members in your neighborhood,  choir, workplace, dorm, children's school, professional organization, gym, local Etsy team, MOPS group, etc.  You only need 4 - 8 people.  Your first recruit can help you to recruit someone else, and so on.  Members of your group can be in your area of work (Artists, Writers, Lawyers) or in broader functional area (entrepreneurs, students, solo practitioners, job-seekers, moms). Or, you can cast your net more broadly and create a group simply made up of people who have clear goals to achieve.  (At Incept, employees were grouped randomly into Goals Groups.) Diverse personalities are a good thing.  But keep in mind that you want everyone in the group to be similarly committed to being held accountable to the group. Once the group forms, you will want to keep the group’s membership consistent.  So be selective.  Any member in your group should not only be able to provide you with sound feedback and advice, but should be able to receive some benefit from your feedback as well.
  • What do you say?  Just, "I'm starting a Goals Group and I'm looking for people to join.  The group will help each member identify their own goals and achieve them.  It is like an accountability group to keep people focused and motivated."
  • You could also pass out hard copies of Barbara Grufferman's article about Accountability Groups so that people have something highly credible to take home and read.
  • Collect email addresses so that you can follow up with information about the time and place of the first meeting.
2.  Chose a location.  Ideally, the place you chose should be free of distraction and interruptions.  If you don't have the ideal spot, go with what is available and easy for everyone to get to.  A quiet hotel lobby, an empty conference room, a corner of a university student center or a coffee shop are fine. 

3.  Set specific ground rules about how the group will work. This should include how often to meet, how long the meeting lasts, and what each person must bring each week.  At the first meeting, be sure to get agreement on confidentiality which is paramount from group members as safe environments enable participants to be more open and honest in what they share.  (More ideas about ground rules are in Grufferman's article.)

4.  Identify a facilitator/leader.  Without a leader, the person with the most pressing problems or issues too easily becomes the focus of the conversation.  This often results in people losing interest in being part of the group.  A leader will ensure that everyone has a chance to be listened to.  The leader also takes charge of keeping to a regularly scheduled time, and ensuring that meetings begin and end on time.  Even groups that are quite capable of self-policing need a capable leader.

5.  Focus on the goals.  At each meeting there are two rounds of discussion.
Round 1 is a report to the group on members' success against that’s week’s goals. 
What have you been working on?  What have you learned? 

Round 2 is a preview of goals set for the next week. 
What will you be working on?  What do you need help with?
Everyone gets 15 - 20 minute to speak, so each member should come prepared to discuss what they've accomplished and ready to present their next week's goals.

6.  Balance push-back with idea-generation. Since this is a Goals Group, the whole reason people are there is push each other toward getting things done.  So if your goals are too easy, or too vague, someone should tell you that.  And if they are not being accomplished on time or completely, you should have someone giving you feedback about that too.  In an environment of respect and kindness, help each other stay accountable.  When members can't see the way forward on their own, offer ideas.  With help and clear expectations from their group members, people can and will figure out their next steps.  Dialog will stimulate thinking.

Have fun!
Another good start-up resource is Barbara Sher's witty and wonderful free 22-page booklet "How to Get What You Really Want: Create Your Success Team" which can be downloaded from Sher's website here.  (Or click here to initiate an immediate download of the PDF.)


"You + Me = Awesome" Used by permission.  Print available at PumpkinAndButterfly. Etsy.com