Accountability: It’s Time to Put Your Butt on the Line

In my last article on ‘Goal Setting’ I stressed the importance of setting goals, creating a strategic plan for your career, and following a timeline with clear specific actions to ensure that your goals happen.  It’s all great… in fact, it’s all fantastic if you’re the type of person who jumps out of bed in the morning eager to get started on the tasks for the day, loves a challenge and can’t wait for that first obstacle to get in your way, that rock to fall in your path.  My guess is, that’s not the case for many (if any) of us.

You’ve heard the saying, “when the going gets tough the tough get going.”  Well in the entertainment industry the “going gets tough” a fair amount of the time.  We deal with more rejection and more competition than probably any business in the world.  The solution… being held accountable for your goals and actions.  It works.

I’ve been in this industry for over twenty-five years and I’ve had ‘accountability partners’ or ‘accountability teams’ for every one of those years.  I’ve had a partner with whom I’ve done weekly calls.  And for years a group of five of my colleagues (from different aspects of the industry) met once a week to talk about our goals and what actions we were going to take that week.  On Friday we would email the team with an update of what we had done so far and what was still left to do before we met the next week.  It kept us focused and on target and the coaching and brainstorming we gave each other was priceless.

When I was interviewing professionals from the entertainment industry for my MTT video, Goal Setting Part II, I specifically asked them for their thoughts on the importance and the power of being held accountable.  Director, Mark Rosman (“A Cinderella Story”) says that he makes a point of getting together with people on a weekly basis.  “I’ve directed over fifteen TV movies and tons of episodic TV and feature films,” he says, “and I’ve found that especially when I’m in between jobs and I need that kind of help to keep going, an accountability group really is the thing that drives me.”  Bob Stewart, CEO NowCasting/Players Directory, recommends “a breakfast club with likeminded people.  Actors, directors, writers… even if it’s a mix of people… you make yourself accountable to them.”

Actress Mary Stein (“Changeling” “Babe: Pig in the City”) feels that accountability is key to success.  “When you’re sharing with someone on a regular basis,” she says, “it lets you know if you’re keeping your word or not.  What’s the truth here?  Am I really doing what I said I was going to do.”   Kris Emery, Production Executive at Comedy Central, told me that for her having somebody to talk to keeps her on track.  “I have a very good friend in Texas who I’ve known for over 20 years, and we have done goal setting over those years.  We have a personal blog where we correspond back and forth on a daily or weekly basis depending on what we’re doing.  We report in, talk about our accomplishments, our goals and where we need support.”

People at all levels and facets of the industry have accountability partners or teams.  I had the pleasure of co-leading a workshop with Film Producer, David Valdas (“Unforgiven,” “The Book of Eli”) and when I was speaking on the topic of accountability, David said that he has a team of other film producers who get together every Tuesday morning.  All of whom are extremely successful people in our industry.  It just proves the point… everyone can use that extra support.

So whether you’re taking on a new learning curve, a huge goal, or just going through the day to day routine with your promises and commitments, having a partner or team to check in with is essential. We’re all human and sometimes we need a little help to keep us on track.  Being held accountable for your actions and promises will work miracles.

In my video, Goal Setting Part II, which you’ll find on the website, I’ll be interviewing industry professionals on the “Seven Steps to Goal Setting” and we’ll address this fascinating topic of accountability.

Go to and enjoy my video on “Goal Setting – Part II.”