Productive this Pandemic - Accountability Partner

Productive this Pandemic - Accountability Partner

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For the longest of time, I would consider myself as the lone wolf at work. Most days, I’d rather stay alone and be in my world to get things done. I found in the past that the effort to collaborate is counterintuitive and would just mean more work for me. Back then, I’d rather do things “my way” than to delegate so that I don’t get disappointed with the results from someone else. These have changed because I finally found the right sweet spot on this. It’s called an accountability partner.

Whatever you’re working on, find someone else whom you can share accountability for it. I have a big emphasis on sharing because it’s different from “passing down” all the work. There is a difference between collaborating with your colleagues or an employer delegating to an employee. It means that you and that partner (or peers) are both motivated by the successful outcome of the work. You’re not doing it because “it’s part of your job” to work together. I’ve realized that the true power of collaboration is when not only one person is invested in it.

Just like in The Battle of Clouds podcast, I have Bryan, whom I work with, to make sure we don’t get de-motivated on publishing (we do from time to time). We keep reminding each other about what is the next thing to do. We also learn from our episodes by collaborating and having different perspectives and ideas. If we also feel like not recording on that day, we then share the burden of not having to deliver. Our goal to the project is to become a lifelong learner, and this is just a means for that. We don’t expect to become millionaires from this podcast, all right, to become a regular radio pod casters “nerding out” technology topics. :)

We’re currently building a house and must undergo the end-to-end journey of it. As many would know, the process is very tedious and stressful. I share the responsibility and accountability of this with my wife. From choosing colors, designs, electrical ports; it gets daunting to just think about all the variations. Although her effort is much more than I do, often, we discuss what we want and what we don’t like - and we meet halfway. We are still in the early phase of the build, but we want to make sure that we set ourselves up for success. This is a big financial decision that we are both accounted for.

With all the startup ventures I’m involved with, I have at least one partner to collaborate and bounce ideas within. As much as I have hundreds of product ideas to work on, I know I will get de-motivated with it eventually and will just abandon the project. I need to keep on working towards shared goals. Having someone to peer-review your ideas and work would help you have an excellent product market fit. Sometimes what you think is great is not really that novel for someone else. You’re building products not for yourself, but to solve other people’s problems.

The problem with modern “tasks” management is that all deadlines are just imaginary. There is no such thing as “it’s done tomorrow”, because we’re living in a world where things are becoming increasingly “asynchronous.” Asynchronous means we keep waiting for others to finish, before we can build on top of it, hence we perform things that someone on the other line is waiting for. Having an accountability partner allows you to move forward synchronously and take a solid path towards your combined goals. Also, as funny as it may sound, “peer pressure” is real and we rarely want to disappoint people- “the guilt is enough to keep you moving.”


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Michael John Peña avatar

Michael is an experienced technologist based in Sydney, Australia, a Microsoft MVP since 2015 with over 12 years of working experience ranging from Mobile, Cloud, Web and DevOps. He currently owns Datachain Consulting, a company that focuses on democratizing AI and Blockchain technologies. He is also a technical advisor to some technology startups. His roles allow him to explore the cutting edge technologies of Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, IoT, Edge Computing, and the Cloud.