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S5E14 | Sandra talks with Richard Ralston

Episode Description:

Sandra talks with Richard Ralston about progress and accountability pods, and how they can increase your member retention, create a tight-knit community, and help your members implement your content to reach their goals!

Show notes

“I think that every membership should have some sort of accountability process…And that should be as important as having an email system or a delivery site for your membership and your content. Because at the end of the day, what we want people to do is take action on the content that we’re delivering, because we want their lives to transform, right? We want them to get the results that we’ve promised.” -Richard Ralston

Before I met my friend Richard Ralston, I really didn’t like the idea of accountability pods or progress pods, because I had a bad experience with them. I just felt like they didn’t work. It was Richard who re-introduced me to the idea, and he completely changed my perspective! In this episode I invited Richard to come on to talk about accountability pods, and why they’re so great.

For some background, Richard has worked with small groups for a long time, particularly outdoor adventure trips where people could do activities like kayaking and mountain climbing. After they had these experiences they could come back and share what happened, what they learned, and how they could take those lessons to other parts of their lives. Now, he helps membership owners to set up progress pods or accountability groups to help improve their member retention rate, and help people to achieve results.

These progress pods help people to implement the content that membership owners create, and help them to get results and share their experiences. Richard has heard many people say that they stay in a membership largely because of the progress pod. Knowledge is power, but implementing that knowledge is even more powerful, and that’s what accountability pods help people do.

We all want to be the person who does the things they say they’re going to do, and one of the main parts of a progress pod is to tell the group what you’ll be working on each week. This also leads to members being engaged with each other’s progress and success. People get to know each other more deeply, and learn more about not just what content they’re working on, but their lives as well. An accountability group provides that small community of encouragement and motivation that helps people to set their plans in motion. Like Richard said, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

Richard, like me, also didn’t start out as a progress pod enthusiast. He found someone online who ran marketing for real estate agents, and ultimately became their community manager. He was asked to create a progress pod, and began seeing the results from the members in the group. From this success, he learned how to incorporate progress pods for others.

Richard found that progress pods get very “sticky,” people get to know each other and want to stick together, which leads them to stay in your membership even through price increases. You can almost guarantee results for people, and the success stories have been able to change lives.

But how can you guarantee that your progress pod will be successful, and not turn into a social club that doesn’t have much use? Richard suggests creating an internal leadership pathway within your membership, so that your key people can become leaders of progress pods and develop their leadership skills. These people will already understand your content and values, and you won’t have to manage it all by yourself. It takes a bit of time to set up in the beginning, you have to invest in your people, but the benefits are worth it.

Richard also recommends setting up a five-part structure for progress pod meetings so they remain focused on helping people to make progress and get results: Have a check-in and share your wins, share how you did last week, share what you’ll be doing this week, when are you going to do it, and ask what what’s been valuable to you today.

Now I’ve even had good experiences myself with podcast pods. Sometimes you lie to yourself and say you’ll get something done, and then don’t. But it’s much harder to lie to someone else. Having that accountability is key.

You can learn more about Richard, his progress pods, and his progress pod software at: