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QBQ! The Question behind the Question: Practicing Personal Accountability at Work and in Life

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Overview


The lack of personal accountability is a problem that has resulted in an epidemic of blame, victim thinking, complaining, and procrastination. No organization—or individual—can successfully compete in the marketplace, achieve goals and objectives, provide outstanding service, engage in exceptional teamwork, or develop people without personal accountability.  

John G. Miller believes that the troubles that plague organizations cannot ...

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QBQ! The Question behind the Question: Practicing Personal Accountability at Work and in Life

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Overview


The lack of personal accountability is a problem that has resulted in an epidemic of blame, victim thinking, complaining, and procrastination. No organization—or individual—can successfully compete in the marketplace, achieve goals and objectives, provide outstanding service, engage in exceptional teamwork, or develop people without personal accountability.  

John G. Miller believes that the troubles that plague organizations cannot be solved by pointing fingers and blaming others. Rather, the real solutions are found when each of us recognizes the power of personal accountability. In QBQ! The Question Behind the Question®, Miller explains how negative, ill-focused questions like “Why do we have to go through all this change?” and “Who dropped the ball?” represent a lack of personal accountability. Conversely, when we ask better questions—QBQs—such as “What can I do to contribute?” or “How can I help solve the problem?” our lives and our organizations are transformed.

THE QBQ! PROMISE
This remarkable and timely book provides a practical method for putting personal accountability into daily actions, with astonishing results: problems are solved, internal barriers come down, service improves, teams thrive, and people adapt to change more quickly. QBQ! is an invaluable resource for anyone seeking to learn, grow, and change. Using this tool, each of us can add tremendous worth to our organizations and to our lives by eliminating blame, victim-thinking, and procrastination.
                                                                                                 
QBQ! was written more than a decade ago and has helped countless readers practice personal accountability at work and at home. This version features a new foreword, revisions and new material throughout, and a section of  FAQs that the author has received over the years.
 
 

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Every work team has an unhealthy share of Monday morning quarterbacks. As whispered accusations of "you dropped the ball" accumulate, progress is stifled and cooperation wanes. John G. Miller, the founder of the QBQ organizational development firm, thinks that personal accountability is the answer to pervasive blame-game problems. In this delightfully succinct book, he explains how managers and workers can create a business culture in which everybody walks their talk.
Publishers Weekly
This is a quick but deep book that explores the role of personal accountability in one's work and personal life. In his own work experience, Miller found that many people look for others to blame their problems and conflicts on. He proposes that instead of asking who is to blame for the situation, we should ask, "What can I do to improve the situation?" Only by being able to ask this "question behind the question" can we take ownership of the problem and start working toward a solution. Throughout the book, Miller (who has consulted for major corporations with his firm, QBQ, Inc.) recounts real-world situations in customer service, retail sales, personal relationships and the corporate boardroom and the positive and not-so-positive ways they were handled. Each example reinforces the message that personal accountability and ownership of a problem not only leads to a resolution but also lifts people willing to take ownership and action above those looking to play the "blame game." From responsibility, says the author, comes leadership and greater career opportunities. In one's personal life, Miller says, ownership of conflict can also lead to enhanced relationships and greater enjoyment of daily life. Agent, Barret Neville. (Sept. 13) Forecast: According to Putnam, this book sold 250,000 copies when Miller self-published it, and Putnam is positioning it as the next Who Moved My Cheese? Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
A rather simple tool that encourages personal accountability, the QBQ (question behind the question) drives Miller's organizational development firm of the same name. Rephrasing issues is the trick: begin with what or how, personalize with I, and focus on action. Thus, "When will they take care of the problem?" turns into "What can I do?" The advice here is admirable (e.g., stop procrastinating, change oneself) though hardly revelatory. The brief, breezy chapters crackle with energy, but, as they lack coherence and linear structure, the resultant zap dies out. Occasional lectures and corniness are forgivable; recycling material from Miller's previous Personal Accountability: Powerful and Practical Ideas for You and Your Organization (1999) is not. Stick with the prior title if you have it; otherwise, order on demand. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399152337
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/9/2004
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 16,376
  • Product dimensions: 5.72 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.72 (d)

Meet the Author

John G. Miller is the founder of QBQ, Inc., a development company that has worked with hundreds of Fortune 500 and other companies and government and nongovernment organizations internationally. Miller is also the bestselling author of Flipping the Switch: Five Keys to Success at Work and in Life and Outstanding! 47 Ways to Make Your Organization Exceptional. He lives in Denver. Learn more at http://qbq.com.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: What Ever Happened to...

1. A Picture of Personal Accountability
2. Making Better Choices
3. QBQ! The Question Behind the Question
4. Don't Ask "Why?"
5. The Victim
6. "Why Is This Happening to Me?"
7. "Why Do We Have to Go Through All This Change?"
8. "Why Don't They Communicate Better?"
9. Don't Ask "When?"
10. Procrastination: The Friend of Failure
11. "When Will We Get More Tools and Better Systems?"
12. "When Are We Going to Hear Something New?"
13. Don't Ask "Who?"
14. A Poor Sailor Blames the Wind
15. Silos
16. Beat the Ref
17. "Who Dropped the Ball?"
18. Ownership
19. The Foundation of Teamwork
20. Making Accountability Personal: All QBQs Contain an "I"
21. I Can Only Change Me
22. "He Didn't, I Did"
23. "When Will Others Walk Their Talk?"
24. An Integrity Test
25. The Power of One
26. A QBQ Twist
27. Will the Real Role Models Please Stand Up!
28. Practicing Personal Accountability: All QBQs Focus on Action
29. The Risk of Doing Nothing
30. "Thanks for Shopping at the Home Depot!"
31. Leaders at All Levels
32. The Cornerstone of Leadership
33. Accountability and Boundaries
34. A Great List of Lousy Questions
35. The Spirit of the QBQ
36. Wisdom
37. We Buy Too Many Books
38. A Final Picture
39. The Motor of Learning

QBQ FAQs
Getting More OUt of the QBQ

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 57 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(30)

4 Star

(9)

3 Star

(4)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

(11)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 57 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2006

    QBQ The Question Behind the Question: Practicing Personal Accountability in Work and in Life

    This book has some interesting ideas, but in my mind fails to answer the most important question which is why is one worker doing the work of others and not getting credit? The author speaks of examples in which a worker helps out a customer because no one else is helping the customer. The worker is thereby practicing the author's idea of 'what can I do to help in this situation'. HOWEVER, they are not asking why the worker who was supposed to be helping the customer in the first place was not doing their job. It seems grossly unfair to the worker that ends up doing the other person's job. Why does the lazy worker get away with this? Why is the author promoting doing someone else's work. Maybe some people feel good about themselves when they help a customer who isn't getting attention from the worker who is supposed to be helping them, but I think most people would feel annoyed at the worker, irritated with management, and stressed out if the worker simply wasn't doing their job without a good reason. I think this book has a lot of problems, but that they are easily over-looked by the author's upbeat attitude of accomplishing everything.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2006

    QBQ The Question Behind the Question: Practicing Personal Accountability in Work and in Life

    This is a simple-minded book for the simple-minded manager. It is perhaps the most frustrating and definitely the worst book I've ever read. This book would receive an A+ from a communist, but in this capitalist society, it deserves an F. The notion that a worker should do someone else's job when that person is failing to do it themselves for reasons that are never told to us is ludicrous. This author is succeeding only by appealing to management in corporate America - management that wants a quick fix to unhappy employees within their company, but doesn't want to actually figure out the root of the problem with their company. Terrible ideas-- terrible book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2011

    Waste of time

    I read this book in an hour and a half. I was not impressed. There was never a moment in the book or a writing that made me think about something it was saying. I feel that this is a book that maybe some corporate people would give to an employee who was upset they weren't getting help from other employees and just wanted to shut them up. There was no research done by the writer when he wrote the book due to there not being any references from other writings. It was simply written by opinion.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2007

    An excellent book on personal accountability

    This book makes one accountable for oneself. An easy read, and highly recommended for anyone who wants to change themselves and stop blaming others for their problems. Especially appropriate in the professional environment.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2007

    Do not waste your time or money.

    This is one of the worst books I have ever read. This book suggest that if we just went around fixing all the problems we face but never address why or how these problems are arising in the first place we would all be much more satisfied at our job and in our personal life. I would not want to work for or have relationships with people who did not expect me and others to strive to do our best and where mature confrontation and problem solving was discouraged. The problem with today's society is the thought you should always be positive. Good work and the people who work hard should be praised and those who continue to not produce need to be reprimanded. Dead weight is and will always be dead weight no matter how postive your outlook is. I hope I live a long life but I will always regret the 60 minutes I lost by reading this.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2006

    simple but very good

    Very simple but positive method to improving your outlook and approach to people which in turn will change their approach to you. A must for managers and boses.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2006

    Unimpressed

    The questions in this book are elementary, and did not give me any new insights. I much prefer the optimal questions in Optimal Thinking.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2005

    Great book

    These questions are excellent to explore your level of personal responsibility. You won't be let down. To optimize business and personal decisions, I recommend Optimal Thinking: How to Be Your Best Self.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 22, 2014

    The Question Behind the Question tackles an issue that is too of

    The Question Behind the Question tackles an issue that is too often ignored in many workplaces. Most employees will advocate for accountability, but, only if it applies to other people. This book requires you to look introspectively to identify how you can change the culture of your organization by ceasing to seek to pass blame. A simple concept that can have dramatic results!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2013

    This was a mandatory read for the managers of the company for wh

    This was a mandatory read for the managers of the company for which I am employed.  The only problem is that the theory of personal responsibility was morphed by the executives to be that we should do what we wish to make things "better", What is holding us back? In the meantime, to Hell with the Laws and regulations that have developed from unfair practices in this country.  Now, if someone wants to do what they want to do, the Mantra is well "QBQ".  I am not sure that this is what the author intended, but is the reality of what is happening in Corporate America when the message is to do whatever you wish if you think it will make life better.  After all, What's holding you back??

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2012

    My manager asked my entire department to read this. If he was tr

    My manager asked my entire department to read this. If he was trying to answer the question "How can I make sure my department knows that I think they are a whiny, unimpressive group of people?", he found it. We have all read it and the discussions we have had about it in front of him are grossly different than the discussions we've had amongst ourselves. To us, he has made it clear how he feels about us by asking us to read this book, so we certainly no longer have enough faith in him to be candid in our discussions with him. This book had definitely done more harm than good for this corporate group. Be careful with this book, it can be pretty insulting.

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  • Posted June 17, 2012

    Great Book!

    Talk about a thought provoking book. It is a quick read and I will have to read it several times as I enjoyed it so much the first time. Enjoy!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2012

    A worthwile read.

    I highly recommend this book looking to build a stronger team or fix a fragmented one. This is a fairly quick read at 115 pages.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2012

    A must read for any business person!

    All leaders and employees must read!

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  • Posted March 31, 2011

    A book for Professionals

    The book was good, however, most of the books teachings can be easily learned through life experience and common sense. There were great stories behind Mr. Millers theories. However, the book was very thin, and there was little elaboration. This is a book for professionals, team leaders and businesswomen and businessmen alike.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2007

    a reviewer

    Author John G. Miller admonishes people to quit whining! Miller advocates personal accountability, an almost novel concept in today's litigious world of finger pointing, excuse making and not-my-fault thinking. Instead of asking, 'Why is this happening to me?' he says to ask, 'What can I do to improve my situation?' Miller calls this the 'QBQ, the Question Behind the Question.' When you ask such questions you become less of a victim, and put yourself more in control, empowered to improve your life and contribute to the success of your organization. Miller entertains and explains by using examples and uplifting stories culled from his personal experience. His easy-to-grasp theory is fairly one-dimensional and in the banquet of self-help books, it is more of an appetizer than an entrée. Yet, if you want a quick bite of applicable self-improvement advice and don't mind a bit of a scolding, we recommend this tasty treat.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2006

    Simply Amazing! A Must Read

    QBQ! by John Miller is simply amazing. This little book delivers in a BIG way! I don't have a lot of time to study so the quick read format was perfect for me. QBQ strips away all the excuses and reminds us again where it is the buck is supposed to stop. If you're looking for an instruction manaual for leaders, here it is. People don't need tricks, methods, myths or secrets...what they really need is a tool that helps them step up to the plate and be accountable for their own results. Now I know why Dave Ramsey recommends this to all his listeners......it works. Bravo for QBQ!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2006

    Absolutely the best on accountability!

    QBQ! is perfect for anyone who wants to rid themselves and their firm of fingerpointing, whining, and procrastiantion. Wow, great stories and it truly teaches a method which takes it out of the 'self-help' genre and puts it into the practical tools category! Fun, light - but with a life changing message. 6 stars!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2006

    Personal Accountability at it's Best

    This was by far the best book I ever read on Personal Accountability! Often books speak to the need of accountability, however, John Miller actually teaches one how to be accountable. I feel society influences us in many areas of life. One way is: it's okay to make a mistake as long as there is someone or something to blame. Mr. Miller eliminates blame by helping people ask better questions of themself. It also eliminates complaining and procrastination while building strong relationships. This book is good for both your professional and personal life. So powerful and only a one-hour read. I highly recommend QBQ!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2006

    A book for everyone who is important to you

    I can summarize QBQ in 4 words¿it changed my life! I¿ve always been upbeat and resilient, but this book causes me to see even more what can be rather what cannot so I don¿t open my mouth before the positive picture is in my head. The concept of the asking yourself questions to get better answers¿¿The Question Behind the Question¿ (thus the title of the book) is deceptively simple, straight-forward and easy to use. QBQs move you toward better answers to the problems you face. When you start asking yourself ¿What can I do to make a difference in my corner of the world?¿ or ¿How can I help?¿ the answers provide insights not gotten when you simply sit and ponder problems. In the end, QBQ is not simply about personal accountability. It¿s about changing the way each of us view the world and changing how we communicate with others who are important in our lives. It¿s about finding out what others REALLY want and doing the little extra things that make such a big difference, whether we are dealing with our customers, coworkers or our family. The result¿for me, at least and for others whom I¿ve shared this little book with¿greater energy and more positive attitudes because of QBQ¿s positive problem-solving approach.

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