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QBQ! The Question Behind the Question: Practicing Personal Accountability at Work and in Life [Hardcover]

John G. Miller
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Sept. 13 2004
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.

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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Product Description

From Amazon

QBQ! by John G. Miller is a motivational primer aimed at purging the "blame, complaining, and procrastination" from the workplace. Miller believes that one of the hallmarks of today's business culture is a lack of personal accountability; he prescribes the cure in this series of short stories and personal observations drawn from his years of experience running his organizational development firm. His main point is that positive change begins with individuals changing themselves: "Instead of asking, 'When will others walk their talk?' let's walk our talk first." The result is choppy (39 chapters in 115 pages), and at times Miller's advice boils down to truism and cliché. Nevertheless, managers whose workplaces demand remedial, straightforward advice should find a useful tool here. --Harry C. Edwards --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From 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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
It was a beautiful day in downtown Minneapolis when I stopped into a Rock Bottom restaurant for a quick lunch. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars QBQ! continues to work July 13 2004
By Dick T.
As a district mgr in a retail firm, I find it necessary to stay on top of my personal accountability game. It's easy - as John Miller writes in QBQ! - to slip into blame and victim thinking. We have big goals and quotas and we all want to win, but it's easy to ask the worng questions like "When will others carry their weight?" and "Why can't corporate support us more?" But then I work to create what Miller calls QBQs - questions that help me eliminate the blame and complaining. I begin to ask "What can I do?" and "How can I contribute?" and it's amazing how fast I am refocused. We are using the QBQ! training program with all our managers along with the book, and this whole concept of accountability is taking root. Our culture is changing and as we gear up for the end-of-year, it's apparent that people are asking QBQs and we will have better results. I know I will. Miller's book is a fast read, practical and humorous - I recommend it to any person or company wanting to really take personal accountability seriously.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Book That Changed My Life Jan. 7 2004
By A Customer
I have read a number of books which had tremendous impact on my life. Books like 'Many Lives,Many Masters', 'The Seat Of The Soul', and the biography on Colin Powell and Nelson Mandela have set me on a spiritual path, searching for my purpose in life. I had little clarity as far as my professional career was concerned, until I read QBQ. Little did I know, my spiritual growth is linked to my professional development, if they are not parallel to each other.
I truly believe John Miller was referring to me as he wrote QBQ for I was the procrascinator, the complainer, the person suffering from 'victimits', and on the way to be overcome by stress/ulcer. Having read QBQ (easily read in just one night) and believing in the message (because it is common sense!!!), I have found myself not only practicing personal accountability but influencing my colleagues as well as my senior managers to experience reading this extraordinary book. Who would ever believe this? Not I for I am my biggest critic. At times I wonder who am I, and who am I becoming. I cant wait to see who will I be.
I praise John Miller for his dynamic and self awareness revelation. I thank John Miller for his inspiration in the QBQ, which is bringing me closer to my purpose in life. I truly believe that personal accountability is the anchor to humility, the cornerstone of Leadership in business and in our personal life. It is the foundation of teamwork and diversity. It defines the philosophy of life and leadership, and sets apart survivors from innovators in a forever increasing global economy.
I know now I want to be an innovator in my personal life and professional career. Also I am looking forward to reading QBQ!2 Unleashing the Power of Personal Accountability.
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1.0 out of 5 stars No profound insight here ! Nov. 14 2003
First I want to give credit where credit is due. There is truth in this book in that many people look to place the blame for their unhappiness, inadequacies and feelings of helplessness on other people or circumstances supposedly beyond their control. The real truth is that we only control ourselves and not perfectly at that. Further, we only have the ability to influence, not control others. Having said this, the beneficial part of this book can be summed up in the following statement. If we learn in each situation not to try to find whom or what to blame, since we have no control over others, but rather how we can take control of the situation and resolve it ourselves, we will greatly reduce the feeling of helplessness we experience. More simply stated learn to ask in each situation "What steps must I take to resolve this?" By doing this you take charge of your life putting yourself back in control. Also notable is the fact that chapter 36 "Wisdom" is the shortest chapter in the book. Chapter 37 "We Buy Too Many Books" applies to this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars simple message, powerful results Oct. 22 2003
Every day we are faced with hundreds of choices. Many of them are so routine and seemingly insignificant that we don't think twice about them. Ultimately, where we are and where we end up in our life is the result of each and every one of those choices. If you aren't happy with where you are right now, start looking at the choices you make. Want to start making better choices for your life? Start asking better questions.
For years in my life, without realizing it, I had been asking questions that wrongly deflected responsibility from me to my family, friends and associates. Not only was that punishing them, it kept me from growing and becoming the husband, father and friend I wanted to be. QBQ helped me to "reframe" different situations and start asking questions that would yield positive solutions rather than dwell on problems.
With a healthy dose of humor, Miller shows us in thirty nine bite-size chapters how to accept responsibility for our own choices, actions and attitude. QBQ will show you how to approach your daily life situations with better questions. Better questions will yield better answers. Better answers will yield better long-term results.
Larry Hehn, Author of Get the Prize: Nine Keys for a Life of Victory
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By Scott
As a supervisor in the Addictions and Criminal Justice Field, I often find staff imbued with cynicism and negativity. These fields have been marked by significant changes in the past decade.
Complaints about the lack of resources, changing relationships, new technology abound.
Historically it has been easy for me to join in with the mob and focus on how awful and unfair things are.
As a counselor I know how hard it is for people to change their thinking patterns - and even though I know how to help others change their thinking patterns, I have often had trouble myself challenging my "thinking errors."
Then I read John's book. And it is amazing. John gets to the root of the issue not by asking the reader to analyze their pattern or the roots of their issue but by having the reader shift their behavior - shift your behavior by focusing on the words - specifically the questions - you ask.
After my second - or maybe third read - I have a heightened sense of the "lousy questions" that pepper conversations, discussions and negotiations with colleagues. (Its almost like, unconsciously people want to be a victim).
This quick read contains so much grist for thought - each time I read it I recognize more ways to step up to the plate an practice personal accountability.
Get this book - read it a couple of times and see for yourself!
Thanks John!
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Amazing lifting read
Really surprised by this little book. It has definitely got me rethinking any negativity in my workplace and trying to succeed within my box outright.
Published 5 months ago by Hugh Gough
3.0 out of 5 stars okay
book was easy to read, took about an hour-2 hours to finish. I believe that it is an essential skill for all professional occupations to acquire.
Published 9 months ago by Toni
4.0 out of 5 stars Plays one note, and plays it strong
Those looking for nuance or a comprehensive study must look elsewhere. This is a one note song about the need for personal accountability. Which isn't actually a bad thing. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Rodge
4.0 out of 5 stars A great teaching book
Enjoyed it so much we used it as a topic in a two day management seminar in our company and it was well recived by all attending.
Published 21 months ago by Larry Holmes
4.0 out of 5 stars Living mindfully.
Normally, I have a fair amount to say after reading a book. In the case of this one, not so much. Mostly because it's stuff I've long believed, lived, espoused. Read more
Published on May 25 2010 by Schmadrian
1.0 out of 5 stars The Question behind the Question is.. Why buy this book?
After reading this book, and then going on Amazon and seeing the ridiculous amount of prise this book has received has forced me to review "What I can do? Read more
Published on March 10 2007 by IB Analyst
2.0 out of 5 stars Stop Whining and start working
For everyone forced by management to read this book and/or take the class I will summarize it for you: Quit you're whining and accept the fact that your company is the way it is,... Read more
Published on July 13 2004 by "whosthemaniam"
5.0 out of 5 stars QBQ! does work!
I am in the real estate/investment business and when I read QBQ! it changed completely for the better the way I think. Read more
Published on July 6 2004 by F. Bonzo
5.0 out of 5 stars Just a great tool!
QBQ! is the most practical book out there on accountability and the only one on PERSONAL accountability. Read more
Published on June 18 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding
A couple of months ago I ordered 24 QBQ!s for our bank. Our managers have sooooo enjoyed this book and have taken it back to their teams and are sharing it with them. Read more
Published on June 7 2004 by Margaret Wheeler
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