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QBQ! The Question Behind the Question: Practicing Personal Accountability at Work and in Life Hardcover – Sep 9 2004

4.4 out of 5 stars 76 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: TarcherPerigee; 1 edition (Sept. 9 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399152334
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399152337
  • Product Dimensions: 14.6 x 1.5 x 21.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 322 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 76 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #19,443 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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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.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
This book is founded on the idea of personal accountability. Unfortunately, the random collection of parables and stories does little to advance the premise. Ideas are presented in a one-dimentional fashion deviod of any real depth of analysis and only a very few tools.
The book is packaged in a palatable feel-good package which will make it ripe for the plucking for corporate management looking for the next "Who moved my cheese" or "Emotional Intellegence."
Bottom line - the book is simple common sence. The message? Stop playing the complain and blame game, take responsibility for your actions, make your own choices, and get on with your life.
I have to belive that the reviewers who are rating this as "the best read ever" have a woefully small library. I do think that the premise of the book is very valid, however the book is more fluff than substance.
If you are interested in the personal actions that help with following a path of personal accountability, I suggest you look at the ideas behind Albert Ellis's Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) which gives you a working model of how to apply the ideas of personal accountability to your own thinking.
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By A Customer on Aug. 1 2002
Format: Paperback
In The Question Behind the Question: Practicing Personal Accountability in Business and in Life, John G. Miller presents an alternative way to look at our problems (or challenges) and encourages us to ask different, but better questions about them. In doing so, our efforts should have better results, our lives should be more rewarding, and others (e.g., customers, superiors, coworkers, subordinates, and family) should win as well. A wide body of research does concur with Miller, in that how we frame our problems and how we talk about them affects our well-being and our level of accomplishment.
Miller starts off by illustrating incorrect questions (IQ's). IQ's focus on things or people outside or external to us. Some examples might be "When will he learn to manage better?", "Why can't they see my point-of-view?", "Why can't they hire better workers?". IQ's tend to sap our energy and deflate our spirit.
IQ's do, however, seem to come naturally, perhaps as a result of human nature. Miller often asks groups of people what's the one thing they would like to change in their organizations. The answers always follow the external P's: that is, change the policies, procedures, prices, and other people. "Nobody ever says me." As an example, look at the following questions and see what is the first response that comes to mind.
-A poor subordinate blames the _____.
-A poor executive blames the _____.
-A poor driver blames the _____.
-A poor church member blames the _____.
Although these thoughts or questions may be natural, they lead us into blame, complaining, and procrastination. Miller's solution is to discipline our thoughts and to look behind our initial questions to come up with better questions-or, as he terms it, the question behind the question (QBQ).
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