The Accountable Person’s Bill of 39 Rights

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If you know what we do here at QBQ, Inc., it’s no surprise to you that we think about PERSONAL ACCOUNTABILITY—a lot.

What does personal accountability mean? How is it manifested in a person’s life? What does practicing it do for us? What is the “why” behind living accountably? How do we make it a core value inside organizations?

All good questions, along with this one:

If John G. Miller was to make a public ‘declaration of accountability’—what would it look like?

So began the creation of a list—a “bill of rights,” if you will—for me. Not for you. However, as you peruse them, if you believe any are worth incorporating into your life, go right ahead!

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9 Shortcuts That Take Us Nowhere

peach

I used a sharp-beyond-belief CutCo brand pearl-handle serrated knife to bang on and loosen the top of a jar of canned peaches. I removed the lid, thinking Mmm … delicious! That’s when I made a really big mistake.

Not because I’m dumb. I’m actually an Ivy League grad, though I admit to having majored in low B’s.

Not because I’m lazy. I may be slowing down at 57, but I’m no sloth.

Not because I historically have made a ton of mistakes. My life “track record” isn’t all that bad.

Actually, I committed this grievous error because I fell into an all-too-human trap:

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Printers Are Disposable. Marriages Are Not!

printer

Way back in the 1990s, someone said to me, “If your home office printer isn’t working, just throw it out and go buy another. Nobody fixes them anymore.”

Ain’t that the truth? I buy a “4-in-1″ printer for about $100 and when it stops working, into the dumpster (or recycling) it goes!

Too bad, actually, to waste all those plastic parts and metal pieces. But, it’s the “way of the world.”

Sadly, the world seems to view marriages as home office printers. 

Not working? Get a new one! Too hard to deal with? Dump it! Not running smoothly? Upgrade!

Recently, our oldest offspring, Kristin, my co-speaker at QBQ, Inc. and a mom of three—posted a 2005 wedding photo on her 10th wedding anniversary.

I immediately left this comment:

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Blame: The Spreadable Sin

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So often people say, “There’s plenty of blame to go around!”—a favorite phrase of the media. It seems to be our human nature to immediately ask Whodunnit?! when something happens that was unplanned, disappointing, or embarrassing.

When it all goes wrong—even if we know in our heart that what we did was stupid—it’s tempting to spread the blame around saying, “Well, yeah, I did do that, but, you see, that person over there made me do it!”

Or this: “I accept 65% of the blame, but he/she is 35% responsible, too!”

In the ’70s, a common phrase that adorned car bumpers was this:

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Accountability and Legacy: 5 Questions to Ask

Wake pic

Legacy.

A medium-sized word with a very big meaning—and a tad too heavy for me. I prefer “trail of impact.”

Like a ship at sea, we all leave an impact in our wake as we interact with colleagues, friends, neighbors, customers, vendors, and family. The key question is this:

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For Outstanding Organizations, The Customer Is Never a Burden

Make me Feel Important

The King Soopers grocery store recruiting manager asked, “So, Jazzy, what does good customer service look like to you?”

With 17 years of life under her belt, Jazzy responded:

“Good customer service is being outgoing, friendly, and approachable; making customers feel like they’re your #1 priority and never a burden.”

“Um, okay, well, so … when can you start?”

When Miller Child #6—Jazzy Joy—shared this exchange with Karen and me, we beamed. “Good for you, Jazz!” we said in stereo.

And at that moment, my mind went back 24 hours …

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The 6 Words of Personal Accountability

“Black and white” Defined:

Involving one idea that is clearly right and another that is clearly wrong, so it is not difficult to make a moral decision. (Source: MacMillan Dictionary)

black-white image

I posted a question on our QBQ! Facebook page and received some surprising responses—at least to me.

The question:

In your opinion, are employees responsible for the organization’s profit or is profit a management job?

The answers:

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Courtesy, Rudeness, Meetings, and Teamwork

Readers, can you help us solve a problem???

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I received this email from Betty:

“John, the 10 questions for better communication in your blog titled Why don’t THEY communicate better? is Just More Blame really helped me. They also made me reflect on a communication problem we’re having: People who interrupt. Two team members in our department frequently interrupt colleagues during meetings, including the director, who is our boss.”

After reading the rest of Betty’s email (below), essentially describing four scenarios, I couldn’t resist titling them. So the headings are mine, while the descriptions are hers.

Let’s continue with her email:

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“Why don’t THEY communicate better?” is Just More Blame

IMG_4549I bet the maker of this Rice Lake, Minnesota sign was not really saying, “Enjoy your visit to our Port-a-John in the woods!”

But that’s what the sign said to me when I read it.

That doesn’t make me dumb. Nor does it make the sign’s author stupid.

We simply were not communicating.

Communication—it’s a problem … everywhere.

This scene has played out many times in my 29 years of training:

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1,000,000 Chances to Practice Personal Accountability

muffin

David, an AutoTrader executive, made a very cool statement.

After reading QBQ!, attending a QBQ! keynote at a national conference, and implementing the QBQ! training system with his team—in other words, after he’d been exposed to our message of Personal Accountability in several ways—he said:

“John, QBQ! brings english muffins to mind.”

Chuckling, I responded, “Oh, wow, David, that’s a new one. In what way?”

“Well, the more I immerse myself in the material, the more I find there’s not a ‘nook and cranny’ in my life where I cannot apply QBQ!

Like melted butter on a warm english muffin, Personal Accountability seeps into every area of my life—if I let it. If “nooks and crannies” represent the roles we play and moments we experience in a lifetime, there just might be 1,000,000 chances to practice Personal Accountability.

My list, like yours, begins with my obvious roles:

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