“I can sum up all our problems in a few words: ‘silos and butt-covering.’”
A good author doesn’t date stories or quotes in his books because doing so gives the reader or audience member a built-in objection. They might think, Hmm, old. Must not be relevant anymore.
In this case, though, knowing that an executive made the statement above to me in the mid 1990’s might actually help. You might think, Huh, I see nothing has changed!
That is, you could think that if you work for an organization …
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Since we all experience the secondary emotion of anger, it’s important for our emotional health and overall well-being to know the primary sources of anger.
There are three sources of anger—plus one.
Having written several books and training guides, I am fascinated—sometimes frustrated—by typos.
I’ve wanted to scream, HOW DID I MISS THAT!?!? I even wrote a piece about one critical typo here.
So, in search of typo knowledge, I found a piece by Marianne Worley titled, The Truth About Typos and Why You Keep Missing Them.
When I read her insight below, I thought … well, I’ll tell you what I thought after you read her comment:
I just finished a novel where a rookie cop was the heroine. Throughout the book, as scary people tried to do her harm, she kept herself going by repeating a phrase she’d learned as a child:
No medals for quitters!
Quitter. Ouch. Who wants to be called one of … those!? Doesn’t “quitter” just drip with negativity?
Lazy! Unreliable! Untrustworthy! Bum! Sloth!
Are these people bums and sloths?
As lunch ended, the HR executive of a well-known, Denver-based “fast casual” restaurant chain looked me dead in the eye and said, “John, I promise to read QBQ! and call you in two weeks.”
Didn’t read the book, or make the call.
So I followed up. It’s what salespeople do—and I’ve done it since 1986.
During the process of hiring me to speak at his banking institution’s August event in Minneapolis, my client shared this:
“John, I know your QBQ! message of personal accountability is perfect for our organization because so much comes down to one’s personal brand.”
When I asked Pat (an executive who saw me speak in 2012) to expand, he offered this scenario:
I learned this in my Cornell psychology class: A child’s play is her work.
So 11-month-old granddaughter, McKenna, is hard at work above.
Curious, when you are at work, do you “play”?
Outstanding people have careers not “jobs” because they find joy in work. They feel happiness as they toil. They don’t …
“Hello, how are ‘ya?”
“Good to see you!”
“Hey, it’s been a while.”
That’s how lunch went in the dining establishment that was so fancy, so ritzy, that even the napkins were flecked with gold.
As I dined with the top officer of a blue chip insurance firm you would surely know by name (um, if you’re curious, they’re “on your side”), it seemed everyone around us knew him.
We were chatting about the “Personal Accountability and the QBQ!” presentation I’d just completed, and where to take the message of the QBQ! book next inside the organization.
When it was time to leave, we stood, turned toward the front door, stepped slightly to the right, and ….
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Organizations that don’t eliminate blame are burning money.
That’s my conclusion from working with more than 1,000 organizations since 1986. In fact, The Question Behind the Question (QBQ!)—a tool for practicing PERSONAL ACCOUNTABILITY—was born as an antidote to blame. Only when individuals engage in accountability, responsibility, and on-the-job ownership will the very real dragons of finger-pointing, culprit-seeking, and blame be slain.
This is when organizations become … outstanding.
But why bother? Does it really matter, this blame thing?
Well, you decide after exploring our itemized list titled …
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I’ve been asked:
“What if my organization’s culture doesn’t embrace personal accountability?”
“What if my supervisor won’t use QBQ!?” (This one actually became an FAQ in the newly rewritten QBQ! book!)
“What if the people I work and live with point fingers and blame?”
“What if our entire society becomes engulfed in entitlement thinking?!?”
Okay, I haven’t been asked that last one exactly—but that doesn’t mean the concern isn’t real for many.
Anyway, the answer to each of these questions is this: