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:

Continue Reading

Blame: The Spreadable Sin

no_more_excuses_posters-rfce8dec611e145f2821101b863684f0c_wvk_8byvr_512

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:

Continue Reading

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:

Continue Reading

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 …

Continue Reading

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:

Continue Reading

Courtesy, Rudeness, Meetings, and Teamwork

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

Int3

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:

Continue Reading

“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:

Continue Reading

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:

Continue Reading

6 Costs of a Dangerous Way of Thinking

Nucla Sunset

Have you heard this?

“If you don’t like the weather, just wait five minutes!”

Sorry to offend those who think their weather is “all that,” but Karen and I have lived in Montana, Missouri, Minnesota, and Colorado since 1980, and in each locale that claim has been made.

Not sure why people think their weather is unique. Maybe it’s a result of growing up in one region of the country and never moving from there. I don’t know.

It’s not a bad thing to say, of course. It’s just … “uninformed.” (Yes, I know, that will offend some. Sorry!)

But there is another uninformed statement people make that is a bad thing to say. I’ve heard it in the computer industry, oil and gas field, funeral home business, faith-based world, and the restaurant market. It’s this:

Continue Reading

Lousy Customer Service Starts At The Top

O book

Silly me.

Every time I think the corporate world has a handle on this “customer service” thing, I hear an anecdote like the one below.

When we wrote Outstanding!—which Dave Ramsey endorsed because he knows how critical it is to not be mediocre—we included at least five chapters that today’s story could have fit into:

Never Forget Who Pays the Bills

Put People Before Policies

Management Sets the Cultural Tone

Keep “The Mission” Top of Mind

Get Actions in Line with Values

But, since Outstanding! is already written, we’ll use it in this QBQ! QuickNote.

In response to our Outstanding Customer Service: Seize the Moment! blog published recently, Paul sent us his story …

Continue Reading