199 WORDS: The Power In NOT Responding

Recently, a person’s sarcastic, harsh words wounded me. Key people in my life were indignant for me and encouraged me to respond.

I didn’t.

Trust me, I’ve never shied away from “retaliating.” On this day, though, I chose to not be the guy my dad often railed against:

Continue Reading

199 WORDS: What Would YOU Have Said?

I spoke in Ithaca, NY on “Personal Accountability” in Warren Hall to 100 Cornell University students. It was … surreal.

I took classes in Warren, graduating in 1980—and had never been back.

Afterward, student Joseph lamented, “Mr. Miller, it’d be difficult to use your ideas here because of ‘moral dependency’ … .”

Not knowing that phrase, I showed complete confusion, but he continued with a vocabulary 5x mine.

Finally, my old brain needed clarity like lungs need oxygen. I interjected, “Joseph, you’re saying you don’t want to play the victim but friends, peers, and the campus culture say you are a victim?”

Continue Reading

Do You Want To Be Right — or Successful?

Have you stubbed your toe on a chair and in pain yelled, “Who put that stupid chair there?!”

If so, your reaction was due to an innate, intense need to not be responsible. This is typical of the human race: we readily look outside of ourselves for anything or anyone to blame.

It’s a lousy way to live life and makes success in any endeavor elusive.

Why We Blame

We blame because “pain avoidance” is Job One for the human race. We shun mental, physical, and emotional pain. In the feelings realm, negative emotions like shame, embarrassment, frustration, fear, and anger cause us to lash out, point fingers, and deflect responsibility.

Continue Reading

The QBQ! Essence: Serving People

A meaningful moment for us is when a reader of QBQ! The Question Behind the Question applies our message of Personal Accountability in ways we’d not dreamed of when we first penned and published the book—and shares it with us.

This powerful and touching story (and application of our material) comes from a friend and colleague, Renee.

When I emailed her to ask how she was, with grace and humility she responded with this note. I always knew she’s special, but this story confirms it. Enjoy!

Continue Reading

Accountable People Dig Deep — Have You?

WARNING: Content ahead that makes us think. That’s good, since Ben Franklin said, “If it hurts, it instructs.”

That Important Day

It was 1991 when I told Terry, a marital counselor, about my Upstate New York “home of origin” and family system dysfunction. In that first session, after sharing great detail, I confidently (and foolishly) concluded, “But Karen and I left all that behind when we moved to Minnesota in 1980.”

The truth of Terry’s response still stings:

Continue Reading

Diet Coke or Diet Dr. Pepper—It’s All QBQ! Service

Readers of the QBQ! book have sent us many great customer service stories. They do this when they experience a moment that brings them right back to the book’s content, specifically Chapter One titled, “A Picture of Personal Accountability.” This is where Jacob, my server at the Rockbottom Restaurant, sent his manager to grab me a Diet Coke from a nearby grocery store. I was more than delighted!

Oh, you don’t know that story? Well, pick up a QBQ! book today! 😎

Meanwhile, here is the most recent story to come to us. Enjoy!

Continue Reading

Accountability: How Team Toshiba Lives QBQ!

Toshiba Corporation of Mitchell, South Dakota—home of the famous Corn Palace—is a QBQ! organization.

Since 2013, they’ve been inculcating the QBQ! message of Personal Accountability into their culture. They’ve facilitated our training system in-house, had both Kristin and me come speak, studied the books—and truly taken the message to heart.

Vice President of Manufacturing Engineering, Jeff Clark, who has spearheaded the QBQ! training, sent this email:

Continue Reading

When Serving Customers, Who’s It All About?

service, customer service, accountability, outstanding

Our favorite KFC drive-thru failed to give us 3 of 4 large coleslaw sides we’d ordered. Foolishly, my wife and I didn’t check the bag handed to us till we arrived at our daughter’s home 10 miles away for a large Miller family gathering.

When we discovered this, everyone was disappointed. I mean, who doesn’t love KFC coleslaw? The Millers sure do.

Continue Reading