Personal Accountability: Needed Then—and Now

Trust me on this: The old stuff is the good stuff.

QBQ! History

It was 1995 when the cover of this VHS tape was produced. My first “speaker demo video” ever. No laughing, please! Mustaches were in.

That year, I decided to go out QBQ, personal accountability, accountability, trainingand speak on personal accountability. I’d been selling and implementing leadership and sales training for a decade and had conducted more than ten thousand hours of training with clients. This is where I began to notice that people—including me—tend to ask lousy questions beginning with “Why” “When” and “Who” that not only solve no problems but lead us into victim thinking, procrastination, and blame. Bad stuff.

The Original QBQ! Story

Then one Monday morning Jim, a client, phoned and asked to meet. He’d lost his job as vice president of human resources for a telecommunications firm. Over lunch, he shared that while he was on vacation, three of his five-person staff held a meeting with the CEO to complain about how Jim was running the department. When he returned to work that day, the CEO called him in and, with little to no discussion, fired him.

Feeling protective of a guy I liked, I said, “But, Jim, the question is, why didn’t he give you a chance to explain—you know, to defend yourself?” Nodding in solemn and total agreement, he said, “Yes, John, that’s the question.” An hour later …

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Personal Accountability: 20 Questions To Determine If It’s Really a Core Value

Our mission at QBQ, Inc. is Making Personal Accountability a Core Value, so this is our question for you:

Is personal accountability a core and guiding value in your world?

Let’s do a quick “needs assessment” for our workplace and ourselves. We’ll begin with the individual—meaning … me. Here we go!

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Quiz #1: The Individual

Ten introspective questions:

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Flip the Switch: Unleash the POWER of Personal Accountability

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Over the past week as The QBQ! Workbook, the 5th edition of QBQ!, and Raising Accountable Kids all launched, Kristin and I did a bunch of radio interviews.

(All found here: QBQ.com/News)

One interviewer asked a very astute question. He said, “So, isn’t it true, John, that when we don’t engage in personal accountability, we give away our personal power?”

I said, “Bob, you couldn’t be more on target.” Then I went off on a two-minute “radio rant.”

Using the word POWER as an acrostic, let me communicate the POWER of the QBQ! book and its message of PERSONAL ACCOUNTABILITY.

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15 Years Later: The Enduring Power of Personal Accountability

October 18, 2016: Everything Is New At QBQ! Full Display here.

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Launch Day: Then and Now

On a sunny Colorado April day in 2001, the Millers posed for some pics of each of us holding the brand new QBQ! book. I’d just picked them up myself at the printer in Boulder. Self-published author!

My favorite image is little 2-year-old Tasha (lower pic, in Kristin’s arms)—now a senior in high school—pushing the book to the sky! So proud, I’m sure.

And then 3-year-old Jazzy—now in college—hiding behind her book down in front!

Fun stuff.

Little did we know that fine day that 15 years later we’d be able to hold up another version of the QBQ! book—the fifth one.

In the image below (left to right) you can see the five editions:

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  1. That original 2001 smallest hardcover, made in Boulder.
  2. The 2002 paperback buyers still ask for now and then.
  3. The first edition by Penguin in NYC—returned to hardcover in 2004
  4. The rewritten and improved 2012 version by Penguin/Putnam.
  5. The best edition—rewritten again with a fresh look—hot off the PenguinRandomHouse press on Oct 18, 2016!

Can’t do a family photo with #5, though, since so many Miller kids have grown up and moved away, becoming parents themselves. Rounding everyone up isn’t an option.

Just. Too. Much. Change.

But one thing that has not changed and never will is this:

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PERSONAL ACCOUNTABILITY: Be a Jerk Today!

Order THE QBQ! WORKBOOK on Personal Accountability and win FREE stuff!

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Yesterday, I was “The Jerk.”

Do you recall the 1979 Steve Martin movie “The Jerk” where he, as Navin Johnson, jumped up and down excitedly exclaiming, “The new phone book’s here! The new phone book’s here!”

He was soooo thrilled! He was in the new phonebook!

A classic movie moment here. (only 41 seconds)

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Personal Accountability: Doing Beats Thinking

I’ve been to a bunch of corporate conferences in my 20 years of keynote speaking on “Personal Accountability and the QBQ!” Usually, I can be found standing in the back of the ballroom waiting to present.

So I’ve heard lots of executives talk. Mostly, it’s industry and company specific info and technical in nature. READ: Dry and dull.

Or it is “‘rah rah’ you can succeed!!!” stuff. READ: Waste of time.

But once in a while, while admittedly half-listening, an alarm goes off in my brain.

Like yesterday.

I was waiting to deliver my accountability message to 600 Walmart managers in Arkansas when one of the execs quoted the CEO of Walmart U.S.—Greg Foran—who has said:

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Personal Accountability: Doing My Job

Do-you-job2I asked our twentysomething daughter, Molly, who has served as captain of soccer and basketball teams, “Molly, in your opinion, what makes an effective team?” I was honestly just curious what she’d say; it wasn’t like I was doing book research! But I loved her answer: “Everyone taking care of their own stuff, Dad. Everybody working hard at doing their job.”

Perfect. So her outstanding thought went into Outstanding! in the “Work!” chapter.

Can you imagine responding to Incorrect Questions (“IQ” vs. “QBQ” tutorial) with Molly’s simple message? A message that is succinctly stated in the photo above, taken by her thirtysomething sister, Kristin, when in New Orleans to speak on QBQ!

These three words may not seem very “politically correct” to you; maybe they even seem harsh, cold, and callous. But let me paint a picture that might help:

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Personal Accountability: My 5 Anti-Victim Thinking Commitments

“Victim thinking” happens, and it looks a lot like this:

  • I’m a victim because my friends don’t understand me.
  • I’m a victim because my spouse doesn’t help out around the house.
  • I’m a victim because raising great kids is really hard work.
  • I’m a victim because I didn’t get a raise, promotion, or enough training.
  • I’m a victim because the referee made a bad call.
  • I’m a victim because someone said something that I decided is offensive.
  • I’m a victim because others make more money than I do.
  • I’m a victim because my teacher gave me a bad grade.

And this—victim thinking taken one step further:

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Is Personal Accountability On YOUR Radar?

Radar

I lunched with David, a representative of an outstanding organization. He is one of thousands of field reps with the title of “coach” and he’s quite high up—in the field.

He had read the QBQ! book and told me its message of PERSONAL ACCOUNTABILITY is perfect for their world.

This fast-growth and dynamic company sells products like Shakeology meal-replacement drink and Insanity, P90X, and TurboJam workout DVDs.

Excellent stuff!

Coaches such as David help customers lead healthier lives through those products, as well as Facebook exercise “challenge groups” and personal consultation. They also support their “downline” recruits in achieving financial freedom.

In our time together, David said, “We need to get some QBQ! books to the execs at the headquarters!”

So I shipped ‘em out. 

Meanwhile, I talked with three other field coaches. Their comments: 

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