JUST199WORDS: Work Is Not a Party, But …

KennaBug playing final

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 …

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The Cafeteria COO: How to Lead

“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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The 13 Costs of Blame


Organizations that don’t eliminate blame right now are burning money!

That’s my conclusion from working with a bunch of 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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JUST199WORDS: Millennials Get the Job Done

Inspired by last week’s Ansel @ Alamo piece, Dan of Hubbard Family Swim shares this story about two Millennials, Erin and Erin: John, I witnessed a QBQ! moment at our swim school …  Our child check-in system—an important tool that enables us to deliver swim lessons in a safe, non-chaotic environment—sometimes fails due to internet or software…

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After the Holiday Weekend: A Perspective on #PERSPECTIVE

The day after a three-day weekend can be tough. It’s easy to feel, you know, not real peppy.

Possibly I’m not peppy because I’m pooped.

Did you build a deck, cut down trees, plant rose bushes, clean your house top to bottom, entertain? If so, nothing wrong with being tired today.

But maybe the lack of pep is really those I-don’t-love-what-I-do blues. Been there—in a past life. 

Now I do love what I do—speaking, training, selling, helping people—but I can still feel that, Ugh, not sure I can get going on this day after a long weekend! feeling.

But then I remember:


I wrote this blog on PERSPECTIVE when beautiful Becca “Boo” was born to daughter, Kristin, in September 2012. We sure were scared there for a few days, but she’s perfect. If you missed it or need some PERSPECTIVE again, read it here.

PERSPECTIVE is a critical thing, and often needed the morning after a holiday weekend. So here’s a dose … for me:

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Ansel @ Alamo: Accountability in Action

Michael Pemberton is president of UNIQUE Paving Materials. UNIQUE employs 40+ people and has been adding value to our economy since I was a one-year-old. That’s 55 years!

Like others who carry his title, Mike has spent a night or two worrying about the success or failure of the organization. He knows that if UNIQUE goes under, not only would it be a disservice to its paying customers, but more than 40 people would be unable to feed their kids, pay their bills, and build their life savings.

So when a guy like Mike sends us a story about serving customers that’s meaningful to him, we think it can be meaningful to all. Enjoy!

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JUST99WORDS: #1 Reason to Not Train

This training inquiry made me chuckle—and wince: “We have 200 employees, but just one who needs QBQ! training.” One person blames, complains, procrastinates, plays victim, and has become entitled. One individual lacks accountability. One employee is the problem. Funny and sad—but not new … In 1989 an executive bought management training from me for thirty…

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JUST99WORDS: “Mom, shave my head?”

June 1973. Long hair is trendy. At 15, I’m hot (the sweaty kind). “Mom, shave my head?” She did. Friends laughed. Neighbors pointed. Uncle Bob: “Well, this proves that the hair makes the man.” Ouch. But, I was cool (lower temp kind).  And, I must say, it felt outstanding to stand out—by not conforming.  Which, 40…

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Man in Hammock Loves QBQ!

People sometimes ask, “Why did you write the QBQ! book, John, and where’d you get the material for it?”

Well, here’s where I got it:


I sold leadership/management training for a decade, sitting in 10,000 hours of workshops with managers and frontline folks. Good people. 

Good people who asked bad questions, such as:

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JUST99WORDS: Know Any Controlling People?

QBQ! reader: My friend quit his job because his supervisor was so controlling. Several more employees left, too. The supervisor’s still there. Controlling people—at work and home—don’t know the damage they cause … Emotional connections are severed. Hurts are hardened. Colleagues, friends, siblings, and offspring drift away. Relationships die. Sad. Solution: emotional maturity. Mature people—accountable people—ask…

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