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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JUST99WORDS: “I learned a lot!” You sure?

I love those conflicting two-word phrases called oxymorons … “pretty ugly” “legal brief” “old news” “committee decision” And, “country music.” 🙂 Another: Adult learning We’re not good at learning because we’ve “mis-learned” what learning is. Learning is not about showing up. Learning is not about going to class, memorizing content, passing a test. That’s called…

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JUST99WORDS: The Service Secret

David, a Rockwall, Texas Costco photo customer, shares the secret to winning him over forever: My posters were done when promised. They took the time to retouch the images, removing every blemish. They did it without any request from me. No extra charge! The final product was beautiful. Guess who gets all of my photo…

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JUST99WORDS: It’s All About Me!

  John, Karen, three active grandkids—and a 34 year, work-in-progress marriage.   In 1991, eleven years married, Karen said, “John, I’m going to marriage counseling. You coming?!” I went because this relationship is my most important relationship. I also hoped counseling would … fix Karen. 🙂 Instead, I learned this truth—and have learned it again…

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JUST99WORDS: The Skeptics Beat the Cynics

Know the difference? Skepticism: It’s wise to not buy everything read or heard. Skeptics add value with, “Not sure that’s the best path; can we talk about it?” A skeptic’s accountable question (QBQ): “How can I make a difference?” Pushback builds a better mousetrap. Cynicism: Cynics doubt the intentions, sincerity, and good will of others—usually…

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  My CPA, Bob, just emailed. His business partner passed away. Gone, at 64. Probable heart attack. Tragic. My first thought: I was there days ago; did I say hello to Bill? Then, suddenly, it was Tuesday May 20, 1975, about 5pm. I was days from 17. My dad pulled into the gas station where, in…

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