Personal Accountability: A Reader’s Summary of QBQ!

Kimberly, a Community Relations Administrator for Delta Dental of New Jersey, Inc., wrote up this summary of the QBQ! book. It’s so excellent, I thought I’d share it all with you. I love the title she gave it. Enjoy! 

I Can Only Change Me

In John G. Miller’s book QBQ The Question Behind the Question he speaks about what to really ask yourself to eliminate blame, complaining, and procrastination. He discusses how people tend to blame others for personal and professional troubles. Miller believes in personal accountability – taking responsibility for one’s actions, problems, and feelings instead of blaming others.

Miller believes in changing the questions we ask ourselves from negative (Why do we have to go through all this change? Or, Who dropped the ball?) to more solution-based “I” questions (What can I do to contribute? Or, How can I help solve the problem?)

One of the chapters in QBQ! is called “I Can Only Change Me” and in this chapter Miller reminds us that when dealing with any circumstance the only person that can change is – one’s self.

Perhaps you’re a supervisor who’s dealing with a difficult employee. You do your best to change the employee’s attitude and nothing is working. The attitude you should be changing is your own. A supervisor’s role is to coach and counsel – not to change another person. Change is something that occurs internally – a result of decisions made by the individual. The same applies for the reverse – an employee who works for a difficult supervisor. The employee cannot change the supervisor – the only aspect the employee can change is him or herself and how he or she deals with the difficult supervisor.

Each of us may be aware that the only person each of us can change is our self; however, there’s a big difference between understanding this concept and actually living it.

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Keeping “Big Mo” Alive

We have explored in our newest QBQ! QuickNote found here some Momentum Killers. They are listed below. Can you add any others in the Comments section? Feel free to join the conversation!

<Excerpted from the QBQ! QuickNote>

Momentum Killers:


As we write in QBQ!, procrastination is the “friend of failure.” It crushes our momentum. People suffering from it tend to ask Incorrect Questions (IQs) such as, “When will others take care of this?” and “When will I have all the information I need?” But those with momentum ask The Question Behind the Question (QBQ): “What can I do today to be productive?” In his book, 21 Questions for 21 Millionaires: How Ordinary People Create Extraordinary Success, author Brandon Pipkin discovers most highly successful people didn’t really have a grand plan when they started out—but they sure got stuff done. The message? Do something!!!

Not doing something right the first time

This might sound obvious, but having to redo anything is a pain. Each of us has finite energy and time. Let’s not waste these resources doing something wrong just so we can figure out later how to do it right. Let’s ask these QBQs: “How can I learn new ways of doing things?” and “What can I do to be my best?” Said, differently, be outstanding in all things—or at least as often as possible. Remember the rule of a wise carpenter: Measure twice, cut once.

Letting frustration overwhelm us

Years ago when the Internet was not ubiquitous, I did something novel: I bought nine movie tickets in advance online, paying one dollar per ticket more for the service. Quite a step for this frugal fella. We then got into the family van and started driving 15 miles west to a Denver suburban theater. We never made it on that December evening. Traffic was horrible. I tried side streets, main highways, two lane country roads—but Christmas shoppers were out in full force! Why can’t people drive? So frustrating! I surely had a goal of entertaining the family and not wasting $80, but 45 minutes into a 25 minute drive, I threw up my hands in borderline anger and over the objections of people close enough to strangle me, I turned the van around and we came home—to do nothing. I was not the favorite father that night. I had let frustration overwhelm me. Where did that frustration come from? From the source of all frustration: blocked goals. As we say in our training program, “stress is a choice.” Goals might get blocked and frustration might reign, but if I had managed my stress better and not quit, things would’ve probably worked out just fine.

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Parenting: Introspection by Parents Is a Good Thing!

When my wife, Karen, and I decided to write “Parenting the QBQ Way” we certainly didn’t know how it would impact people. But if it does nothing more than help parents engage in some “looking in the mirror” introspection, then it’s helped moms and dads and their families immeasurably. Parenting is such an awesome role and…

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Personal Accountability: The Better Path

Have you ever heard questions such as … “Why don’t I ever get a break?” “When will people be nicer to me?” “Who’s going to start giving me what I deserve?” “Why don’t others understand me better?” If you have, you’ve witnessed some bad stuff: Victim/entitlement thinking, blame, finger-pointing, and procrastination. The truth is most…

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Enjoying that QBQ! book

We get some nice notes around here regarding the QBQ! book. Hard not to share one now and then. So, here we go! Good afternoon! I just wanted to take some time to say what a help your book has been to me. It is passing through my small branch. I won’t lie, I heard…

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The QBQ! Pledge

Yesterday we sent out a QBQ! QuickNote titled “Take the QBQ! Pledge.” And I have been delighted to see soooooo many folks email back and say, “I will!” and “I do!” How about you? Here it is: I promise to practice personal accountability in all I do, working tirelessly to model this success principle for…

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Real People Read QBQ!

Sometimes, you get a note from a customer that you just want to share with everyone! A VP of Verizon Wireless sent us this note. A fan of the QBQ! book, she bought one for each person on her team and took them through it in an old-fashioned book discussion. Here is real feedback from…

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QBQ! Challenges Thinking

Whenever a QBQ! QuickNote goes out we get a bunch of responses, especially on one like we sent two days ago since it had “politics” in the title. Get it here. Anyway, here is a gal at Purdue U. who saw me speak on “Personal Accountability and the QBQ!” there in 2007 who continues to believe…

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Outstanding Service Lives!

A longtime client and friend to QBQ! sent us this email. Completely in his own words, Kim Stephens shares this story. Outstanding service – it’s just not that complicated! Enjoy! Hi, John! My recent stay at the Courtyard by Marriott Boston-Raynham completely reminded me of Chapter 24 in Outstanding! and how great service is “doing…

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