Personal Accountability Makes Training Work!

In April 1995 I was at a coffee shop in Minneapolis with Ray Barton, then president of Great Clips, now Chairman of the Board. I told him I planned to base my speaking career on this tool I’d created called “QBQ! The Question Behind the Question.” His response?

“John, if you’re going to teach QBQ and its message of personal accountability, you’ll always have work.”

Ray spoke wisdom. Eighteen years later, it’s all we do here at QBQ, Inc. Why?

Because PERSONAL ACCOUNTABILITY is foundational—and solid foundations are always needed.

Have you been to Denver International recently? If you have, maybe you noticed an ongoing construction project. The “light rail” is coming some 20 miles out from Denver and they’re building an airport hotel. The model on the airport terminal floor shows the architect’s vision of an absolutely huge structure. Someday, people will walk through the rail station and sleep in the hotel and not even think about what lies beneath.

But I can show you with this picture I took …

Denver Int'l Airport "light rail" and hotel project

Denver Int’l Airport “light rail” and hotel project

Not very exciting, is it? Nope. But, 110% necessary. No hotel and light rail terminal combo could stand up without a foundation—at least not for long. Most buildings can’t.

Just like people and organizations. Without the proper foundation, we fail and entities fall.

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Personal Accountability: My Attitude of Gratitude

Cereal. We all love cereal. There are “kid” cereals and “adult” cereals—and the truth is adults don’t mind a bowl of Fruit Loops or Captain Crunch now and then, do we? Come on, admit it!

But seriously, when it comes to cereal, do we have choices or what?!

You know, I’m not one of those guys who attempts to shame people into feeling thankful for all we have in America—but I do need to be personally accountable and work on me.

The good news is, I actually felt a little guilty today when I was in a grocery store and saw my options.

Overflowing, ever-present abundance!Overflowing, ever-present abundance!

I even thought, Am I thankful for all my choices?!?

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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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Personal Accountability and Money


Allow me to share The Miller’s personal financial journey …

I had been working for a fine firm called Cargill as a grain trader in Mankato, Minnesota since 1980 when, in June of ’82, the company transferred Karen and me to Great Falls, Montana. Exciting! At 24 and 22 years old and originally from UpState, NY, we were going to the great state of Montana—and with a raise! I had been making $19,500 annually and Cargill bumped me up to $22,000 Whoo hoo!!!)

So we did …

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