Q&A with John G. Miller, QBQ! author

Jim, a manager at Coca-Cola who bought 24 QBQ! books for staff his team, emailed this question:

Mr. Miller, in QBQ! you write that “leaders are not problem solvers” but then the Rockbottom mgr in Chapter One gets Jacob (the server) the Diet Coke for his customer – you. Great story! But what is the difference between personal accountability and holding people accountable? Could you share some thoughts this, please?


Jim, thanks for the note. When people talk about “holding others accountable” what they really mean – or should mean – is the management obligations of setting standards, communicating goals and objectives, coach and counseling, and then sometimes confronting those who are off track. All right, proper, and worthy activities for a mgr.

What I am really teaching with QBQ! is humility, which is demonstrated when mgrs first ask, “How can I improve me?” and “What can I do to be a better coach?”

But that does not mean we fail to do all those things described in the first paragraph above

The “managers are not problem solvers” piece is all about not answering every question and solving every problem your staff brings you. When we do those things, we don’t grow anyone and we create a dependent staff.

Push problems down and they will get better at their jobs – and you will be developing them!


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