QBQ! The Question Behind the Question: Practicing Personal Accountability at Work and in Life

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Penguin, Sep 9, 2004 - Business & Economics - 160 pages
14 Reviews

The lack of personal accountability is a problem that has resulted in an epidemic of blame, victim thinking, complaining, and procrastination. No organization—or individual—can successfully compete in the marketplace, achieve goals and objectives, provide outstanding service, engage in exceptional teamwork, or develop people without personal accountability.  

John G. Miller believes that the troubles that plague organizations cannot be solved by pointing fingers and blaming others. Rather, the real solutions are found when each of us recognizes the power of personal accountability. In QBQ! The Question Behind the Question®, Miller explains how negative, ill-focused questions like “Why do we have to go through all this change?” and “Who dropped the ball?” represent a lack of personal accountability. Conversely, when we ask better questions—QBQs—such as “What can I do to contribute?” or “How can I help solve the problem?” our lives and our organizations are transformed.


This remarkable and timely book provides a practical method for putting personal accountability into daily actions, with astonishing results: problems are solved, internal barriers come down, service improves, teams thrive, and people adapt to change more quickly. QBQ! is an invaluable resource for anyone seeking to learn, grow, and change. Using this tool, each of us can add tremendous worth to our organizations and to our lives by eliminating blame, victim-thinking, and procrastination.

QBQ! was written more than a decade ago and has helped countless readers practice personal accountability at work and at home. This version features a new foreword, revisions and new material throughout, and a section of  FAQs that the author has received over the years.

From the Hardcover edition.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - MelanieTid - LibraryThing

My manager just gave this to all the new hires to read. I liked it a lot, and I think it will help me actually ask better questions. The anecdotal style made it a quick read, and kept it interesting. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - gopfolk - LibraryThing

Culture of my new department This is like most corporate books – a very quick read. Even at 140 pages you definitely can read it over your lunch hour. The concept is pretty simple and I have to admit ... Read full review


The Friend of Failure 37
When Will We Get More Tools and Better Systems? 40
When Are We Going to Hear Something New? 42
Dont Ask Who? 44
Silos 51
Beat the Ref 54
Who Dropped the Ball? 57
Ownership 60
An Integrity Test 77
The Power of One 79
All QBQs Focus on Action 84
The Risk of Doing Nothing 87
Leaders at All Levels 94
A Great List of Lousy Questions 102
Wisdom 116
We Buy Too Many Books 117

The Foundation of Teamwork 62
Can Only Change Me 68
He Didnt I Did 72
A Final Picture 118
The Motor of Learning 122

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About the author (2004)

John G. Miller is the founder of QBQ, Inc., a development company that has worked with hundreds of Fortune 500 and other companies and government and nongovernment organizations internationally. Miller is also the bestselling author of Flipping the Switch: Five Keys to Success at Work and in Life and Outstanding! 47 Ways to Make Your Organization Exceptional. He lives in Denver. Learn more at http://qbq.com.

From the Hardcover edition.

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