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QBQ! The Question Behind the Question

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QBQ! The Question Behind the Question

Practicing Personal Accountability at Work and in Life


15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

You don't have to be a player in the blame game. Take ownership of your actions and become accountable in your life.

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  • Applicable


Author John G. Miller admonishes people to quit whining! Miller advocates personal accountability, an almost novel concept in today’s litigious world of finger pointing, excuse making and not-my-fault thinking. Instead of asking, "Why is this happening to me?" he says to ask, “What can I do to improve my situation?” Miller calls this the “QBQ, the Question Behind the Question.” When you ask such questions you become less of a victim, and put yourself more in control, empowered to improve your life and contribute to the success of your organization. Miller entertains and explains by using examples and uplifting stories culled from his personal experience. His easy-to-grasp theory is fairly one-dimensional and in the banquet of self-help books, it is more of an appetizer than an entrée. Yet, if you want a quick bite of applicable self-improvement advice and don’t mind a bit of a scolding, getAbstract recommends this tasty treat.


To Get the Right Answers, Ask the Right Question

When something goes wrong, people typically ask certain kinds of questions:

  • “When is someone going to train me?”
  • “Who dropped the ball?”
  • “Why don’t they communicate better?”

Such queries typify a problem of epidemic proportion in modern society, specifically, a lack of personal accountability. People will assume responsibility, understand their choices and contribute positively to their organizations only when they begin to ask constructive questions, using a tactic called the “Question Behind the Question - the QBQ.”

“Incorrect Questions - IQ”

When people feel overwhelmed, unappreciated or frustrated, they often ask themselves such questions as, “Why do I have to do everything?” or “When is management going to upgrade our systems?”

This approach is destructive, negative and useless in solving problems. These are “Incorrect Questions” or “IQs.” In order to address and fix problems, ask more accountable questions, such as, “What can I do to make the situation better?” or “How can I make this work with the resources on hand?” When people take accountability and act responsibly...

About the Author

John G. Miller founded an organizational development firm in Denver, Colorado. He is a frequent public speaker and a consultant to major companies. He is also the author of Personal Accountability and Flipping the Switch.

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