Category Archives: Tips and Tricks

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Personal Accountability – The Question Behind the Question

The Question Behind the Question - book coverYou don’t always get what you bargained for, whether it is a movie, a relationship or even a book. On my brother’s recommendation I bought The Question Behind the Question (QBQ) with the impression that it would provide very practical productivity and organizational tips.

It does a little, but it is really more about an attitude adjustment something that just about anyone with a pulse can use from time to time. It does so by emphasizing personal accountability for one’s thoughts and actions, taking a proactive approach to work and relationships, as well as any challenge or frustration in our life.

The author, John G. Miller, explains that we can improve our productivity and shine a more positive outlook on our life by changing the negative, blame-game questions we so often ask each and every day. He asks us to imagine what we could do — the personal accountability — to make a situation better.

In a nutshell the QBQ philosophy is about “making better choices in the moment by asking better questions.”

  • Instead of asking: “When are we going to be more competitive?” we might ask “What can I do today to be more effective?” or “How can I add value to our product?”
  • Instead of asking: “When am I going to find good people?” we might ask “How can I be a more effective coach for the people we have now” or “What can I do to better understand each person on the team?”

In other words, put a positive spin on the challenges and frustrations we face and do so in a way that empowers us to make productive changes rather than simply being the victim of someone else’s failings.

In illustrating this Miller offers dozens of stories about people who have gone above and beyond. Some are serious stories about the work place and others are lighter fare such as a story about a young waiter who goes out of his way to serve Dr. Pepper to a customer even though the restaurant doesn’t carry it.

The book is a very fast read with just more than 100 pages. Many could read the book in a day which is one reason why its last line reads, “Great. So now that you’ve finished the book, read it again.” I couldn’t agree more.

Challenge for this Week:

Are you facing a frustrating situation this week that is just driving you nuts? It’s just eating you alive because so & so just won’t get their act together or understand?  If so, flip the situation and think about what you can do – personal accountability – to improve the situation.  Think about how you can begin to take charge of the situation.