QBQ! The Question Behind the Question | John G. Miller

Summary of: QBQ! The Question Behind the Question: Practicing Personal Accountability in Work and in Life
By: John G. Miller


In the fast-paced and demanding world we live in, taking personal accountability is more important than ever, and John G. Miller’s QBQ! The Question Behind the Question: Practicing Personal Accountability in Work and in Life shows us just how crucial it is. This book summary highlights how asking the right questions – QBQs or ‘Question Behind the Question’ – not only helps resolve issues but also enables a person to take control of their thoughts and actions. Through embracing accountability and focusing on solutions, Miller’s lessons provide practical advice to improve both our personal and professional lives, fostering a better understanding of our choices and their impact on the world around us.

The Power of Asking the Right Questions

The book emphasizes the importance of personal accountability, urging individuals to ask the “Question Behind the Question” (QBQ) when facing problems at work or in life. Instead of blaming others, people must take responsibility for their choices and actions. By asking constructive questions like “What can I do to improve this situation?” and “How can I contribute?”, individuals can bring positive change to their organizations and personal life. The QBQ tactic helps people avoid negative thinking and take action towards their goals, leading to a more fulfilling and successful life.

Improve accountability

The power of accountable questions for individual and organizational growth is unparalleled. Instead of asking negative questions, change the narrative to accountable questions that prioritize personal responsibility, action, and problem-solving. This approach boosts productivity and develops a functional working relationship between management and employees. When we consciously take responsibility for our actions, we foster a culture of accountability, leading to positive growth in our organizations and personal lives.

Mastering Your Thoughts

The book emphasizes that our thoughts shape our lives, and we should take control of them to lead a fulfilling life full of better decision-making and positive emotions. The author introduces the concept of QBQ and stresses the importance of asking better questions to get better answers. We are accountable for our choices and can choose to react positively to negative situations. The book encourages readers to discipline their minds to reject negative thoughts and embrace a positive mindset to avoid stress.

Asking The Right Questions

The key to asking effective questions is to keep them focused on action and use “what” or “how” with the inclusion of “I” in the sentence. Avoid using “why,” “when,” “who,” or third-person pronouns like “they” or “them.” By following these guidelines, you can uncover the true intention behind the question and find ways to take appropriate action.

Empowering Yourself with Better Questions

The book emphasizes on asking better questions to take control of one’s life and not to indulge in victim thinking. It highlights that starting questions with “why” makes us feel powerless, and “when” leads to procrastination. Instead, questions that begin with “what” or “how” help us find concrete solutions and adapt to changes. The author emphasizes the importance of avoiding blame and victimhood and how collaborating and being creative is the key to problem-solving.

Succeed with what you have

Stop focusing on what’s missing and make the most of what you do have to achieve your goals. In their book, the authors advise readers to avoid wasting time and energy on what they lack and instead identify what they already possess. Rather than seeking perfection or better resources, “succeed within the box” by using available tools to get the job done well. This approach also encourages appreciating team members’ strengths and gifts, promoting teamwork. While things may not be ideal, learning to succeed with existing resources is crucial for achieving success.

Mastering the Sales Game

Successful sales require hard work, prospect contacts, valuable products or services, and productive follow-ups. Despite knowing these fundamentals, some salespeople constantly search for new strategies. To achieve success in sales, stick to the basics and practice personal accountability every day.

Avoid “We-they” Thinking

Organizations face destruction when departments indulge in “We-they” thinking, considering their interests separate from others. Such siloed thinking is harmful to the overall objectives of a company. The key is to understand that everyone is on the same team and moving in the same direction, working towards a common goal. Learning is about applying what we know to the practical side of achieving the goal. If individuals forget that everyone has to play their role in achieving the set mission, the organization will fail. Avoid self-interest and consider the bigger picture, especially when faced with cross-functional friction and field-versus-corporate sentiments.

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