QBQ! The Question Behind the Question
What I learned from QBQ!
Blaming others is a powerful source of unhappiness and bitterness. Blaming propagates victim thinking and victims feel pushed around by others and circumstances.
John Miller’s book “QBQ,” can help you transform victim thinking into personal responsibility by asking the right questions.
“The answers are in the questions.”
Personal success begins when you stop asking why, who, and when questions.
- When will I be appreciated?
- Why do I have to do everything myself?
- Who is setting vision?
- Why doesn’t the younger generation want to work?
Personal success begins when you start asking what and how questions.
- How can I be a better coach?
- How can I be a better leader?
- What can I do to set better boundaries and just say “no?”
- What can I do to communicate better?
Blaming others won’t make you a better leader. It’s not about what “they’ve” done or not done. You’ll find success, “within the box.”
Rather than working to change others work to change you.
There are three components to every effective QBQ:
- Begin with “What” or “How,” (not “Why,” “When,” or “Who”).
- Contain an “I,” (not “They,” “Them,” “We,” or “You”).
- Focus on action.
QBQ will help you learn, grow, change, and lead.
What are the key components of personal responsibility?
What hinders personal responsibility?
HI,HARDLY CAN AFFORD TO BUY THESE STUFF,BUT ARE GREATLY IN NEED OF THEM!HOW CAN I BE HELPED?
Hi. I have found that my local library is an excellent resource. They take suggestions for books to purchase if they don’t currently have your choice in circulation. Hopefully that’s helpful.
Asking questions and then listening deeply gives insight to obsticles and gaps.
I try and read as many leadership books as possible. Would enjoy reading “Question behind the Question.”
I stumbled upon this web site while looking for some leadership web sites in order to find information on how I could change my outlook at work and how to become a better leader in my office. In just a few posts, I found that this web and the QBQ really hit home with me. I was/am falling into that rut of blaming others instead of trying to change the way I look at things. I have not purchased your books yet, was waiting until after the holidays, but would really enjoy the reading and think I could put it to good use in my professional life.
Like the framework. Plan to use it in an upcoming safety leadership workshop.
Thanks for putting me onto to this one Dan.
I’m a huge fan of asking questions. John added an important component to asking good questions. He changed the way I look at asking questions.
Jim is a featured contributor on Leadership Freak. Read his bio at: http://leadershipfreak.wordpress.com/james-leemann
I like the structure of the questions to ask (why is a question I often ask when I feel like I have just been done in which is classic victim mode)! Personal responsibility is hindered by the fact that people often operate in auto-pilot, getting in effect of the events rather than taking a moment to take in what has just happened and choosing how to deal with it. This reacting happens so quickly that it is easy for you to fall into being the victim, which then spirals as you get more and more frustrated by the situation. Rather than just reacting, actually look at what has just happened and what you have to do to get on with it. If you choose how you react to the events in your life then your personal responsibility will be in a space where you feel empowered. If you just react to the event, with no pause between the event and how you react, there is a high likelihood you will feel the victim.
The keys to personal responsibility are a) don’t expect that much of others, if I feel something needs to get done or something is missing I need to ensure that I get that done. Others may not know or identify the certain issue as a problem, and b) believe that you add value, if I have a feeling of negative self worth then I won’t believe that I add value, and if I don’t believe that I can’t expect others to believe it for me.
In regards to hindrances to personal responsibility, the biggest hindrance is ourselves. If the feelings of cynicism and negativity rule your day than you will stay in the miry pit that you have created through your own tears of pain and spit of anger. Embrace those around you (not physically, that will lead to a different hindrance…jail). Embrace the ideas of others. Collaborate, don’t compete.
What can I do to win a copy of this inspiring-sounding book?
How can I increase my chances of having my name drawn?
Thank you Dan for your blog!
I’ve been meaning to read this book and have seen many blogs about it, but this is the first one that I said – I need to read this book. Thank you!
I think the key component of personal responsibility in integrity. Meet what you say or promise in time. This approach makes you a person of credibility. Not meeting promises in time loses your credibility. The other component which I strongly believe is honesty. Being honest in all activities and dealings is key component of personal responsibility. Components of honesty are responsibility, accountability and transparency. Person with out of integrity loses its trust and it hinders personal responsibility. I also believe that nothing works without integrity whether it is family, organisation or society.
I agree that person success begins when you stop asking why, who, and when questions, and start asking what and how questions. When we know what we are, what is our responsibility and what we are doing, then we find how to do it rightly and how to plug the gap. But when we ask why, who and when, we become judgemental about the situation and when we become judgemental, we try to impose our feeling on others to make our action in our favour.
I agree that good question creates options and poor question blocks options. So, asking good question is an art and perhaps good leaders possess it. I think the question behind question is nothing but answers.
And What and Why play great role in asking question behind question.
Great post Dan. These questions force us to challenge our egos which get in the way of being better leaders and, I also suggest, better followers! They challenge the “What’s in it for me?” mindset. Thanks for the review.
I like the personal accountability theme of the book. I haven’t read it yet, but plan on adding it to my list.
I feel that what some might see as “victim” questions, and often rightly so, might lead to different challenges if viewed from a critical light.
For example: “Who is setting vision?” could easily transform into a lack of corporate vision, poor communication around the vision, not agreeing with the vision, etc. Depending on your authority within the organization, this could become: I will set the vision OR I will align to and communicate the vision (change begins with me) OR I need to find an organization that aligns with my values/beliefs.
I think fear of failure hinders personal responsibility i’ve noticed people are paralyzed by the fear of making a mistake and looking bad in front of others
I still believe most people want the same things – acceptance and peace of mind. the problem seems to be in the way they try to gain these things. i look forward to reading more of QBQ !
This was a great post, Dan. I have been dabbling around on the QBQ website since you mentioned you were reviewing this book, and I can tell there will be lots to learn and be inspired by on this site.
Right before starting to compose this comment, I saw this proverb on a friend’s status:
“Dig the well before you are thirsty.”– Chinese Proverb
It may be a bit of a stretch to weave this proverb into an answer about QBQ, but I’m always up for a challenge! Seriously, though, I think the times when we fall into “why, when, and who” blaming questions have their root in our “thirst” for a quick answer, response, or justification. If we dig for ourselves a deep well of self confidence, patience, and true empathy for others, we are less likely to fall into the “blaming” questions.
One key component of personal responsibility is staying attuned to your inner voice and moral compass, no matter how loud and stringent other voices are. I observed this in a social gathering recently – it was twelve women, all of whom are acquainted. One of them was talking about a woman who was not present, who the speaker did not think highly of. The speaker looked at one of the women present and said, “I don’t like her, do you like her?” It was clear the speaker expected agreement and assent. When she asked that question of another woman a few minutes later, that woman said, “I am just not going to talk about someone that way.” It is hard to describe in writing how understated this woman accomplished her goal (not humiliating or talking poorly about someone) without humiliating the speaker. It amazed me. (That conversation is one of the “boldness bits” I wrote about in this blog:
I am looking forward to hearing others’ thoughts about personal responsibility!
great post and interesting idea, personal responsibility is not taught to children these days.
I really like all of your blogs, they’ve helped me clean up the little things that make me a better leader all around.
I voted for your blog and I wish you the best of luck! : )
I’m a new fan of the Leadership Freak blog and would love a copy of QBQ!
Picked up John’s book when it came out about 5+ years ago, great read, can stop and go and pick it right back up easily…lots of great nuggets to mine! (don’t enter me in the drawing of course, Dan)
Prep work in forming questions…gotta love it. Choice of words and being aware of the potential impact/connotation of each is a key skill to keep tight. All three elements that Dan noted are vital.
Saying, ‘how did you mess this up?’ to someone probably won’t get the dialogue rolling. Starting with ‘how’ and personalizing your own accountability and role in the process…”how did I mess this up?” might be a better path. This can be a question you can ask of yourself or with others, if you are ready for the feedback.
Perhaps a less self and other accusatory statement might be ‘what was my role in this interaction succeeding or failing?’ What tools, information, skills did I not share with others that led to this less than dazzling outcome?’ Not to focus on the negative, one can also ask the parallel question of ‘what did I/we do well to have a positive outcome, even if it was not a fully 100% success. Can always build on strengths, not so much on weaknesses.
When mentoring teens in how to mentor children, I have found questions always work more effectively than statements. Sometimes it takes a few statements to get to the questions of course. This sounds like an intriguing book. It also sounds from what you have posted, very much like a way to work through steps four and five of the 12 Steps. No matter what a person is “recovering” from be it addiction or co dependency, we must find ways to make a list and make ammends. This happens by pointing the finger toward “me” and figure out how I have caused harm both real and perceived and then to be willing to go make amends. (this simplifies a more complex issue but makes the point). Asking questions that force me to stop blaming and take responsiblity helps me to move forward. As a leader, I must learn to look for solutions and questions help move people off the “I” focus and into the “what’s next?” focus. thanks for sharing.
What action can I take right now to most powerfully advance my vision?
Playing the victim card blocks all proactivity. These are great tools to help you get beyond than and move forward to making your life.. your life. It’ll help you regain the control that is rightfully yours over you life, goals, and outcomes. Interested in reading the book after the post. Thanks.
I’ve been listening to CDs of Dan Miller’s QBQ message. It’s really helping me to change the way I think and the questions I ask. I would love to read the book as well.
Can’t wait to read this book! Helping people who are beat up or just confused about the purpose of their life, while at the same time trying to help people grow by taking personal responsibility is often a tightrope for church leaders. I am anticipating the insight and guidance this book will provide!
Really excellent article. Has challenged me to think very carefully about how I am phrasing my questions to both others and to myself.
I have found that the two things we have the most control over is how we think about something and what we do. Within that, I picked up from Bob Wubbolding that sometimes it is easier to act your way to a new way of thinking than think your way to a new way of acting. That said, the questions we ask, and we are asked, are the keys to thinking differently.
Several years ago, when I was meeting with my coach and would have some issue with my senior leaders, he would ask me, “And how is your behavior contributing to what you see?” Ouch! What I learned from that repeated experience was that often my behavior was at the core of what needed changed.
I agree whole heartedly that “how” and “what” questions are infinitely more powerful in driving change.
Well said Jim…don’t you just love/hate when someone holds up a mirror…empathize with you 100%. 😉
Love the underpinnings of this Dan. An absolute essential to be an effective leader. If we’re not leading ourselves well first, we’re not truly leading anyone else very well.
Thanks for sharing what I believe is the most important part of leadership…self-leadership.
Thanks for encouraging leader insight. Can see you are Blessed with a wealth of knowledge about leadership. GBY
This book would be perfect for me. I teach job skills to high school juniors and seniors.
Hi I wish I should have started following you earlier on twitter…I pray to god that you win and grow in life..!!
I appreciate your comments and insights into leadership, that all can learn from. I appreciate the time you take to share wisdom and enable continuous ongoing growth. In any event or challenge, a person has the ability and obligation to chose their own response. We can chose to be the victims; and go into blame, excuses and negativity. Alternately we chose to be the victor; optimistic and value driven. Your blogs help us to guide our followers ( including ourselves) to chose to be better VICTORS in life and business.
Sounds like excellent advice. If I win, I vow to read and take to heart. Thank you for opportunity to participate. Cynthia
Boy, am I ever enjoying all the comments on Dan’s honoring review of my QBQ! book! Thanks to Dan and to all of you for your wisdom. QBQ! is about ME changing ME and when I work on ME great things happen. Email me if you’d like!
Quick comment: QBQ! is me, John Miller. My friend Dan Miller – no relation – is in Nashville, not Denver. He’s at http://www.48days.net. 🙂
Thanks for your great blogs and I seem to relate to almost all of them. When I read your post on QBQ, I now see why some close associates who spend so much time blaming never get out of that rut. I am going to try using “what or how” with an “I”, at work and outside of work. Thanks again.
Nice way of creating a self-coaching environment. For coaching others, just substitute “you” for “I”.
I would love a copy of this book!
I may just go out and buy it, but if I win it, I will pass it around 🙂
Narcistic people often seek perfection and approval from everyone. They almost always blame others when things go wrong. No way could it have been their fault. This is a great post and I know quite a few people who should be made to read this book. As a matter of fact if I win I will give my copy to this person who I know suffers from the victim role. Thanks!
As you may have seen at the beginning of this post, in relatively modest font size, Dan noted…”Announcement: Leadership Freak along with 10 other bloggers has been nominated for the “Best of Leadership Blogs 2010.” If this blog adds value to you, I’d appreciate your vote.”
If you believe you have benefited from the LF community posts, please take the time to vote, click on the link at the top of the page. Also, check out the other leadership blogs at the Eichenberry group and you will see how solid Dan’s blog (our community) is.
Dan, you consistently get to the heart of things with useful, practical, principled posts. My question: How can I be as disciplined as Leadership Freak to share great insights? Just begin! 😉
I’m looking forward to reading this book. Thanks for the great leadership principles!
Wow – so many replies, all keen to receive the book – me as well, but I am not located in the States…
Using the three components to every effective QBQ – let me try these right away:
Omigosh, HOW will I be successful to WIN this book?
So here we have the “how”, the “I” and the “action” …? Does this help scoring? 😉
Love the concept in the QBQ book and will certainly add it to my library. In my work I often run into those with the victim mentality. One of the things that I’ve noticed is that I’ve never met anyone of that mindset that was successful or happy.
For all of you involved in coaching others, QBQ! is a book and concept that honestly “greases the skids”in all ways. If I was a coach (I speak and write for a living), I would not coach ANY person till they’d read QBQ! Without personal accountability, there will be no learning. ‘Nuf said!
Key components of personal responsibilities and hindrance of personal responsibilities are;
– Commitment / Noncommittal
– Perseverance and patience / No Perseverance and patience.
However, the driver for the personal responsibility is communal/social interest.
Very coach perspective:
– the question behind the question
– the objective behind the objective
Questions have implicit assumptions so they direct the person’s attention to a particular territory. If you don’t like the question you ask or being asked, you can say something like
The issue is not why/when….but the real issue is how/what I can (ask the right question you want to answer)
Enjoying the comments. One focus that always interests me is when people first hear about PERSONAL ACCOUNTABILITY/QBQ! we always think of “all the people I know that need this message.” This is actually about as UN-accountable as possible. I can only change me! Thus QBQ! is for … me! Meanwhile, for you Christians out there, we have a 7 week small group study on QBQ! here: http://qbq.com/books/specks-and-planks.php. Good stuff! John@QBQ.com
This book is for everyone, not only coach or managers and upgrate important skills.
Dilek Artar, consultant hr, trainer
I do agree, directing blame for circumstances within your own control of capability or attitude adjustment shows immaturity. Also it displays the unwillingness to take responsibility for things you can control in your life, such as attitude or ability to grow. Once you begin to ask yourself questions that help you discover Y.O.U (Your Own Universe), you’ll find enlightenment and maybe peace too.
The cool thing about questions is that often times the conversation that follows leads to insights that promote additional questions and further conversation. Peeling an onion can be fun.
QBQ! is on my reading list. I appreciate the comment about UN-accountability. Happy Hollidays everyone.
Well, I’ve just read your post about QBQ and could’t resist enrolling me to receive this book. The content seems to be very current, and we portuguese people enjoy blaming others for the set backs.
Thank you Dan, if I didn’t get the book, I think I’ll look it up after.
Looking forward to reading this book….
I have read the QBQ…. loved it. Would love to read the others too. We did this at our book club and learned so much from the book and discussions.
Voting is closed?!? 🙁 Drawing or no drawing, I’ll read this book! Glad Thanks! With kindness, Elena
Your insights have been very helpful to myself and my office. I find it inspires me as a parent, counselor, coworker, family member and friend. Thank you and God bless! (I follow on Twitter)
Very interesting read – so many questions and in reality, the answers are right in front of us – only if we open our minds to the opportunities facing us. I look forward to reading and learning more (self knowledge is the key to everything!)
So many forget this very simple concept.
great post, i look forward to reading this book. Personal growth, and all growth starts with personal initiative.
I had liked the out-of-box thinking of John Miller and putting the book title as QBQ. It’s more of self-introspection and brining improvement in you and your approach. Great thing to practise.