Saturday, November 21, 2009

Asking the Right Questions and Starting to Act!

The book of the week was QBQ! by John G. Miller. Fascinating little read... QBQ Stands for question behind the question. It focuses on what questions are really important and gets away from questions that issue blame or help you put off what should be done. Something I found quite interesting about this book was it was just over a hundred pages yet it had nearly 40 chapters. Each chapter in the book was a small story that showed what happens when the right questions are asked.

Miller really knows how to tell a story. The book in incredibly easy to read and hard to put down. Some examples of "bad" questions are:

-"Why don't customers follow instructions?"
-"Who made the mistake?"
-"Why doesn't anyone else do as much work as me?"
-"Why don't I get paid more?"

Some better questions to ask yourself would be:

-"How can I serve the customer better?"
-"What can I do today to be more effective?"
-"How can I be a more effective coach?"
-"What can I do to be more productive?"

Notice anything about the second set of questions? They start with How and What instead of Why or Who or When. They focus on "I" instead of them, they, or someone else. And most importantly they focus on action. To get ahead in this world there is only one person that can be changed, and that's YOU. If you focus on asking questions dedicated toward making yourself better you will be much better off than someone that is asking questions about procrastination or complaining.

Some of the stories in this book were very entertaining. One story that really incorporated the skills I try to push into people's lives through this blog goes like this: A man stopped at Rock Bottom restaurant in downtown Minneapolis. The place was packed and a boy holding a bunch of plates noticed the man hadn't been helped yet, so he took it upon himself to help the man. He asked what the man wanted and the man said he just wanted a salad and a couple of rolls. The boy said it would be right out. And then the man asked if he could get a Diet Coke as well. The boy said they didn't serve Diet Coke, just Pepsi products. The man was fine with this and carried about his lunch. After a little bit of time the man was greeted with an ice cold Diet Coke. The man said "I thought you didn't carry Diet Coke." The boy said "We don't, but they have it at the convenience store across the street". The man asked who went and got it because the boy was way too busy and boy replied "My Manager."

There are so many great things about this story. Most people would have said "Why should I have to get a Diet Coke when we have Pepsi?" or "Why should I serve that man, he isn't sitting in my area?" or "Why are we so short staffed?" The boy didn't say any of those things, he just acted. He did what it took to make the customer happy, true customer service. Aside from the outstanding customer service from the boy, I also want to mention the manager. The manager is a true leader. He let his employees make the decision and then he acted. This is a fantastic sign of a successful organization.

I really think this book is great for anyone. I think everybody could use a few lessons in personal accountability. Once someone learns to stop blaming everyone else, they really start acting and things start getting done. If you have any questions on the book don't hesitate to ask. I would be more than happy to help anyone that wants it.

1 comment:

  1. another stellar post, trevor! being a psychology major, I can really understand how simply rephrasing a question can make a different impact. thanks for the story of the boy and the diet coke...charming example of how servant leadership can build successful corporations! rock on, buddy!