“It’s not my fault”
“It’s not fair!” My 18-year-old daughter Inga’s tear-streaked face contorted as she related the tale. “I was only speeding because I felt like I was going to faint and I just had to get off the street as quickly as possible. That cop was such a jerk. . .” See, Inga had just received her fourth speeding ticket.
“It’s not fair!” How many times have you heard that phrase? (I just Googled the phrase and came up with over 2 million hits!) As I was sputtering a response, the book QBQ flashed into focus.
QBQ, or The Question Behind the Question by John G. Miller is a book about personal accountability. The premise is we have a tendency to blame others or complain because we are not personally accountable. In remarkably simple terms, Miller teaches how we can become more personally accountable. In short:
- Begin questions with “what” or “how” (as opposed to “why” “when” or “who”)
- Ensure they contain an “I” (not “they,” “them,” “we” or “you”)
- Focus on action.
Instead of asking “Why did that cop give me a ticket?”, a more personally accountable question would be “What can I do to prevent getting tickets?”
Here’s what this has to do PlattForm. (Finally, you must be saying to yourself). Our HR department gives every new PlattFormer the book QBQ when they join the company. Everyone is strongly encouraged to read it. At 90-day review time, each newbie reports on how that book relates to their life at PlattForm. See, personal accountability is a big deal here. Which I think is a good thing.
Now if I could only get Inga to stop speeding . . . wait . . . let me rethink that. Maybe I should ask, “What can I do to improve my role-modeling skills?” . . . Hmmm. Maybe there's something to this personal accountability thing?