Fields marked with an * are required

Request More Information

QBQ Accountability starts with an “I’ statement

When I come in to work with most teams they have complaints. I worked with a team doing conflict management last week and guess what? Their conflicts mostly had to deal with how “others” weren’t doing right! Surprise!

The good/bad news is that accountability starts with the one in the mirror. The only one you have the power to change is yourself! Here is one of my favorite simple tools for building and modeling more accountability in the workplace.
1. What are your complaints?

This is the part hat most people like. You get to list your complaints of what is not working in the workplace.  Here are some examples:

a. Management doesn’t listen to us
b. My employees complain too much
c. My team mates gossip
d. She is avoiding conflict
e. He is a jerk
and on and on
2. The QBQ Formula
Here is the formula as put forth by John G. Miller in the book of the same name. QBQ stands for question behind the question.
What I have noticed is that a lot of people resist this part of the process because you have to let go of being a victim and take responsibility for what YOU can do in the situation. This is not about what others can do or how others could change.
1.Start with an “I” statement
This usually sounds like
What can I       or
How can I
2. add a verb
do, help, etc.
3. end with a positive statement that reframes the situation
So if we take the above complaints into consideration, the new question could be:
a. Management doesn’t listen to us
What can I do to make sure I am sharing my opinion in a way that can be heard?
b. My employees complain too much
How can I take my employees concerns seriously?
c. My team mates gossip
What can I do to curb gossip on my team?
d. She is avoiding conflict
What can I do to communicate in a way that feels safer around conflict?
e. He is a jerk
How can I better understand where my colleague is coming from?
3. The question points the way
Of course the question is not the ultimate answer to the challenge. The key though is that the question points the way towards thinking about the challenge completely differently. The question changes us from victims to proactive participants in working through the challenge.
The next step then would be to actually ENGAGE the question. Don’t dismiss it as “positive thinking” or go back into blaming. This requires a commitment to the concept of and process of accountability.
4. Dealing with resistance
The resistance that I hear the most from people is that 
a. it’s too much work   and
b. it really is the other person’s fault
So, yes, it is more work to actually be responsible for the situation than to simply blame someone else. But ultimately, it gives you the result you want – a solution! It seems to be human nature to blame and therefore using QBQ requires a bold and courageous act of personal initiative. It takes self-discipline and a commitment to growth in your self, your team and the organization to take on this new way of thinking.
The final thing is that sometimes, when you are working with the new question, there really may be nothing that you can do in a situation. An example is that I had a team in a government agency who was pushing back against the very hierarchical structure of their team. Decisions were handed down from the top and the supervisors were not even allowed  to be part of the hiring decision of their own employees. We worked this from various angles first with these questions:
How can I communicate to my managers the importance of being part of the hiring process?
How can I be more involved in the hiring process?
What can I do to help our organization be more “flat?”
Ultimately, after some time and action, the question actually became:
What can I do to accept the situation as it is?
How can I work at my best within this structure?
How can I see the best in my employees?
There are times when little change to something outside of your control may be the reality. I always say to the teams I work with that you have three options:
Work it out
Let it go
I have found that QBQ is an excellent structure in helping people take personal responsibility to work it out.
Please give us a call if you would like support in working with QBQ Accountability in Denver, ColoradoQBQ Accountability in Denver, Colorado with your team or organization.
For your growth,
Jeannie Gunter, MA
Founder, Transformative Training
303 532-4393
Jeannie Gunter, MA

Jeannie Gunter, MA

Founder, Transformative Solutions

303 653-3097

Jeannie works with a wide variety of clients to help them increase their team effectiveness and leadership capacity in their teams. She has worked both nationally and internationally as an organizational consultant, facilitator, speaker and wilderness guide.

With a strong background in group dynamics, over the past 20 years Jeannie has guided hundreds of teams in a wide variety of organizations to successful outcomes in team, personal and professional development.

1 Comment

  1. Pam Hollister

    Great post and very accurate! I have been working with a company for the past 6 years teaching their teams about The Five Dysfunctions of a Team (by Patrick Lencioni), which includes – Trust, Conflict, Commitment, Accountability, Results. I included personality type training in the two-day training and that portion of the training has received the highest approval from the team members.

    Understanding our own and each other’s type and how to relate to each other in a positive manner based on that information, creates teams that are accountable, trust each other, are able to handle conflict, become accountable, and achieve Results.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Schedule a Free
15 Minute Consultation
Request For