I just read a book called "QBQ The Question behind the Question" by John G. Miller. Really a fascinating little book about asking "How" or "What" questions with "I" in the body instead of "Why", "When" or "Who." The book is about practicing personal accountability at home and at work. It is an easy read and deceptively simple but very profound.
I really liked some of the stories. My favorite is about a clerk at Home Depot. The store had just opened and a man came to the clerk in an obvious hurry. He gave her his purchases which came to $2.85 and handed her a $100 bill. She asked if he had anything smaller and he said no. She had just $40 in her till and knew it would take a long time time to get change from the office. She took out her purse, put 2.85 in the till and gave him his merchandise and bill back. He was flabbergasted but accepted it graciously. Several days later he manager came to her and said I have a tip for you but you know it against company policy to accept tips. She said I know and donated the check for $50 to the pizza fund. Later the man came in with his father, who was a big contractor in the area, and told the girl that his father had decided to give all his business to Home Depot. He then whispered to the girl, "How high would you have gone?" What neat story!
Another one was the author going for lunch in a busy diner. Jacob his waiter took his order and asked what he wanted to drink. He said "Diet Coke" and Jacob said "We only have Pepsi." Miller said he would have water. A few minutes after his order came Jacob appeared with a Diet Coke. Miller said "I thought you had none." Jacob said "We went to the store next door and got one." "How did you have ?time to do that when you were so busy?" Jacob said "I didn't go I sent my boss." Jacob clearly asked himself "How can I help him get his Diet Coke?" His boss did not say "Why are you telling me? "
The clue is asking yourself the right questions. I heartily recommend the book and read it more than once because the idea is so simple and yet so profound you might miss it. I am writing this blog to reinforce the ideas in my mind.
Since I wrote this blog our discussion group, The Senge Circle, discussed this book. We had a good discussion but we concluded the book was more like an article than a book. I think they are right because the idea is so simple.
However I think that is also very profound.
One member of our group read it while browsing in a book store in thirty minutes. However I think the book like this must be read multiple times to be raally internalized.
I recall Harvey, my former partner and mentor, always wanted to keep things simple and repeated often his saying. Now do we need a greater authority on simple ideas than Harvey.
I plan to reread this book.