Welcome to The Ziglar Show, episode 457. Today we have John Miller, author of QBQ! The Question Behind The Question, in the studio with us. Our focus for inspiring your true performance today? Personal accountability. Something all of us fail at to a degree and can utilize to our great success. This was a high energy show…you’ll get tremendous value from it, as we did!

Show Notes


[00:30] Welcome to The Ziglar Show, episode 457. Today we have John Miller, author of QBQ, The Question Behind The Question, in the studio with us. Our focus for inspiring your true performance today is Personal accountability. Something all of us fail at to a degree, and can utilize to our great success. This was a high energy show…you’ll get tremendous value from it, as we did!

[01:48] Hi everyone, this is your host, Kevin Miller. Today…John Miller. He shares my last name, he lives in Colorado and he has more than a quiver full of kids…7! For the past decade and a half, his book QBQ has been purchased in truck loads by Fortune 500 companies and pretty much any corporation or business worth it’s salt. Additionally, the book has become a foundational classic on the shelves of whose who of success, globally. You’ll hear why as Tom Ziglar and I talk with John. It’s a very timely message as the topic of “entitled millennials” is getting great attention as of late.

[02:38] If you don’t know John, he has one clear mission: Helping Organizations Make Personal Accountability a Core Value, though as you’ll hear in the show, this book and message has become a primary personal development tool for tens of thousands of individuals.

[02:53] John is the author of …

  • QBQ! The Question Behind the Question
    • Flipping the Switch
    • Outstanding! 47 Ways to Make Your Organization Exceptional! and co-author of Raising Accountable Kids and The QBQ! Workbook

[03:15] Connect with John to find out more at QBQ.com.


[03:28] Before we start the interview, 2 quick things for you:

  1. Tom Ziglar and I have an upcoming Q&A show coming up. Want us to answer your personal question on your personal journey of inspiring true performance? Go to Ask.zigshow.com now, or simply email us at ask@zigshow.com
  2. If you’ve gotten value from the show, please subscribe, and give us a rating and review in iTunes or Stitcher. This helps others find us!
  3. Two, if you’ve listened to The Ziglar Show for long, you’ve heard about the flagship Ziglar event, Ziglar Legacy Certification course. 5 days at Ziglar Headquarters in Plano, TX, right outside of Dallas, with the entire Ziglar family and team. And


[04:45] John, welcome to The Ziglar Show, thank you for taking the time to share your message with us!


[05:06] So I hear you have a Zig story…something about a special phone call?


[05:13] Yes, it was a year ago when my first QBQ book had come out, I think it was the summer of 2002, and a friend of Zig given the copy to Zig. I received a phone call and my caller id said Texas. I never expected Zig Ziglar ever call me but ofcourse once I heard his voice. He told me he read the QBQ and he loved it. So that was the most exciting moment for me.


[09:19] Your book QBQ has been so foundational for so many people, so many organizations, I want to really dig deep in, even those who are listening who are familiar with it, I was going to dig in, has brought it to life again. So, your flagship book, QBQ!, “The Question Behind the Question.” To start, boil it down to the essence. Over 50,000 Ziglar listeners will hear what you say next…what is the primary problem do they have that your message solves, or what desire do they have that it provides?


[10:00] You might have some blames going in your life. I came out of Colorado in 1980 and I had girlfriend and I work 8 to 5 sitting on the desk. We moved 3-4 cities. in 1985, one of my friend said why don’t you moved in sales. I said no, but later I found what is God gifted in me and i.e. selling training. So I didn’t only hire as persuade executive but I also hired as a teach and train from one of the famous training institute. So I started selling training but I also execute three days workshop with senior executives. After selling training for eight years, I found people asking lousy questions. So I thought there must be good questions here and I came up with the Questions behind Questions.


[14:10] Define personal accountability for us.


[14:30] We actually find that there is a couple of myths about accountability is kept within the organization. One is them we think is the group thing. People are now hiding behind the team. We always listen that the team has done this, the team is working excellently. Nobody is caring like I care. All what we are doing is hiding behind the team, making excuse of the team. But we find excellent organization, we find outstanding people doing good things. So the other myth is we think that something I hold others too. What we teach in QBQ is to rise above the problems of the day, frustrations, negative feelings, the problem comes to us everyday, what can I do to make a difference. How can I serve people? That is the question behind the question. So personal accountability what we define is making better choices in the moment. We should be talking about best thinking. So that we can get out of the blame game.



[17:38] You published QBQ! In 2001. In the 16 years since then, what has changed or evolved in regards to the message, or the culture in relation to personal accountability?


[19:53] I would say this, people who saw me speaking, they contact me, they want me to come and teach personal accountability, it is the reason what they see in two decades is more entitlement thinking, more hand outs, desired. We can’t blame millennial because we have raised them. You can have work ethics without personal accountability.


[22:40] The world has taught people, if things don’t go well for you, go and blame somebody. Blame your parents, blame Hollywood, blame the president, just blame somebody. I know this is not the new but I do believe in the decades of selling, it got worst.


[22:58] So how do you coach somebody out of it either they don’t believe they can get out of it, or they working for somebody who has that mind set that it is not their responsibility, it is of somebody else?


[23:11] Personal accountability and truth are like twins. You can not separate them. You can either blame all those others for your results or you can speak truth and say okay, I am frustrated but if I had done these things, I would have sold more products. And that is the attitude, that’s the way of living, that’s the way of thinking.


[25:41] I can feel disappointing coming out that you are not going to raising accountable spouses.


[26:11] The greatest tool is the mirror. John you know about the Zig self-talk, you can talk in front of the mirror. Get your self-talk cards on ziglar.com/selftalk.


[26:42]– corporate America lamenting soft skills

– simon sinek millennial, entitlement

– bigger opportunity to stand out and shine?


[36:42] What is the question behind the question that I can ask myself for attitude, effort and skill.


[36:54] What can I do to change my thinking today? See, that admits that my thinking is off track and taken ownership of my lousy thinking. About skills, do not wait for your managers to develop you. So we teach people to stop waiting for the company and think, what can I do to develop myself today? How can I learn new skills today? All these QBQ I am running through have these common themes.


[39:30] So, in that you mentioned actionable, so looking in the mirror which listeners are used to the Zig selftalk cards.


[39:48] Personal accountability. What is the mindset, the traits, the telltale signs of someone who is lacking…in personal accountability? So we can start to notice it in ourselves and others?


[39:58] This is the power of QBQ, it changes the way I think, but it also changes the way I talk to myself which is same as thinking. But it changes the way I even speak with others. So instead of saying to your wives, why don’t you do more for me, you can say, hey what can I do today to make you more cherish. And imply the next is action. What we wanna listen for is our selftalk and the words come out of our mouth. There are three kinds of things listen for, why questions, who questions, when questions. We teach don’t ask why if it sound like this ‘why is this happening to me’, ‘why don’t they pay me more’, all of that is a victim thinking. QBQ burst those tires of victim thinking.


[40:52] Second type of question to listen for is are you asking any when questions. ‘when they going to get back to me’, ‘when customer will return my call’. How much better it will if we say what can we do to make it better than this. And the lastly avoid Who questions, who types of blaming questions. ‘who drop the ball’, ‘who made the mistake’, blame lets see solves no problem. So what you wanna do is listen to why questions, victim thinking, when questions, and who questions, blame. If you are asking those questions, then you are not practicing personal accountability.



[42:02] Ok, I am so curious on that because what came to mind is ego. So on one hand I don’t wanna be accused of fault and I have the tendency of look for where’s to blame but then on the other side I heard you talking about how much power we giving to other circumstances.


[42:51] As long as I am pointing fingers and holding the hand cause I am entitled of blaming others, I am not being my best. I got to look in the mirror and ask these accountability questions and take actions now. I also need to make sure I am not pointing fingers on others and blaming them.



[43:30] Your primary focal points here, I mean if I lump work, career and business together, you talked already about marriage and parenting, would you put those as your top three focal points.


[43:50] I sold these leadership trainings for decades, I call VPs of sales, CEOs etc so I learned a lot from the age of 28 to 36 and then I went offer my own. And mine in QBQ experiments, talking to those executives, so all my work has been corporate. But as I am teaching these QBQ, people used to come up and 80% of the audience are moms and dads. They come up and said I can use this at home, do you have the parenting format.



[49:48] I’ve got to tell you, I love how your book is written. You don’t belabor a point. You didn’t fill it with fluff or go so far down the rabbit hole you lost us. It’s short, poignant, actionable chapters. A fave that is a soapbox of mine is 117, “We read too many books”


[50:18] Right now, there is no one listening who is 100%, perfect in the area of personal accountability. Just as no one is perfectly healthy physically. If I had to hit on a high point for health and hit some core roots, I’d probably lead with: 1) Get more and better sleep, 2) Cut out sugar, processed food and gluten, 3) eat more veggies and 4) eat less

Those 4 things right there will increase the average American’s health by 50-75%.


[50:51] In regards to personal accountability, what are some of the number one areas we can all write down, right now, and take action on to make radical changes towards a personal accountability mindset?


[51:15] I always think it is a good to identify the negative feelings we are having, frustration, disappointment, anger, those are real things we all suffer from, write them down and then identify what you believe sources are. If leads back to an individual, ask yourself, have I been waiting on that person to change?



[53:26] So John, what about you? Even as the master and evangelist of personal accountability, where do you occasionally find yourself faltering?


[53:48] We have about 99 relationships in the family. I have 7 kids and a wife, that’s 8, we have 7 grand children that’s 15, we have four in-laws that’s 19, So you have got all types of relationship in this family. And every single one of them requires a different kind of skills, ability, attitude, techniques, maintenance. So I am constantly challenged to work in a different way to one child from another.



[56:12] So I have a one more question, decade and a half into this message, starting to reach your prime…where do you see literally the next decades in this evolution, where do you feel its going to go.


[56:35] No change, I am happy with the 5-6 books in the market and it just came out QBQ workbook. I only have 6 books and that’s it. I don’t have anything to teach but this.


[58:17] Thanks John for doing this, sharing your message, sharing your heart, complete gift.