Have you ever heard questions like these?  (I am sure you have never asked them yourself)

  • Why do we have to go through all this change?
  • When is somebody going to train me?
  • Who dropped the ball?
  • When is that department going to do its job right?
  • Who’s going to solve the problem?
  • When are they going to tell us what’s going on?

John Miller, author of QBQ calls these kinds of questions “I.Q.” questions.  No, not “Intelligent Quotient” questions but rather “Incorrect Questions.”    I.Q. questions are really “victim questions.”  You can ask I.Q. questions forever without ever causing anything to change.

John teaches us how to ask “Correct Questions” that is “QBQ–Question Behind the Question” type questions.  Let me explain:  When someone asks, “When is somebody going to train me?” the real issue behind their question is “Training.”  They could ask “When is somebody going to train me?” forever and still not ever get trained.  But when they ask the “Correct Question,” for example “What could I do to get trained?”, they are asking a question that they can do something about.  As they answer their own question they might realize that they:

  • Could ask their Supervisor what training resources might be available.
  • Could investigate what training might be available on the internet.
  • Could invite an experienced co-worker to lunch to ask for their assistance.

The key is for all of us to learn how to ask “Correct Questions.”  John shares three simple guidelines for creating a QBQ:

  1. Begin with “What” or “How” (not “Why,” “When,” or “Who”).
  2. Contain an “I” (not “they,” “them,” “we,” or “you”).
  3. Focus on action.

“What can I do?” for example follows the guidelines perfectly.  It begins with “What,” contains an “I,” and focuses on action!

You are no doubt already understanding how QBQ instantly moved to one of my top five most favorite Leadership books!  All “Leadership” really needs to start with “Self-Leadership” doesn’t it?

John says, “QBQ is an idea that you’ll want everyone to use…but you should try first!”

Oh—if you were to think, “I am sure that Bob always asks ‘Correct Questions’!”—well you would be wrong.  Earlier this year I had to laugh at myself—for several months I had been asking “Incorrect Questions” regarding a certain situation I was experiencing.  Then one day I really felt the nudge of the Holy Spirit as I sensed He was asking me what kinds of questions had I been asking?  A big smile quickly broke out on my face (I had been asking I.Q’s) and I immediately applied the three guidelines for asking a “QBQ” and with delight I quickly saw the way forward.

You will want to check out John Miller’s QBQ website:  http://www.qbq.com/

Bob Tiede


Bob has been on the staff of Cru for 52 years. He currently serves on the U.S. Leadership Development Team and is passionate about seeing leaders grow and multiply their effectiveness. Bob and his wife, Sherry, live in Plano, TX and are blessed with 4 incredible children and 8 remarkable grandchildren.


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6 thoughts on “What’s your I.Q.? (No, not your Intelligence Quotient, Your Incorrect Question Quotient?)

  1. Leo L. says:

    Great post Bob. This book has changed my life. Since reading it, not a day has gone by where I don’t stop to ask myself “Am I asking the right question here?” It has literally opened doors. It’s amazing how things can change when you take accountability and take action.

  2. Leo, you are most welcome! I will also pass on your affirming words to my friend John Miller–he will be most appreciative! Also your question: “Am I asking the right question here?” is one I am going to borrow! What other questions do you frequently use? I want to learn from you! Bob Tiede

    1. Leo L. says:

      Thanks a lot Bob, to answer your question about questions, I like to use “How can I do this better?” or “What more can I be doing?”. And just like John explains it in his book, both questions initiate action, and bring the ball into my court.

    2. Thanks so much Leo! 3 great questions! You are a good man!

  3. Yes, Leo has articulated two perfectly constructed QBQs. I bet he’s read the QBQ! book … twice! Leo, join us as well at QBQ.com/quicknotes. Mr. Tiede gets them!

  4. Leo L. says:

    I already have Mr. John, I love reading your quicknotes, Facebook posts, and Twitter updates. Keep up the great work!

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