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

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:  If you were to ask: “When is somebody going to train me?” the real issue behind your question is “Training.”  You can ask “When is somebody going to train me?” forever and still not ever get trained.  But when you ask the “Correct Question,” for example “What could I do to get trained?”, you are asking a question that you can do something about.

As you answer your own question you might realize that you:

  • Could ask your Supervisor what training resources might be available.
  • Could investigate what training might be available online.
  • Could invite an experienced co-worker to lunch to ask if she/he would train you.

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.


John G. Miller is the author of QBQ! The Question Behind the Question, Flipping the Switch: Unleash the Power of Personal Accountability, Outstanding! 47 Ways to Make Your Organization Exceptional and co-author of Parenting the QBQ Way.    And his just released The QBQ Workbook.  You will find all of John’s books available for sale @ QBQ.com  

John is founder of QBQ, Inc., an organizational development firm based in Colorado dedicated to “Helping Organizations Make Personal Accountability a Core Value.” A 1980 graduate of Cornell University, John has been involved in the training and speaking industry since 1986. He lives in Denver, Colorado with his wife, Karen. They have seven children and seven grandkids.  You can also connect with John on Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn.


Bob Tiede


Bob has been on the staff of Cru for 48 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 6 remarkable grandchildren.


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