3 Minute Read
If you don’t get the answers you’re looking for, maybe you’re asking the wrong questions.
That’s true in business—and in life.
It’s also the premise behind the gem of a little book called QBQ! The Question Behind the Question. It’s so good that all new team members are required to read it when they join Ramsey Solutions. And it should be on your list of must-reads this year—maybe even this week.
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What Questions Are You Asking of Others?
It’s an easy read. You can get through it in a couple of nights—even if you have kids. The idea is simple: The root of many problems in business (and in life) is a lack of personal responsibility. Blame, complaining, and the victim mentality can wreck the progress of any company—not to mention any marriage or friendship. This lack of responsibility rears its ugly head in the questions we ask when something goes haywire:
- "Who dropped the ball?"
- "Why don’t they communicate with us better?"
- "When will those people get it right?"
- "Why can’t we find better people?"
- "Why do we have to go through all this change?"
These questions put the responsibility on others so you don’t have to deal with it. It’s someone else’s problem to solve or fault to fix. With that mindset, nobody wins.
Ask Better Questions of Yourself
The solution? Ask better questions—specifically, ask what you can do. In business and in life, change happens when you stop looking to everybody else for solutions and start looking at how you can improve the situation or solve the problem. The right kind of question—the question behind the question (QBQ)—comes in three parts:
- Begins with "What" or "How" (not "Why" or "When")
- Uses the word "I" (not the mysterious "he," "she" or "they")
- Focuses on an action
Good questions look like this:
- "How can I do my job better today?"
- "What can I do to improve the situation?"
- "How can I help?"
- "How can I improve myself today?"
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Do you see the difference? It’s about taking responsibility and choosing to be an active participant in your life and work. It means saying goodbye to excuses and blame. It means looking at situations through the lens of possibility instead of pessimism.
When you ask the right questions, you take action instead of waiting for someone else to decide your fate. You learn and grow. You act in courage instead of fear and walk in confidence instead of self-doubt. You become the best version of yourself instead of settling for mediocre.
So the final question is this: Are you ready to start asking the right questions?