Making 2017 My Year of "Personal Accountability"

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My husband is a college basketball coach. Over the holiday break, he gave each of his players a copy of the book, QBQ: The Question Behind the Question®.

He had noticed that when his players made mistakes on the court, their first response was to blame a teammate. 

By having his players read this book, my husband is hoping his players will start asking “What more can I do?” before questioning a teammate. 

When I saw my husband’s copy of this book lying around the house, I was grabbed by the tagline on its cover: “Practicing Personal Accountability at Work and in Life.”

So, I started reading and didn’t stop until I had read the entire book. Admittedly, the book is a short and engaging read. But, what held my attention was the timeliness of its message. At the beginning of the book, author John G. Miller writes that the book is for “anyone who’s ever heard or asked questions like these:

  • When will that department do its job right?
  • Why don’t they communicate better?
  • Who dropped the ball?
  • Why do we have to go through all this change?
  • Why can’t we find better people?
  • Who’s going to give us a clear vision?”

These kinds of questions are all too familiar to me. Just a few weeks back, I completed a self-assessment of my 2016 work performance. When I saw areas where my performance fell short of my expectations, my mind flooded with reasons why it wasn’t my fault. But, Miller argues in his book that it is much more productive for me to turn my “thinking around and ask more personally accountable questions.” So, this is what I plan to do. So that I won’t be as tempted to play the blame game come the end of 2017, I am committing to asking myself “What can I do?” throughout the year.

If I’ve piqued your interest, check out the QBQ book to learn how you can ask more personally accountable questions as you work towards smashing your performance objectives in 2017. And, register for our next human capital management webinar: Don’t Let People Challenges Get in the Way of Success. In this 30-minute, member webinar, I will share the results of our People Challenges* at Work Poll. You will hear about:

  • the top people challenges faced at work, 
  • how these challenges are affecting workers and organizations, and
  • three types of interventions that can make a difference.

If you are a people manager, in particular, I hope you will find these three types of interventions personally empowering as you work towards your goals in 2017.


People challenges at work are instances where the action or inaction of other employees makes it more challenging for an individual to achieve his or her work goals. APQC’s People Challenges Poll specifically explored challenges that workers face with the people they manage and the people who manage them.

*Stay up to date with APQC’s human capital management research, webinars, and more by visiting our HCM expertise page.

Follow me on Twitter: @ElissaTucker


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