You Ain’t That Different


One of my favorite author/speakers is John Miller with QBQ, Inc. QBQ is all about personal accountability and how important it is for each of us. John and his materials are wonderful. I just read a post where he discusses how so many organizations say things like “we’re different than others” (other industries, other companies, etc.). When in reality…. their “unique” organization is full of people. And guest what… people are people! Human organizations are composed of PEOPLE. My experience these past 20+ years has absolutely confirmed his conclusion.   Enjoy…

6 Costs of a Dangerous Way of Thinking

Have you heard this?

“If you don’t like the weather, just wait five minutes!”

Sorry to offend those who think their weather is “all that,” but Karen and I have lived in Montana, Missouri, Minnesota, and Colorado since 1980, and in each locale that claim has been made.

Not sure why people think their weather is unique. Maybe it’s a result of growing up in one region of the country and never moving from there. I don’t know.

It’s not a bad thing to say, of course. It’s just … “uninformed.” 🙂

But there is another uninformed statement people make that is a bad thing to say. I’ve heard it in the computer industry, oil and gas field, funeral home business, faith-based world, and the restaurant market. It’s this:

We’re different.

No, you’re not. Sorry.

When prospective clients contact QBQ, Inc. about speaking at their organization, sometimes they ask, “Have you ever spoken in our industry?”

Our response is a polite, “Well, do you have … people?”

Let me be clear:

People = Problems

People = Problems

People = Problems

People = Problems

People = Problems

No, that isn’t a typing error. That’s the repetition required for people who erroneously believe their industry, market, organization, region, district, branch, department, or team is “different.”

The “we’re different” mindset hurts us in many ways, possibly the costliest is we always have an excuse for failure at our disposal.

“Hey, it’s not our fault that we didn’t achieve the target, goal, or objective! You see … we’re different!”

Here are 5 more costs of believing that we’re different:

Commonsense ideas that work elsewhere are rejected.

Arrogance becomes a roadblock to learning.

A changing marketplace is not adapted to.

Opportunities are not seen or seized.

Problems are denied.

Just as the Millers know from living in many states that weather can change quickly anywhere, I arrived at my You’re not different! belief by calling on hundreds of organizations while selling leadership training. In doing so, I invested 10,000 hours in workshops listening to …


What I heard from every group is what we at QBQ, Inc. call “Incorrect Questions” or “IQs.” (tutorial here)

Here are just five IQs:

“Why do we have to go through all this change?”

“When is someone going to train me?”

“Who dropped the ball?”

“When will that department do its job right?”

“Why can’t we find good people?”

These Incorrect Questions are dangerous because they lead the individuals who ask them to Victim Thinking, Procrastination, and Blame. When individuals go there, so do our organizations.

Then our organizations have problems.


The bottomline:

When people practice personal accountability, organizational problems can be solved.

So, there’s good and bad news …

The bad news is just as there will always be weather, there will always be people—and problems.

The good news is if you have people and problems, you’re no different than anyone else.

Two Questions:

Does your organization struggle with a “we’re different” mindset? Explain.

We list above 6 costs of  “we’re different” thinking. Can you add one or two to our list?


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