Delusions of Adequacy

June 22nd, 2007 by Nick Jacobs Leave a reply »

Have any of you noticed how bad customer service has become in recent years?  It is absolutely inconceivable when you place an order for three things and all three are incorrect and/or incomplete.  It’s unconscionable, but, unfortunately, more and more it is becoming a daily reality in our lives. 

Most of these problems seem to have been created by individuals who suffer from a very common disorder, the delusion of adequacy.  It is difficult to explain to people that this state exists; in fact, we Baby Boomers may have unwittingly contributed to it through our child rearing experiments. 

The everyone gets a trophy syndrome was intended to ensure that no child was made to feel like a loser.  A noble experiment intended to produce happiness all around. The problem was, everyone felt like a winner  . . . even when they weren’t, and now we are all suffering from it because, like it or not, there are hundreds of thousands of people who have not honed their skills, not adequately practiced their craft, not developed their knowledge base who, worst of all, go blindly through life believing that they rock.  Heck, they have the trophies to prove it! 

13th_place_trophyThis delusional state doesn’t just exist with kids.  Unfortunately, many adults have their trophy rooms filled with decorative examples of their prowess, yet they can’t write a complete sentence, finish a job on time or ?and this is especially difficult ?are incapable of introspection and blame everyone else for their shortcomings.  Delusions of adequacy.

This is not intended to be a scathing indictment of all of mankind, but it is just pointing out a challenging situation that is becoming more difficult for managers and leaders everywhere.  How do you get six sigma results if the people that you need to do the job have determined that two and a half sigma is perfectly okay. 

Maybe, just maybe, we should let people know when it’s not working.  Maybe we have been politically correct for too long.  Maybe we should stand up for ourselves and demand better service, better products or better care . . . or maybe we need to take a nap, chill out and learn to be more accepting of this condition because it sure doesn’t seem to be going away.



  1. Rita Schwab - MSSPNexus says:


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  3. Carolyn Kent says:

    Very well said! One of your best entries yet.

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  5. Shizu says:

    Very interesting… but is there something like “delusions of inadequacy”? I’m curious.

  6. good post, very insightful, thanks

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