Architects and Engineers Suffer From Mass Superiority Delusion

Mass Superiority Delusion

Architects, engineers, accountants, and attorneys suffer from mass superiority delusion. They believe that there is nobody better at what they do than themselves.

The truth is you can bet they’re not the best at what they do.The reality is there are tens, if not hundreds, of professionals just as good who have almost identical experience and expertise. And these hundreds of other individuals are convinced, beyond any doubt, that they are the best at what they do.

It gets worse. All day long, the marketers who work for these people write about how the professionals they serve are the “best in the business.” Once you write something down enough times, you start to believe it. The marketers, and I’m not immune to this, end up believing that they work for the best. They get pulled into the mass superiority delusion.

When you think about it, what results is quite ridiculous. It is like every basketball player thinking they are Micheal Jordan, every hockey player thinking they are Wayne Gretzky, every songwriter thinking they are Paul McCartney, or every writer thinking they are Mark Twain.

But wait, I bet there is a statement in that last sentence that you don’t agree with. Maybe you think Bob Dylan was a better songwriter than McCartney or Wilt Chamberlain was a better baller than Jordan.

If we can’t even discern who the best basketball player is (we have the stats, people), how can we discern who’s the best engineer? And further, how can we possibly believe that among thousands of professionals, we’re simply the best?

What’s Wrong With Believing You’re The Best?

Because of this mass superiority delusion, proposal evaluators are faced with reviewing many proposals that provide strikingly similar qualifications, all of which claim to be the clear choice. Rarely, if ever, is there a clear choice based on qualifications. So, the proposal evaluator is forced to look for another qualifier that is different.

Which element of these proposals will be unique to each submission? That’s right, price. Therefore, proposal reviewers are often forced, by you and the professionals you work with, to decide solely on price.


  1. David A Prevette says

    Dude, you misspelled Michael Jordan. He’s the GOAT, too, just sayin’

  2. Jeff Traylor says

    In my opinion price should not be a defining characteristic Quality should be the primary qualification. Experience is high on the list. References should be a factor. If the decision makers start making their decisions on pricing, they should just turn it all over to the bean counters!!! 🤠

  3. About 95% of our proposals are qualifications-based, with no price submitted until negotiations begin. How does your statement above apply when price is not a factor in the review process? I agree that it’s not enough to say your team is “the best,” you have to prove why they’re more qualified than others. I’m just thinking that there are other factors besides price that may come into play, such as how well they know your firm and your team, previous experience doing similar work, and so on.

  4. In the absence of positive differentiators, price becomes the differentiator.


  1. […] example, there’s what I call mass superiority delusion. Every architect or engineer believes their team or firm is the best. It’s known as the […]

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