People often overrate themselves, not in rocket science, but in areas of their lives more familiar to them. For example:

  • Some 90% of Americans rate their driving skills as above average.
  • About the same percentage of people think they're more popular or more likely to succeed than the average person.
  • In one study, ¼ of the respondents rated themselves in the top one percent in terms of leadership ability.

Obviously, a lot of those people are seriously wrong.

The same level of misguided beliefs shows up when corporate executives rate their skills at merger integration. I’ve watched it for three decades now, and the pattern stays the same ...