Zero-Defects Mentality

Zero-Defects Mentality. Psychology Fanatic article header image

Zero-Defects Mentality exists in command-and control environments that do not tolerate mistakes. Science has found these structures to be ineffective in both military and corporate life.

Zero-Defects Mentality infects more than business and large social structures; it also invades our homes through authoritarian parenting, abusive partners, and internal perfectionist attitudes towards ourselves.

Zero defects is a way of thinking and doing that reinforces the notion that defects are not acceptable, and that everyone should “do things right the first time.” The idea here is that with a philosophy of zero defects, you can increase profits by eliminating the cost of failure and increasing revenues through increased customer satisfaction. ~Mind Tools

The negative impact of a zero-defects mentality can include careerism, reduced motivation and stifled innovation. Individuals feel neither empowered by their successes nor accountable for their failures because there is no intrinsic value in the work.

See Self Determination Theory for more on this topic

Encouraging innovation, thought and creativity requires ditching zero-defects mentalities for courageous explorations in possibility.

An Inner Tyrant Demanding Perfection

Sometimes the intolerance for defects comes from inside our own head. We chastise ourselves for every deviation from the perfection of the ego ideal. Our harshness, however, does little to force improvement. Our toxic inner environment stymies growth, limits opportunity, and depresses the soul. The self-deprecating judge, demanding perfection must be silenced in order for us to flourish.

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