Beware of the “Ikea Effect."

It’s the term psychologists are using for the feeling we get when we spend hours or days on a project – and no matter how it turns out, we love what we’ve accomplished. For example: Whether it’s a table we built that turns out crooked – or a work report that’s full of typos – we take one look at what we’ve created, and think it’s the work of genius! That’s the Ikea Effect in action.

As you can probably guess, the term gets its name from the popular Swedish furniture store, which offers thousands of items that we assemble at home. And the Ikea Effect is the reason a growing number of stores are offering “build your own” products - like Build-A-Bear, which lets kids design their own teddy bears. It’s because studies have shown that we attach greater value to things we built, than if someone else built the very same product. Psychologists say it’s because when we build our own stuff, it boosts our feeling of pride, and signals to others that we’re competent.

But that’s not always a good thing. In fact, the Ikea Effect explains why some managers fall in love with their own ideas – while rejecting ideas from others – even if they’re better.

It’s also why some of us keep working on projects for months – or even years – even when others say we’re wasting our time. Because where others see flaws, we see a masterpiece – since it’s the fruit of our own labor.

So if you really want an accurate opinion of your work, you need to get objective feedback from an outsider. Otherwise, you may fall victim to the Ikea Effect.