As I was driving around my city I noticed that a number of the schools were pretty happy about something. They had signs out front proclaiming rather boldly:

We made AYP!

Eventually one of my friends tweeted about the signs, wondering what it meant, so I decided to pay a visit to my good friend Google. Turns out that AYP stands for “Adequate Yearly Progress” and is the standard by which schools are measured as a part of the No Child Left Behind Act.



That’s the best we could come up with? This is not a statement on the No Child Left Behind Act or the politics and ideas behind it. But couldn’t we come up with a better term? Excellent? Stellar? Heck, even “above average” would be better than…adequate.

In my mind, adequate means “just enough to get by”. In the world of business, it’s like doing just enough to keep your job. Not going above and beyond. Doing the bare minimum necessary.

Do you want people telling you that your product is adequate? Do you want a review on Yelp that proclaims your customer service as adequate? Sure, it’s better than a negative review, but I think it’s easier to respond to a negative review than it is to dig yourself out of a reputation of adequacy. Don’t we want more from our schools and businesses?

You may not have the World’s Best Cup of Coffee, but would you hang a sign on your door proclaiming, “We’re Adequate!”?

This brings to mind an episode of one of my favorite shows, NewsRadio, where anchor Bill McNeill has to put his own spin on being described as “adequate”.

Are you settling for adequacivity? Do you try to astonish the world with feats of adequataquaticism? Are you bursting with adequatulence?

Shouldn’t we be striving for more in all that we do?