The One Thing You Need to Create Wow Experiences

Recently, I had an interesting conversation with one of our editors at Thomas Nelson. He had just finished a new manuscript from one of our biggest authors. I asked, “So what did you think?”

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/morgani, Image #6193434

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/morgani

“Honestly?” he replied, slightly hesitant.

“Yes. I want the truth,” I assured him.

“Not great.”

My heart sank, knowing that we had invested a great deal of money in this book and were counting on significant sales from it.

“Okay … so what’s wrong with it?” I asked, not knowing if I really wanted the truth.

“I dunno,” he stuttered. “It just feels like the same ol’ same ol’. I didn’t really see anything new here that he hasn’t said before.”

“That’s a problem,” I said, stating the obvious. “This project is too important to settle for anything less than wow.”

Inevitably, I almost always get to this point in a project. It’s a kind of “fork in the road.” I have a choice—you have a choice—either we can press on toward wow. Or, or we can settle for something less than wow.

In my experience, there are at least five obstacles to creating wow experiences:

  1. Often, we simply run out of time. The deadline looms. We are scrambling to get the product out the door. Or, we have to wrap up the service, so we can get to the next client before he starts complaining. We simply don’t have the time to give the job our best effort. So, we let it go. Half-baked. Before it is really done.
  2. Sometimes, the problem is resources. We’d like to do a better job. We sincerely want to take it to the next level. But we just don’t have the money or the man-power. We rationalize by saying, I did the best I could do with the resources I had. And again, we let it go and turn our attention to the next project or client in the queue.
  3. Occasionally, we don’t have sufficient experience. We just don’t know how to do what we know needs to be done. Our vision exceeds our know-how. We know what the product or service could deliver, but we don’t have the knowledge, the skills, or the experience to get us there. So, we settle for something less than our vision demands.
  4. Too often, we acquiesce to the committee. Perhaps we are a little unsure of ourselves. Everyone else seems to like it, we say to ourselves. Maybe they’re right. There are a lot of smart people in this room. C’mon, just let it go! And, so we do. We dial back our own vision for what could be and succumb to the collective judgment of the group.
  5. But the biggest obstacle of all is fear. In fact, I would say that this is the primary obstacle. If we are honest, we must admit that the previous four items are only excuses. If we had enough courage, we would find the time, the resources or the experience. We would stand up to the committee. We wouldn’t settle for something less than wow.

But what are we really afraid of? Perhaps we fear losing our job, our client, or our influence. Maybe we don’t want to be thought of as unreasonable or demanding. We are afraid of what others might say behind our back. Instead, we want to be liked.

Regardless, if we are going to create wow experiences, we must become courageous. This is a personal, psychological bridge we need to cross. What we want to create—that wow experience—is on the other side of the ravine. There’s no other way to get there from here.

So how can we become more courageous? That will be the subject of tomorrow’s post.

Question: Which obstacle to wow do you struggle with the most?
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  • http://www.yinkaolaito.com/ yinka olaito

    Michael thanks for this article, I think I will keep working on time, resources and fear.

  • http://www.yinkaolaito.com/ yinka olaito

    Michael thanks for this article, I think I will keep working on time, resources and fear.

  • DKT

    Do you think lack of courage is a bigger obstacle than the lack of truly great ideas? In my opinion, the purple cow is becoming increasingly more elusive. The courage to DO the crazy things, at least for our organization, has never been a challenge. Give us a truly unique idea, and we'll make it happen!

  • DKT

    Do you think lack of courage is a bigger obstacle than the lack of truly great ideas? In my opinion, the purple cow is becoming increasingly more elusive. The courage to DO the crazy things, at least for our organization, has never been a challenge. Give us a truly unique idea, and we'll make it happen!

  • http://building-his-body.blogspot.com/ Anne Lang Bundy

    As an author, the biggest obstacle comes down to how much of myself, my soul, I'll drive myself to expend.

    Walter Wellesley "Red" Smith says, "There's nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein." This is the kind of writing produces WOW, but it doesn't come cheap to the writer.

    Passion drives WOW, and I believe it comes from God.

  • http://building-his-body.blogspot.com/ Anne Lang Bundy

    As an author, the biggest obstacle comes down to how much of myself, my soul, I'll drive myself to expend.

    Walter Wellesley "Red" Smith says, "There's nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein." This is the kind of writing produces WOW, but it doesn't come cheap to the writer.

    Passion drives WOW, and I believe it comes from God.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/chownage Chownage

    Question for me is, what did you do with the book?

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      We have gone back to the author and with the message, "This is not ready for prime time."

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/chownage Chownage

    Question for me is, what did you do with the book?

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      We have gone back to the author and with the message, "This is not ready for prime time."

  • http://www.intensedebate.com/people/makasha makasha

    This is relevant. I am at a crossroads where fear and the lack of resources prevent me from taking hold of my dream. It also provokes a spirit of procrastination which in turn causes my time to run out. Instead of doing what I love I play video games, watch tv or veg out.

    Because of this post, I've decided to implement the principles of a training module I created for administrative professionals – Manage Yourself, Not Your Time. I realize that in order for me to be taken seriously, I must apply my knowledge and beliefs to my life, my family, and my carreer.

    Thanks for the nudge.

  • http://www.intensedebate.com/people/makasha makasha

    This is relevant. I am at a crossroads where fear and the lack of resources prevent me from taking hold of my dream. It also provokes a spirit of procrastination which in turn causes my time to run out. Instead of doing what I love I play video games, watch tv or veg out.

    Because of this post, I've decided to implement the principles of a training module I created for administrative professionals – Manage Yourself, Not Your Time. I realize that in order for me to be taken seriously, I must apply my knowledge and beliefs to my life, my family, and my carreer.

    Thanks for the nudge.

  • http://www.ecoquestintl.com/jimhandi Jim Oberschmidt

    Yes, courage, it bears repeating, though time, resources, and the committee of they, are formidable opponents, one's "why" will inspire the fortitude if it is of sufficient mass and one will keep it in focus. To tomorrow, may it exceed all our expectations. Thank you Mike. jim

  • http://www.ecoquestintl.com/jimhandi Jim Oberschmidt

    Yes, courage, it bears repeating, though time, resources, and the committee of they, are formidable opponents, one's "why" will inspire the fortitude if it is of sufficient mass and one will keep it in focus. To tomorrow, may it exceed all our expectations. Thank you Mike. jim

  • http://www.scanmonkeys.com/ Brian J. Smith

    I think fear is a huge element in keeping us away from wow. As a young business owner, it is hard to have the experience that seasoned professionals have. We finally made a decision to step out and try an idea that had been floating around for a while. And it's working great.

    Our document scanning company is called Scan Monkeys and we had wanted to stop by potential clients' offices with some information about what we do. We were looking for a creative way to do get out our message. We finally mustered up enough courage to pass out bananas with our cards and some info. People love it and are setting up follow up appointments left and right.

  • http://www.scanmonkeys.com Brian J. Smith

    I think fear is a huge element in keeping us away from wow. As a young business owner, it is hard to have the experience that seasoned professionals have. We finally made a decision to step out and try an idea that had been floating around for a while. And it's working great.

    Our document scanning company is called Scan Monkeys and we had wanted to stop by potential clients' offices with some information about what we do. We were looking for a creative way to do get out our message. We finally mustered up enough courage to pass out bananas with our cards and some info. People love it and are setting up follow up appointments left and right.

  • http://leadercast.com/ alex

    My biggest thing is having the lack of time. The sad thing is, I know this, and I know that I can create more time for myself. Thanks for the post, and thanks for reminding me what areas of my life I need to improve to have more WOW experiences!

  • http://leadercast.com/ alex

    My biggest thing is having the lack of time. The sad thing is, I know this, and I know that I can create more time for myself. Thanks for the post, and thanks for reminding me what areas of my life I need to improve to have more WOW experiences!

  • http://www.nateagilmer.com/ Nathan Gilmer

    I relate to this post so much. I am a very social person and the thought of having people not like me or think I am crazy for pursing something passionately is very scary to me.
    Cant wait to read the next post.

  • http://www.nateagilmer.com Nathan Gilmer

    I relate to this post so much. I am a very social person and the thought of having people not like me or think I am crazy for pursing something passionately is very scary to me.
    Cant wait to read the next post.

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  • Femi Popoola

    Michael,you're right about fear.It's true that we can do a lot more if we are not afraid of anything.

  • Femi Popoola

    Michael,you're right about fear.It's true that we can do a lot more if we are not afraid of anything.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/rodlie rodlie

    so what ended up happening? i'm dying to find out with the author!

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/rodlie rodlie

    so what ended up happening? i'm dying to find out with the author!

  • Pauline

    As I read this the line from the Christian song popped into my head …'that lacks the courage to be free'… It takes courage to be different and boldness to step onto a new place, even if,as Christans, we know that we not in the situation alone.

  • Pauline

    As I read this the line from the Christian song popped into my head …'that lacks the courage to be free'… It takes courage to be different and boldness to step onto a new place, even if,as Christans, we know that we not in the situation alone.

  • http://www.MooreNovels.com/ A.C. Moore

    I don't know. I worked really hard to find and build on the Wow factor and I still can't get a agent / publisher to take me on. I went a head and self published. I'm selling and getting feedback and it is working. I don't know if its just not my time or is there something else. I recall one day going to a writing workshop and had the chance to listen to a panel of agents who were talking about what they like / don't like and I asked have any of you ever turned down an author and have that author find representation elsewhere and they are now doing well? One agent said yes and said she turned down Stephenie Meyer, author of the Twilight series. Is that a big mistake or what? Before I get too long and lose you, I'd like for you to check out my book's hook. but the best way is for you to see the 40 second trailer on youtube – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWqJdOXEU74. If that doesn't wow you, I am out of ammunition.

  • http://www.MooreNovels.com/ A.C. Moore

    I don't know. I worked really hard to find and build on the Wow factor and I still can't get a agent / publisher to take me on. I went a head and self published. I'm selling and getting feedback and it is working. I don't know if its just not my time or is there something else. I recall one day going to a writing workshop and had the chance to listen to a panel of agents who were talking about what they like / don't like and I asked have any of you ever turned down an author and have that author find representation elsewhere and they are now doing well? One agent said yes and said she turned down Stephenie Meyer, author of the Twilight series. Is that a big mistake or what? Before I get too long and lose you, I'd like for you to check out my book's hook. but the best way is for you to see the 40 second trailer on youtube – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWqJdOXEU74. If that doesn't wow you, I am out of ammunition.

  • Christina

    by any chance have you been reading Seth Godin? sounds similar. Great photo of you. I've never approached Thomas Nelson BECAUSE it's a same old same old…a tiny bit away from the remarkable, new Christian in the world. I haven't found a window to the soul of company that looks open to new, innovative and marketable Christian ideas. If there is one, and I've just missed it, my apologies. I would have sent my book long ago. Best and I am grateful to have found your blog. Excellent work, words and insights from you – I appreciate your blog immensely. Christina

  • http://twitter.com/ryshaffer @ryshaffer

    Great post. Think #5 is what inhibits people the most, because like you said we would find the time, resources etc., if we could overcome the fear. That's what it's all about though right ? Taking steps each day to beat that fear and produce something better than we have before. thanks

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  • http://twitter.com/2020VisionBook Joshua Hood

    The great danger is settling for less; being satisfied with ‘good enough’. Meet the deadline. Fill the gap. Survive the project. It takes extra work and effort; blood, sweat, and tears, to declare that “Good isn’t good enough!” and create the WOW.

    Joshua Hood
    2020visiononline.org

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