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?”
“Honestly?” he replied, slightly hesitant.
“Yes. I want the truth,” I assured him.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.