Young Frankenstein, Smoke and Stitches

Posted on by in Remarkability

When was the last time you saw a Broadway play? Do you remember what you felt both during and after the performance? My guess is that you probably used words like, “amazing,” “breath-taking,” “inspiring,” unbelievable,” “mind-blowing,” “unforgettable,” “spine-tingling,” hilarious,” “moving,” “awesome,” or, maybe even, “remarkable!”

So what is it that drives that incredibly consistent experience that so many of us have with Broadway?” Leaving talent aside, I’d suggest that one of the keys is the attention they pay to doing the “little bit extra,” (LBEs)

For example, a few weeks ago, my family and I went on a mini-vacation to NYC. On the first evening we went to see the musical, “Young Frankenstein.” A friend of ours had seen it and highly recommended it to us–and we were not disappointed. In fact, it may be my favorite musical.

Youngfrankensteinseattle10I say that not just because we saw it recently, but because the show did everything right–and I mean everything. The set, the sound, the lighting, the characters, the dialogue, the songs, the music, the humor, the audio-visuals, the integrity to the movie, the actors, the story–it all worked. In fact, I went back and re-watched the movie afterwards and the play clearly exceeded the original. It was, without a doubt, the highlight of our NYC experience.

But there was one moment for me that encapsulated why it was so good. Well into the play, there is a short scene where the monster goes into the cabin of a blind man. It’s not a vital part of the story but as I was watching, my eye just happened to catch a “little bit extra”–there was “smoke” coming out of the chimney pipe.

It wasn’t necessary. It was just a little smoke (I’m assuming dry ice), and I wouldn’t be surprised if only a handful of us in the audience even noticed it, but it was there. Now, if no smoke came out of the chimney pipe, none of us would have cared. It was clear that this was a cabin in the woods. But the fact that someone took the time every performance to make sure that “smoke” came out of that stack, even though most patrons wouldn’t even notice it,? is the difference to me between Broadway and local theater. It was a LBE that was there primarily for the actors and tech crews–to remember to pay attention to all the “little bit extras,” that turn something from ordinary to extraordinary.

It’s like the Hall of Presidents at Disney World. If you were to look up close at the presidential figuresHouse of Presidents Disney
you’d notice that the clothes they’re wearing are made out of the same material that clothes in that period were made from and that the stitches are done the same way they were done when that figure was president.

Now, from the audience’s viewpoint, none of that is observable. However, that’s irrelevant because those “little extra things” aren’t really for us–they’re for the people who work there to remember the standard of excellence–the Disney Standard–which is doing the “little bit extras” (the LBEs).

So, as you think about your business, what are some of the LBEs (little bit extras) that could make what you do more remarkable? What LBEs could you and your team engage in to cause your clients and customers to use words like, “amazing,” “breath-taking,” “inspiring,” unbelievable,” “unforgettable,” and, “remarkable,” when they talk about you and your company?

Getting the big things right is a given. It’s the “little bit extras,” that transform client experiences from ordinary to extraordinary. So what LBEs are you going to start working on this week to make what you do more remarkable?

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