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The Difference Between “Wow” and “How” People

Robert Carnes
Robert Carnes Tuesday July 17, 2018
<? echo $type; ?> The Difference Between “Wow” and “How” People

Aren’t there always two different type of people? Leaders and followers. Introverts and extroverts. Givers and takers. It seems like we find plenty of ways to divide ourselves into two groups based on oversimplifications.

I bet you can think of plenty more examples. But here’s one more categorization that you may not have heard of before. There are two kinds of people in the world—”Wow” people and “How” people.

You may already be familiar with this concept. You may call it something else. Or you may be completely confused. Either way, these two kinds of people can make a big difference in our relationships. Allow me to explain.

The Difference Between Wow and How

Wow People are visionaries. They’re full of ideas. They dream big. They’re ambitious and inspirational. You know the kind of people I’m talking about. However, these idealists don’t always follow through on their big ideas and dreams.

How People are doers. They know how to get things done. They’re practical and realistic. They work hard to ensure that the visions of the Wow People actually happen. But their pragmatism often limits their true potential.

The difference between Wow and How is all about the way people approach an idea. Do your goals start crazy big and then slowly become more realistic? Or do you dream more practically at first and then work your way toward a more ambitious end?

People Working Together

Wow People and How People don’t always see eye to eye. There’s a natural tension between the two sides.

Wow People can be too whimsical, while How People can be too narrow-minded. Wow People can have their heads in the clouds, while Wow People have their heads in the sand. Wow People are unproductive, and How People are dream crushers.

Wow and How can be in conflict—pulling in different directions with no forward progress. The two perspectives can work against one another. Or these two forces can work in coordination to move us forward stronger than ever. We can use these differences to balance each other out.

The key to working together harmoniously is understanding the other person’s perspective. Realize they aren’t approaching an idea or challenge in the same way you are. Be open to their position. Respect their mindset. You can meet in the middle if you find ways to agree.

This is true of business relationships, marriages, friendships, and mentorships. In each of these instances, we can be each others yin and yang. It’s not always easy to find an equilibrium between the two, but there’s great potential when we do.


If there are always two kinds of people in the world, there’s always going to be a third kind of person who breaks the rules. In this instance, these are the Chameleons.

Chameleons can be both Wow People and How People. They change to adapt to approaching ideas. They have the ability to see things from either perspective. The key to this shift is the context they’re in.

For example, my boss at Orange is 100 percent a Wow Person—he has limitless ideas and inspirational energy. My job is to help harness this energy and execute on some of the ideas he comes up with. This doesn’t mean I can’t come up with my own ideas, or that he doesn’t do any of the work. But if my first approach was to Wow, then we wouldn’t get any work done.

However, in my freelance work, I’m much more of a Wow Person. I come up with lots of different business ideas. And I have to be my own How Person to figure out which of them I can actually accomplish. Out of necessity, I have to shift between the two aspects to achieve more.

You might be a How Person, a Wow Person, or somewhere in between. Either way, understanding how you and others approach ideas is crucial to working together toward a common goal.

Which one are you: a Wow person, or a How person?

Robert Carnes is the Church Engagement Director for Orange Leaders. He's the author of The Original Storyteller, a devotional for leaders who want to become better storytellers. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and daughter.