It only takes one minute.  That’s the premise behind the “One Minute Manager” series of books from my friend Ken Blanchard who shares the concepts of one-minute goals, one-minute praisings, and one-minute reprimands.

A few years ago I learned another lesson from Ken that was just as simple and profound.

My friend Joe Battaglia and I had the privilege of spending several days in San Diego to help Ken Blanchard develop the national radio campaign for “Lead Like Jesus.”  As we brainstormed ideas, Ken shared his experience of training the staff of the recently opened Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres baseball club.  They began with the end in mind.

What do we want fans to say when they are leaving the ballpark?

Now, keep in mind that the stadium staff had no control over whether the Padres won or lost, no influence on how interesting the game was.  The only thing the stadium staff could influence was the experience fans had at the ballpark, win or lose, rain or shine.

The exercise Ken walked them through posed the question, “What do we want them to say when they are leaving the ballpark?”  It culminated with the response:

“I want to come back and bring a friend.”

That one sentence crystallized their definition of success.  The staff then went to work on creating the experiences that could result in what they had imagined in the first place.

In all our discussions about creating word of mouth, maybe we should occasionally talk about what we hope they’ll say.