Lagniappe – do you have it?

 In Communication, Culture, Employee Retention, Leadership, Strategic Planning, Success, Trust

Lagniappe, my friend Gina from Louisiana, told me about this Cajun term. It means “a little something extra.” Don’t try to say it based on its spelling. It is pronounced lan-yap. Try saying that with your best Cajun accent.

So what does Lagniappe have to do with leadership? At this point in the game, everything. Everyone is producing good products. If you aren’t, you won’t be around long. Social media will sell you out in a New York minute. Remember the 70s when American automakers were producing junk? Honda and Toyota came along and offered well-built automobiles at reasonable prices and captured tons of market share. There was a real difference between the quality of those cars and their American counterparts. Today everyone is building good cars. So the sale requires a “little something extra.”

Chick-fil-a is a great example of this. While only operating 6 days a week, they out-sell their closest competition by 30+%. Their product is good, but not that good. Yet, if you show up anywhere close to mealtime, they have lines of cars wrapped around the building. Their customer service is that “little something extra.” They are champions of great culture.

So how do you and your team consistently produce something a little extra? Are you champions of great culture? Do you want to be?

The best way to create great culture is to step away from a top-down approach and adopt a collaborative model. Real sustainable success happens when you have a shared purpose and your team is just as committed to the mission as you are.

Shifting culture is never easy, but always worth it.

Here are three practical building blocks to creating a shared purpose:

  1. Invite your people to the conversation. Having an open door is no longer enough. You need to pursue your people and make it abundantly clear that you value their opinions and perspective.
  2. Let them solve problems. Ask questions and then don’t fill in the blanks.
  3. Empower them to own the space. Set a time for them to bring their ideas and creative solutions. Then provide them with the tools and resources they need to act on them!

Once they weigh in, they’ll buy in. Once they buy in, they’ll stay in. When you invest in developing people and creating a shared purpose together – that’s when the “little something extra” ideas emerge and set you apart from your competition.

Our favorite thing to do is bring people together to build strong teams and healthy cultures. Connect with one of our coaches to learn more about how you can build a shared purpose with your team!


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