Kinnaird: What’s Your Secret Sauce?


A look at the reason behind why companies are successful

We are honoring the best places to work in the Shreveport-Bossier area. Many of the submitted nominations described how wonderful the culture is at their office. After all, it makes getting up a lot easier if you actually enjoy the people you work with and like how you are being treated! A great office culture is one of the key elements to a company’s long term success.

Recently I interviewed a number of local business owners about why they thought they were successful. In other words, what was their secret sauce? They, too, chalked it up to the culture they cultivated. They worked hard to make sure everyone felt like part of the team, they were appreciated as “family members”, and they spent time developing each person. Isn’t that worth getting up for in the morning?

That family feeling is what I remember most about the companies I’ve worked for. I’ve been blessed to have worked with one of the top Fortune 500 companies (IBM) and to have worked for a fantastic, small, software sales and training company. In each case it was the culture and the family I built with fellow employees that kept me going on days when the going got tough. And it’s what keeps a lot of your employees going, too. One of my friends calls it, “creating a culture of kindness.” You can put up with a lot of less-than-ideal-conditions if you’re appreciated.

At least, some people will feel that way. There are always those who see the glass half empty, who complain a lot or only are in it for the money. They don’t want to be part of your team, they aren’t willing to put in extra effort, and they’re toxic to the rest of your employees. A great business leader will either work to develop that person or eventually know to cut the ties.

In my interviews I asked what business owners did to develop a positive culture. Their responses sound pretty easy to do!

Most had employee lunches during the year, dinners once a year (often including spouses/dates), parties with family for the holidays, and typically a summer picnic or crawfish boil. Other key things mentioned were regular meetings between employees and their managers and lots of access to personal development, conferences and training.

Keeping the best people well educated, motivated and buying into your business mission will go a long way to giving YOU the best culture out there.

Amy Kinnaird is a Business Strategist & Speaker. Amy mentors small business CEO’s and works with their teams to improve processes and professionalism so that they are more profitable! Call her at 318-795-0520 or visit