• 2019-10-01

The Hidden Power of Generosity

Have you ever experienced “lagniappe”?  And how did it make you feel? 

First-time visitors to Louisiana will experience the magic of lagniappe whenever a vendor throws in “a little extra something special”, like that 13th donut that makes a baker’s dozen. Or the unbelievable mountains of sugar heaped on the beignets at legendary Café du Monde. 

A Cajun word (pronounced LAN-yap), it also serves as the perfect way to describe how acts of generosity are part of our inborn DNA and how you and I can make a positive impression on this spinning world – both personally and professionally.

According to the University of Notre Dame’s Science of Generosity Project, generosity is defined as the virtue of “giving good things to others freely and abundantly”.

And prioritizing the needs of others, often above your own. While academics clinically refer to “altruism” and “prosocial behavior, I see lagniappe as more of a down-home way to capture the essence of generosity; everything from charitable donations to volunteering for a cause or helping hungry strangers and stranded travelers.

True lagniappe is never faked or forced.  For lagniappe to work, it must be just that — real and offered without any strings of expectation.

For years, small companies and large corporations have known that charitable giving is also good for business. But, just like a lot of things these days, the yardsticks are being moved and a new playing field is being created.  Because the very nature of what we call “community” has changed, it’s not enough anymore to just cut a cheque and feel that you have done your part. Thanks to our interconnected global village, we now live in a world where "community” is no longer defined by the area code in which we reside. 

And that’s especially true for younger generations who see themselves as global citizens who care deeply about issues happening far beyond any geographic borders. 

Forward-thinking leaders will be curious to know how they can adapt to these changing conditions as well as the emerging science that argues Generosity is the Future of Brand-Building on this edition of Leaders & Legends.

“You make all kinds of mistakes, but as long as you are generous and true you cannot hurt the world or even seriously distress her."   


p.s…. Any business and brand-building strategy that includes the magic of “lagniappe” will reap the bottom-line benefits that occur from factors such as Differentiation, Customer Retention, Increased Referrals and Better Morale. But, I am always curious to know about the stories that you have experienced first-hand. 

What you have noticed with companies and organizations who are spicing things up with a little lagniappe and how did they make you feel? 

Why not share their story with us and spread the goodwill they are creating with other folks who also welcome the gift of these types of good news stories that brighten any day.  



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**Big shout out to Josh Parlee at CreoVisuals for creating the video above (and all videos we produce).  If you need a video genius (we're not kidding), contact Josh here.