Ideal Outcomes

Lessons from “The Big Easy” to Build a Thriving Organizational Culture

by Jason Richmond, CEO and Chief Culture Officer at Ideal Outcomes, Inc.

As I walked the streets of New Orleans last week, I was struck by the way in which this famous American city, and top tourist destination, is a living model for organizational cultures. From the vibrant night (and day) life of Bourbon Street to the historical architecture, international cuisine, and vibrant music scene, the city nicknamed “The Big Easy” represents many aspects in common with a thriving corporate culture.

It’s a major reason why I chose the city as the location for the 10th anniversary of the founding of Ideal Outcomes—the perfect stimulating venue to celebrate success and plan for the future.

Just as the unique blend of French, African, Spanish, and American cultures has shaped New Orleans into a symbol of strength and diversity, companies can learn from this cultural melting pot to build an environment where every employee feels valued and every idea is heard.


New Orleans celebrates its diverse heritage through music, food, and festivals, showcasing a harmonious blend despite differing origins. Similarly, by instituting an organizational culture that embraces diversity in all its forms and by encouraging varied and sometimes contrary perspectives, companies can spark innovation, drive creativity, and solve complex problems more effectively. Just as New Orleans’ gumbo combines an assortment of ingredients to create a delightful dish, a diverse team blends different skills and mindsets to achieve outstanding results. Looking around the meeting room of a fine French Quarter hotel, I was pleased to see a team that was diverse in many ways—age, race, ethnicity, gender, experiences, and talents.


Who can forget the horrific images from New Orleans in the wake of the devastating Hurricane Katrina nearly 19 years ago? The history of New Orleans is marked by such ordeals, yet the city’s spirit remains unbroken, with its people rebuilding and coming back stronger each time. It’s a critical lesson for organizations. When you have a culture of resilience, companies like ours can survive whatever obstacles are thrown our way (including something as dramatic as a once-in-a-century pandemic) and go on to thrive. An essential component is to encourage employees to embrace failures as stepping stones to success, adapt to change, and persist in the face of obstacles. Resilience becomes more than a survival mechanism; it becomes a path to creativity and success.


New Orleans is synonymous with celebration. From the legendary Mardi Gras to the lively everyday music scenes of Jazz, Blues, and beyond, celebrations are a core part of the city’s identity, bringing people together and creating a sense of community and joy. For organizations, recognizing and celebrating small wins and milestones can boost morale, increase engagement, and strengthen team bonds. Celebrations in the workplace create moments of joy and appreciation, reinforcing a positive, inclusive culture whether on a daily basis or an annual offsite. Our 10th anniversary celebration, for instance, gave members of my team the perfect opportunity to either get to know each other better or meet new colleagues and make new friends in fun, informal environments.


Just as New Orleans’ culture is deeply intertwined with community engagement and support, companies can extend their cultural reach beyond the office walls. By involving themselves in community projects, supporting local causes, and engaging with societal issues, organizations can build a brand that stands for more than just profit. It’s an approach that not only enhances the company’s image but also instills a sense of pride and purpose in employees, aligning personal values with corporate missions. And it’s essential in an age when employees are actively seeking to join companies that want to make a difference in the world and are not simply profit-motivated.


New Orleans teaches us that culture is not static; it evolves with time, embracing new influences while honoring traditional roots—an invaluable lesson for organizations.  A culture of continuous learning and openness to change is essential for companies to remain relevant in a business climate that’s undergoing transformation faster than ever before. Encouraging feedback, promoting innovation, and adapting to market changes are ways organizations can stay ahead, much like New Orleans continues to redefine itself while keeping its rich history alive.

Create Your Big Easy Organization

The culture of New Orleans, with its diversity, resilience, celebration, community engagement, and continuous evolution, offers significant insights for organizational cultures. By emulating these principles, companies can create a working environment where employees thrive, innovation flourishes, and community connections deepen. Just as New Orleans stands as a testament to the strength found in diversity and unity, organizations can build a culture that not only supports business growth but also contributes to a more inclusive and resilient society.