Several years ago, I had the pleasure of hearing the current co-CEO of SAP, Bill McDermott, speak at a Selling Power leadership conference.  I left with a few take-aways that have stuck with me.  He is a young guy, full of energy, who speaks from the heart and someone who you can tell just flat-out gets it.  He took over SAP at a time when it was losing market share to Oracle and employee morale was at an all time low.  His speech had a significant impact on me.  During the speech, I had a eureka moment (for me anyway) and began to think of just how critical corporate culture is to a team. With the first quarter coming to a close, many of you are attempting to create your own “Secret Sauce” recipe for success.   I thought I would share with you some of the things he talked about that day.

The secret sauce

“Cultures make or break companies”, said McDermott.   The “Secret Sauce” begins with a vision, which is communicated to and shared by the entire workforce.  Vision leads to mission, a collective sense that, “If we want to live out or vision, this is what we need to do.  Your mission can’t be a phony one.  It must be reflected in how you think, feel, and treat others, because the way in which you live out your mission leads to your corporate values.  It’s a consortium of people on all levels asking the question, “What do we want to be like when we grow up?  How do we get better? If everyone doesn’t share in this process, all you have is somebody from the corner office walking around with a big paddle.  But if everyone shares the values, then every individual becomes accountable for themselves and success or failure.  The time to change the way you do things is when things are going well.  Do not wait until things are going badly to change.  Keep looking for ways to get better and take input from all levels within your organization.  You must create an environment where people are not afraid to speak up good or bad.”

If you are currently in a leadership position right now, it is critical that you make sure that your entire team shares the vision, the mission and the values, as they are the final ingredients to the “Secret Sauce”.  Passion more often than not separates great teams from the good ones.  Creating this kind of collective adrenaline, your team becomes unstoppable.

What is more mortifying than to feel that you have missed the pear for want of courage to shake the tree?


Devin Hughes is best known for his expertise in selling best practices, sales strategy, sales training, leadership development and sales coaching. He  is an avid storyteller who has the unique ability to connect with audiences by inspiring them to be the change they wish to see in the world.  His website is: He is also a featured blogger on He is available upon request for consultation.