‘The only thing of real importance that leaders do is to create and manage culture’

Edgar Schein, professor emeritus MIT Sloan School of Management

In today’s organizations, perhaps more than ever before, people matter. Call it human capital if you like. But what we are really talking about are the employees that make up an organization, and all the other people whose actions contribute to that organization’s success. The evidence suggests that employees are currently able to do a lot more than they are doing at work. What stops them from doing that little bit extra? Often it is the environment that they are working in, the culture of the organization that they work for, and the nature of their relationship with their manager, organization, and the other people they work with.

Our research and this book aim to go some way to closing the discretionary effort gap – between what people are potentially prepared to do and what they actually do. I want this book to be of practical use to organizations. Much of the book is focused on the key drivers of discretionary effort, where organizations can really make a difference. And while you will find some theory in the following pages, I have focused on drawing out some of the most important practical aspects related to each driver.

In doing so, I have tapped into the knowledge, expertise and opinions of the people actually coping with the realities of doing business in the current business environment ...

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