Book summary of Great Work – How to Make a Difference People Love

Are you living up to your potential at work? Are you doing your best, but just feel that your potential is going unrecognized? Sometimes it just helps to know the right people – but sometimes it also helps to know the right things. One recent bestselling book does a particularly excellent job of detailing those right things. The book is called Great Work: How to Make a Difference People Love and it’s by David Sturt. It was released in 2013 and has since attracted countless rave reviews.

The book incorporates numerous real-life stories to illustrate its points. For many readers, the stand-out aspect of the book is the very personal stories of how individuals – not just CEOs, but also low-level employees – have acted passionately and innovatively to make a difference at work, one person at a time. The book discusses how anyone – even a janitor, as in one example – can make a difference that everyone loves.

Sturt talks about how you can capitalize on the situation around you to contribute innovative ideas that stand out. He writes, “When you have a feeling something at work could be improved upon, pay close attention. The door to your own great work quest is about to swing wide open.” Sturt teaches readers exactly how to recognize that moment that will open the door to your success and how to take the right action at the right time.

Specifically, how does Sturt advise that you should go about achieving outstanding results? There are five basic actions that Sturt outlines. Those five critical skills are:

Ask the right question.

See for yourself.

Talk to your outer circle.

Improve the mix.

Deliver the difference.

The advice in Great Work is gleaned from an intensive set of work studies. One study included a diverse group of 302 senior executives from Fortune 100 companies, who provided examples of great work in their organizations. Another study included a database analysis of 1.7 million instance of award-winning work. Sturt also incorporates finding for a Forbes study to clarify the understanding of what constitutes great work. Also, a number of one-on-one interviews play a role in the book.

Great Work is currently number five on the New York Times list of business bestsellers. Although this is Sturt’s first book, he has outstanding business credentials. Currently, Sturt is the executive vice president of the O.C. Tanner Company, a human resource consulting company. He has worked in marketing research, consulted for Fortune 1000 companies, spoken at conference internationally, and been featured on major media outlets like The Wall Street Journal and MSNBC.