My interest in developing a book was sparked during my talks to students who were about to leave full-time education, and by some consultancy work with students preparing for university admission. Many young people resonated with my notions about success and were keen to learn more. Writing a book that people will want to read is of course difficult, and the first hurdle is getting published. Thus the book will have to be engaging and perhaps will need to take a new perspective on the subject of success.

My audience is anyone at any level in large organisations, but I would like the book to be an interesting read in its own right; thus I will have to develop an engaging style that the reader can identify with and that moves on quickly. My first hurdle in speaking to prospective publishers is that the book will not be easily categorised – a potentially high hurdle…

I want to base the book on a single proposition, one that seems to have been generally neglected by much of academia, and I want the proposition to appeal to readers.  The need to belong is, I will argue, one of our most fundamental and strongest behavioural drivers.  We are driven by evolutionary inheritance to band together in groups – it was and is a fundamental survival need. We are drawn to groups instinctively.  We are also driven by societal pressures to join groups.  It is manifest in everyday encounters such as fashion, queuing, manners, respect, anxiety and ambition.  The Need to Belong is a massive and continuous pressure on us all both consciously and unconsciously, and it drives behaviour in everyone every minute of every day in companies.  Rising through the ranks in businesses or charities is heavily influenced by behaviours driven by the need to belong.

The task for me is to get this message across in an engaging way and to illuminate strategies that work. However, I will also have to deal with the whole notion of success.  What is it?  Many people believe that they are happy at their level in a company and would avoid success if it meant becoming a supervisor with implied stress and unhappiness.  And that means I that must deal with happiness if I am to encourage people to ‘risk’ becoming successful.  

One other thing – we all desire recognition in the groups and societies that we belong to.  Thus happiness is not just about relaxation and contentment – is that boredom?  It is also about earning respect and personal achievement.

So, my book is about understanding and dealing with the way that our need to belong drives organisation and behaviour in companies, and how awareness and understanding can enable ‘ordinary’ people to move up the hierarchy armed with expectation and self-awareness.

A glance at the contents below will give you some idea of the task I have ahead of me in making the book readable!

Typical Draft Content

Inherited needs

Background to our evolutionary behaviour.  Introduction to very basic body language. Unconscious assessment. Examples of inherited behaviour.  Bias and discrimination. Like and don’t like.  

Societal needs

How we are taught to behave in our societies. Exclusive societies, Rank, Differentiation, Fitting in. Avoiding negative reaction. Acceptance. Fear. Emotions.


Institutional norms. Professional hierarchies. Prejudice. Specialisation. Functional structure. Stress. Change. Retirement


Spreadsheets. Data. Projects. Batch production. Meetings. Budgets. Reporting. Qualifications.  


Your image. Powerpoint. Reports. Dress. Behaviour. Demeanour. Allegiance. Enthusiasm. Memberships.


Interviews. Annual reports. Appearances.


What is happy? Responsibility. Risk. Money does not bring happiness? What is rich?  Negative perception of managers.


Social pressure. Pecking order. Recognition. Belief. Self-awareness. Critique. Personal appearance. Loving yourself.


Three recommended books about - The Use of Statistics, Basic Body Language, and How to Write Business Materials.


Them and Us. Getting Noticed. Loyalty. Leadership. Timing. Involvement. Generosity. Observation. Belonging

Women In the Board Room

Glass ceiling. Group Behaviour. One of Us. Quotas. Maternity. Pub Culture. Late Working.