work | November 27, 2014

The Power of Anonymous Work: New Speaker David Zweig on "Invisibles"

Who are the Invisibles? They’re the skilled professionals in your organization who often go unseen or unrecognized, even though they’re vital to your company’s success. New speaker David Zweig studies Invisibles—from the structural engineer at the world's second tallest skyscraper to an interpreter at the United Nations to a cinematographer on a multimillion dollar film set—and is the author of a new book on the subject. In Invisibles, and in his talks, Zweig reveals why—and how—identifying and nurturing Invisibles is so beneficial for your organization.

"We all do work that is anonymous to some extent, but most of us strive for recognition. That is how we feed our sense of self-worth. Invisibles take a different approach," says Zweig in Harvard Business Review. "For them, any time spent courting praise or fame is time taken away from the important and interesting work at hand. In fact, their relationship with recognition is often the inverse of what most of us enjoy: The better they do their jobs, the more they disappear."

So if Invisibles choose to fade into the background, why should managers take notice? "Invisibles show us that power and visibility are not always aligned," says Zweig. "We might think that the person at the top of the pyramid, the front of the stage, or the head of the boardroom table is the one with all the responsibility, but it’s often someone unknown to the public who bears much of the weight." Not only do Invisibles contribute greatly to organizations, often spurring innovation and boosting a company's success, "there are strong correlations between their distinctive traits and exceptional levels of achievement and life satisfaction," says Zweig. Knowing how to spot, hire, retain, and reward Invisibles is essential for those concerned with optimizing their organizational culture.

To book David Zweig as the keynote speaker for your next event, contact The Lavin Agency.