The intriguing book The Invisible Organization: How Ingenious CEOs Are Creating Thriving, Virtual Companies by Mitch Russo has turned a lot of heads. Its back cover copy certainly grabs the attention:
Companies all over the world could greatly benefit from moving part or even all of their staff to work from home as virtual employees. Using the techniques and strategies inside The Invisible Organization, all of that is possible, quickly and efficiently. If you are the CEO of a company that could benefit by generating more profits, shedding overhead and thrilling staff, this book is a must-read.
Penned by Mitch Russo, the former CEO of Tony Robbins and Chet Holmes Business Breakthroughs, International, Russo successfully scaled the company with nearly 100% growth per year, and about 300 remote staff, owning no infrastructure. Russo helps clients create the leadership management strategy as outlined in his book and advises CEOs on moving “virtual” with confidence.
Why is this book different than other books on working virtually? Because it comes from the CEOs perspective as an operating executive; dealing with the strategy of creating momentum around changing the company, slowly at first and then accelerating as results prove viable. The book is more of a blueprint designed to accomplish this singular act of internal revolution.
That’s all fine and well, and the idea sounds fantastic, but at first it’s hard not to be skeptical. Does the book really deliver an actionable blueprint to make an invisible organization function and function well? Or is it more of a fluff-piece that spouts theory and vague principles without proving the mechanics of how it works?
The Invisible Organization
Believe it or not, this book delivers exactly what it promises. It’s very impressive, actually, especially for its ambitious comprehension and practical specifics. It’s a surprisingly plausible and refreshing approach to finding massive business growth without any need for fixed investment in infrastructure.
The book is also pragmatic and realistic about the challenges involved, which I appreciated, and it doesn’t try to make implausible claims (i.e. claiming that the invisible organization model is for everyone). Instead it argues convincingly that more companies should seriously consider moving in this direction, that it really is a viable future for much of the business world, and that the trails needed to make it work have already been blazed. (And I would say that CEOs who are in no-growth models or who are struggling with limited resources should urgently consider the solutions in this book.)
The book features things like the superb research of a Stanford University study called “Does Working from Home Work?” published in August 2014, and, besides the author’s own experiences succeeding with the model, it looks at real-life examples of the invisible model at work. (JetBlue is a prime example.)
This is something I appreciate especially: it carefully answers the key objectives to the idea. It doesn’t shyly avoid them. It anticipates the questions of the skeptics and meets them head-on, busting myths like, “I will lose control of my company” or “something like that can’t be done with my current resources.”
After the myth busting section, it examines a series of “realities” that can be both blessings and curses that one must deal with in this new organizational model, such as “it can get lonely at the top” (the isolation factor of virtual work), the importance of taking care of problems quickly when they are spotted, and the steps needed to create a company culture in that new setting.
Realities And Outcomes
From the “realities,” it moves on to “outcomes” and the benefits of going invisible. Then it goes into the blueprint, the nitty gritty (but still intriguing) strategy guide for making it all happen. All of the practical considerations that relate to the blueprint take up the majority of the book from that point, and it is an excellent, helpful, and fun-to-read survey of practical steps that answer the burning questions: “How on earth does this actually work? What does it really look like when you’re doing this?”
Even if you’re not thinking about seriously creating an invisible organization, “The Invisible Organization” is a fascinating read filled with ideas and proven road maps that overrun the mind with possibilities of what the corporate world will look like in the future.
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