The Alliance

“Our goal is to provide a framework for moving from a transactional to a relational approach.” – Reid Hoffman

Lessons learnt: Employer & employee goals can be aligned, but you have to be very clear about it.

Work relations have changed dramatically over the past few decades. Where once a person was likely (and expected) to work at one company for his whole life, nowadays no-one considers you crazy if you’ve worked at 3 employers in the past 10 years. In The Alliance Reid Hoffman, Ben Casnocha and Chris Yeh present a framework on how to consider this new paradigm. In less than 200 pages they introduce The Alliance, what it means for different stakeholders and how to apply the framework in a different situation.

The problem that The Alliance tries to solve is the budged relationship between an employer and employee. The authors state that from the start the conversation between the two parties is dishonest. The employer expects an employee to be loyal to them forever, but at the same time will be most likely to lay off the new employees when things don’t go their way. In short, the authors want to restore trust.

Employers and employees should make an alliance and set synergetic goals for a set period of time – or in their lingo; Tours of Duty. Because of the finite term of the tour of duty both parties have a crisp focus. It also faces the reality that an employee might leave afterwards. Because of this, it’s up to the employer to convince the employee to stay and be challenged once again at his present company.

In The Alliance we are met with three kinds of tours of duty:

  1. Rotational – not personalized and highly interchangeable
  2. Transformational – personalized for a specific mission
  3. Foundational – a permanent relationship

All are explained in their own right. Each one is for a different stage in a person’s career and picking a tour should be done with great care. And each additional tour of duty should further align the core mission and values of the employer and employee.

“Tours of duty have to be systematic, consistent, and transparent.” – Reid Hoffman

The latter few chapters discuss how you can best implement tours of duty in your own company. They also stress the importance of networking and how your relationship doesn’t (have to) end when an employee leaves a company. The book is easy to read and chock full of information, so please read it when you have the time.