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Bonus Content: Tours of Duty
How to structure tours of duty for different industries and function areas, and join the conversation about the framework.
We believe that all employees should be on tours of duty, but the specific type of tour will depend on the employee's role.
Rotational tours are designed to provide scalability; their programmatic approach can be widely applied, even to blue collar workers.
Transformational tours are designed to provide adaptability; their personalized approach requires a greater investment of management time, but allows them to tackle key issues and initiatives.
Foundational tours are designed to provide continuity; their permanent approach helps codify the culture and institutional memory of the organization.
Whatever your industry, you can follow these guidelines to structure a tour of duty. For example, front line nurses are typically on a rotational tour of duty, since they represent the core of a hospital's staff. The key is to figure out a standard mission that helps mutual trust and investment which can be scaled to cover hundreds of nurses.
If you are unclear about what kind of tour is appropriate for an employee, ask whether her role is designed primarily for scalability, adaptability (or innovation), or continuity.
- Join the conversation in The Alliance's LinkedIn group.
How to earn the 'Right of First Conversation' and develop and expectation of honesty when dealing with employees.
If you want to forge a high-trust alliance with your workforce, take a page from a popular clause in founder employment agreements — the “Right Of First Refusal” (ROFR). When a founder wants to sell stock in the company and has an offer to purchase some or all of the shares, the company has the right to exercise its ROFR and buy the stock at the offered price. This compromise reassures the founder (or employee) that the company can’t block the sale of stock while allowing the company to make sure it isn’t saddled with investors it doesn’t want.
We believe that an equivalent compromise can help improve the employer-employee relationship: the “Right of First Conversation” (ROFC). If an employee decides she wants to explore other career options, she commits to talking with her current manager first, so that the company, if it so desires, has the opportunity to define a more appealing job or role. This doesn’t mean that the employee informs her manager every time she receives a call from a headhunter—this kind of disclosure would be onerous for both employee and manager. Rather, the employee should initiate a conversation when she is seriously considering alternate job offers or career paths. Similarly, the employee should also approach the manager if she felt strongly that her current tour of duty no longer fits, and that without a change, she would feel obligated to start looking for another employer.
Read the full story on HBR.org (registration required)
Sample Statement of Alliance
In the back of the book, Reid, Ben and Chris provide a sample Statement of Alliance that you can use to define the terms of The Alliance in your own way in your organization. Download it now.
Articles of Note
How To Foster Innovation.
Tech companies have to be able to hold their own against the forces of creative destruction. Dozens of ambituous, well funded, young companies are started every year, all of whom aim to create some new innovation by inventing a new product or building a product that is at least 25% better than incumbent products. Reid Hoffman suggests that you need at least a 10x product or one that clearly stands out.
Companies need to stay ahead of the curve. Being agile is crucial ingredient. Too much inertia in a company or companies that fail to iterate on their products are ripening themselves for disruption.