Our economy is in the midst of a grand shift toward the Hollywood model. More of us will see our working lives structured around short-term, project-based teams rather than long-term, open-ended jobs. There are many reasons this change is happening right now, but perhaps the best way to understand it is that we have reached the end of a hundred-year fluke, an odd moment in economic history that was dominated by big businesses offering essentially identical products. Competition came largely by focusing on the cost side, through making production cheaper and more efficient; this process required businesses to invest tremendous amounts in physical capital — machines and factories — and then to populate those factories with workers who performed routine activities. Nonmanufacturing corporations followed a similar model: Think of all those office towers filled with clerical staff or accountants or lawyers. That system began to fray in the United States during the 1960s, first in manufacturing, with the economic rise of Germany and Japan. It was then ripped apart by Chinese competition during the 2000s. Enter the Hollywood model, which is far more adaptable. Each new team can be assembled based on the specific needs of that moment and with a limited financial commitment.
The other month he spoke with Russ Roberts of Econtalk about his article. It’s an engaging conversation and they talk about The Alliance in the context of Adam’s thesis. At least a dozen people emailed me Adam’s original NYT Magazine piece — so I’m glad they were able to riff on The Alliance a bit on the podcast!
Last week, I was quoted in an article in the Wall Street Journal about companies that seek to retain millennials:
Some managers think companies should stop trying so hard. They cite “The Alliance,” a book co-written by LinkedIn Corp. co-founder Reid Hoffman that proposes a different model for the employer-employee relationship—one based on mutual expectations and the possibility of the employee leaving.
At LinkedIn, managers often segment an employee’s career into “tours of duty” that last a couple of years. The employee and manager agree on specific goals to be met during that period. At the end of a given tour, both parties understand that the employee might leave.
“By talking openly about the fact that an employee might leave, you actually increase the likelihood” that he or she will stay on, said Ben Casnocha, a co-author of the book and Mr. Hoffman’s former chief of staff. Employers should make clear that “if it makes more sense for you to leave [than stay], that’s OK,” he added.
A client of Allied Talent, our consultancy that works with companies on talent management, is featured in the article as well:
Toby Murdock, CEO of Kapost, a Boulder, Colo. marketing-software firm, said he has adopted that mind-set. “It is a very fluid marketplace for young people,” said Mr. Murdock, 41. “Let’s be honest about that instead of trying to deny it.”
He wants young workers to consider his company a career accelerator, rather than a parking lot. That attitude has given Kapost a reputation as a career launchpad, Mr. Murdock said, and helps the company attract a stream of ambitious young candidates.
The next day I went on Varney & Co on Fox Business to discuss the topic. Here’s the clip:
There’s a lot more to say on the millennial topic. More to come soon.
You want your employees networking outside the company–even on the company dime and on company time.
This is a theme we explore in-depth in The Alliance. As a brief summary, we’ve prepared a new slide deck on why network intelligence matters, and how to set up programs to support it at your company. Check it out.
The coming labor shortage is being fought head-on by a new generation of talent innovators—Silicon Valley…
At LinkedIn, one of Setton’s former employers, the acknowledgment that employees won’t stay with the company forever starts before they even join and isn’t perceived as a negative. Kevin Scott, senior vice president of engineering at the company, based in Mountain View, asks an important question of every candidate he interviews: “What job do you want after you work at LinkedIn?”
“Part of the reason Silicon Valley companies are so successful is that they’re a recombination of people who have worked in multiple companies,” says Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn and co-author of a new book calledThe Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age.
“Historically, most companies don’t want to ask that question [what job does your employee want to have ,” says Ben Casnocha, an entrepreneur who co-authored the book with Hoffman. “But today your best people are not going to be lifers.”
Worth reading the whole thing.
Here’s a half hour interview I did on Andy Kaufman’s podcast about The Alliance. Near the end, David Foster Wallace comes up…
Having raved about Econtalk just the other month, and as a long time listener, it was a particular delight to be invited to go on the show and talk, with Reid and host Russ Roberts, about The Alliance and the history of LinkedIn. We also talked about whether you can explore the meaning of life while in the working world, and I predicted that the ethics of cognitive steroids will be hotly debated in the years to come. The show is an hour long.
The Alliance is on the New York Times bestseller list for the fourth straight week. Thanks for the support. If you’ve read the book, please leave an Amazon review.
If you work at a company and are thinking about how to implement the ideas in your organization, drop me an email and join the LinkedIn group.
A couple weeks ago I had the pleasure of facilitating a conversation with Reid Hoffman and Jeff Weiner (CEO) at LinkedIn, in front of employees. We talked about The Alliance and took questions from the audience.
Two weeks in, here are some of the interesting reviews of The Alliance:
Mike Bloomberg: “The Alliance offers useful strategies for combating this kind of complacency and creating environments where innovation flourishes. As the authors explain, it all comes down to people.”
Arianna Huffington: “The Must-Read Book of the Summer That Could Change the Way We Work…What’s also great about The Alliance is how it gives concrete ways to implement these ideas.:
Josh Bersin (Deloitte): “The big value of the book is that Reid and team clearly make this point: 21st Century Management is different. We need to engage people from the very beginning of their work life, tap into their collective intelligence even after they leave the firm, and build alumni networks to create an extended network as our ‘alliance workers’ move on.”
Daniel Pink (Author of Drive, Whole New Mind, Free Agent Nation): “A smart, fresh, (and occasionally bracing) look at the evolving relationship between the bosses and the bossed. It’s a terrific and accessible read that provides business leaders with both insights and tools to handle a world in which talent is paramount.”
Brad Feld (VC at Foundry Group): “The book, and the concept, is tightly written and extremely readable. The book is an appropriate length – there’s no fat here – just substance.”
If you’re a manager or work with managers, would love to hear your feedback. And thanks for picking up a copy at Amazon, B&N, Hudson’s bookstore in the airport, or anywhere else!
We published a 60 slide slideshow that expresses the essence of The Alliance and Tours of Duty. Check it out on Business Insider. The combination of visuals and text works really well, I think. It’s already trending heavily on BI (500,000+ views).
Thanks to Ian Alas for all his hard work on creating this deck.
Update: Here’s the deck on Slideshare and embedded below. More than one million views on Business Insider.