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The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age Audible – Unabridged

4.5 out of 5 stars 121 customer reviews

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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read a blog post by Reid Hoffman with the introduction of the ideas in this book, and thought the post offered a really insightful way to think about career management in the coming years. So when it alluded to more detail in this book, I was looking forward to hearing more detail about it.

The ideas are expounded upon a bit more in this book, but I think they stayed too high level to be that much more valuable than the blog. The other issue I had was that I thought the writing plugged LinkedIn too much. 'LinkedIn' seems to appear on almost every other page, and this got really annoying about a third of the way through the book.

Though it is not very long, you may have a better experience not reading every word and just skimming through each chapter. Overall, more disappointed than not.
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Format: Hardcover
Great book. Reid and crew (Casnocha and Yeh) have written an excellent "how to" on managing large organizations. People are no longer lifers at companies, like in the days of Bell Labs, and instead of pretending that's the ideal way for big companies to retain talent, the authors write about the realities of managing great people. A corporation is by definition a temporary alliance of numerous people (investors, employees, consultants), and it's refreshing to read a book that is based on that definition. One of the book's key mantras is that companies are teams, not families.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
In the past forty years, the relationship between employers and employees has changed. Lifetime employment has become a thing of the past while talent is now expected to hop from job to job. While this state of affairs offers unprecedented labor mobility, it also reduces trust. Employers don't invest in their employees as much because they don't want to waste resources on people that won't stay. Employees aren't loyal to their companies because they feel that they are expendable.

It is this lack of trust that "The Alliance" seeks to alleviate through a simple brilliant idea: employers and employees should be honest about the transitory nature of jobs and look at them as "Tours of Duty" where an employer gets something concrete accomplished for the company while the employee gets an experience that will help them develop their careers. In short, employer and employee form an alliance. Through this experience, everyone gets what they want, and on top of that, everyone is left happier.

It's a brilliant idea that seems highly relevant to American society. This book is worth reading just to get a good understanding of this simple idea. Unfortunately, there isn't all that much other than this idea in the book. It feels like it could have been published as a Kindle Single. Overall, an excellent, if quick, read.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Alliance: A Framework of Dubious Employee Benefit and Limited Application

I. Introduction

The Alliance is a book that, within its simple prose, ostensibly advocates for a reworking of what the authors present as the current model of the employer-employee relationship. The authors presume the present relationship is comprised of “free-agent” employees constantly seeking better opportunities within the context of instability due to an “at will” employment environment, which employers utilize to maintain flexibility and adaptability in an increasingly competitive environment. The authors contrast the present work environment with a vaguely defined “traditional model of lifetime employment” in which employers provided lifetime employment, and in return employees maintained their loyalty to the employer. Needless to say, to the extent lifetime employment regime has existed in the past, it did so in a very limited, post-World War II time period.

As the authors see it, the problem is that the present work environment has resulted in eroding trust by employees of employer management, with the attendant loss of employee loyalty to the organization. The authors think the issue of loyalty so important, they emphasize the following twice; “A business without loyalty is a business without long-term thinking. A business without long-term thinking is a business that’s unable to invest in the future. And a business that isn’t investing in tomorrow’s opportunities and technologies – well, that’s a company already in the process of dying.” (Hoffman at 7 and 153.)

II. Proposed Framework

The tool with which to effectuate the authors’ framework is the “tour of duty.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An easy, but useful, read. In my experience, most business books have about 30 pages of information that the author repeats 5 or 6 times to get to book length. This book isn't like that. It is actually useful.

The authors attack the tired concept that a business is like a "family" by, in my opinion, more accurately analogizing the relationship to that of an alliance. The employer and employee are allies initially, and perhaps the alliance will continue for a long time, but the alliance will change with time. Indeed, the authors argue that the alliance may continue after the employer-employee relationship has ended. They present examples (e.g., alumni groups) of how this might work. I was also impressed with the authors' emphasis on the ethical dimensions of an alliance. Lifetime employment may be rare, but long-term relationships may still be formed.

Social media's integration into the alliance will undoubtedly occur. The authors suggest some ways to do so. This process will probably require more management attention than anticipated.

I am in higher education and the prescriptions of the authors will not apply there as completely as it might to high tech and other businesses. However, for me, the book inspired consideration of how some of its ideas might be applied in my world. I recommend it.
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