Written by the founder of LinkedIn, Reid Hoffman in association with Ben Casnocha, and Chris Yeh, this book challenges your thinking of your relationship with your employees. In a time where it is predicted that individuals will not only change job, but change career several times in the duration of their employment before retiring one day.
The concept presented by the authors is, in my opinion, unique and while I challenge the application thereof in a real world setting, it certainly proposes a new way of thinking about the relationship from the employer toward the employee.
In short the concept is that instead of having a permanent relationship with employees from the employers’ perspective that the employer agrees an “alliance” with the employee for a certain project or ‘mission’. Capture the flag then move on to another mission or move on to another company with a new mission.
As I mentioned, specifically in a African context, where employment laws are heavily regulated and the employee is protected in several ways there may need to be a total mindset shift to see all employment contracts essentially as temporary. However, the book still deserves 5 stars based on the concept. From experience, we find that employees often get bored and dulled by the day to day KPI’s and other performance indicators. Using this alliance strategy to engage employees would work wonders in theory.
From my personal research for my Master’s degree we found that the strongest antecedent to employee engagement is what we labelled psychological meaningfulness. This finding has been replicated by several researchers recently. The point is this: If an employee has a mission objective to achieve with autonomy and resources to achieve that goal that employee should surely be engaged and invest more discretionary effort.
Back to the book, (I cheat a little as I “read” the books using the audio version on Audible), I really enjoyed the performance by the authors in the audio programme. Alternating the reading of chapters between the authors makes the audio book more engaging and prevents the boring lull that sometimes comes from listening to one person just reading in the same tone throughout the whole book.
From a criticism perspective, the examples they use are all very American. For a global audience investing in this work the authors could in future editions explore examples from different countries and continents.
The book is 224 pages long and published by the Harvard Business Review Press on July 8, 2014. The book is available on Amazon.