The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age, is written by the Co-Founder of LinkedIn, Reid Hoffman, as well as Ben Casnocha, and Chris Yeh. It is important to note early in this review that many references to an earlier book also written by Hoffman and Casnocha, titled The Start-Up of You, are made — with the entrepreneur in mind, or essentially any individual looking to move their career and professional goals forward. The Start-Up of You was written about 2 years before The Alliance, with many of the concepts revisited and expanded upon in terms of the employee–employer–manager (EEM) relationships that exist during times of employment. Themes covered in both books include identity development, goal setting, networking, network intelligence, personal brand development, articulation of values, and strategic planning. Several key concepts are discussed in this work and they have a direct relationship to the leadership development skills discussed in this course. For this assignment, I will focus on the connection of The Alliance with the following leadership skills covered in this course:

  1. Develop effective professional networking strategies
  2. Develop and implement emotional intelligence in interpersonal relationships
  3. Participate in a mentoring relationship as a mentor and mentee

How is this learning connected to the leadership skills discussed in this course?

Network intelligence and the organization of network intelligence systems is a crucial component of personal and professional development, holding the potential to dramatically shape one’s future career opportunities and trajectory. The Alliance takes this one step further by first acknowledging that human network intelligence is indeed vital to professional development, while also suggesting that a businesses’ success is deeply connected to both business network intelligence and the acknowledgment and support of all employee’s own development and investment in their own network systems and intelligence platforms. The Alliance suggests that members of the employee–employer–manager (EEM) relationship can work towards a solid partnership, that defines goals, and works towards quality communication and expectations for those involved. A collaborative approach works to build trust and community among the employees, managers, and the employers. This is what the book refers to as “The Alliance”, working to outline expectations that are connected to a definitive time period, and involve communication across the workplace that is both transparent, and action oriented. Another term in the book is what is known as a “tour of duty” which “in the context of the alliance, the tour of duty represents an ethical commitment by employer and employee to a specific mission,” (Hoffman, Casnocha, & Yeh, 2014, chapter 2).

The Alliance and LEAD 542 discuss the necessity for a networking organization system, and a deliberate plan, with action steps, that moves an individual toward future connections with their social sphere, ultimately leading towards stronger relationships that hold the potential to elevate all participants involved. The Alliance continues this work in effort to bring organizations closer together with their employer’s networks, leveraging both the need for employees to build their networks outside of the company, and also leverages corporate network intelligence that allows companies to make innovative decisions based on the market realities. In The Alliance, building on the EEM relationship is discussed as a way to increase trust in organizations, and also a way to ensure that the employee is able to set and meet goals that are aligned with their professional goals and values all while increasing the company’s productivity by boosting company morale and work ethic. Reid, et. al., explore how articulation of both an employee’s goals and values, as well as the company’s goals and values can lead to a healthier and more trusting EEM relationship. This leads to an innovative and mobile working relationship that boosts everyone’s network intelligence, and builds a stronger community that is not severed when an employee or employer moves to a different tour of duty, as long as no promises or contractual obligations are broken. Ultimately this leads to a more authentic form of communication, leading to a heightened efficiency when it comes to day to day work — as it offers everyone involved in the EEM relationship to think about the “bigger picture” and optimize time spent in the short term, all while keeping long term goals and desires transparent enough to achieve without conflict.

How has this book influenced your behavior over the past term? 

Throughout the summer of 2016 I have had the opportunity to supplement my own work in leadership development with insights gained from both this leadership course, as well as the readings from The Alliance. Currently, I’m at a time of transition in my career, as I’ve been at Oregon State University for about 6 years now, and am constantly reflecting on where I want to be next. This course has helped me make sense of my connections and has illuminated my own social capital — which has helped me when planning my next professional and educational endeavor. The Alliance has helped me realize that while working at OSU has been a very good educational and professional experience; it does not need to be my only place of employment when working in higher education and student affairs. Framing work experiences into “tours of duty” has helped me set realistic goals for myself while simultaneously increasing my own ability to be transparent with my current organization about my desire to start a new tour of duty. Being able to clearly article a person’s professional goals can have a dramatic impact on future job placement and opportunities.

How do you plan on implementing the principles from this text in the future? 

In the future, I plan to setup “tours of duty” with my supervisor, and consider building conversations related to The Alliance into reoccurring meeting as the book suggests. This will show an interest in my employer’s goals and values, as well as articulating early on that I’m interested in moving my career forward even if it is outside of OSU (although I’m open to sticking around too!). Of course, this is done with care, trust, and authenticity — but as non-tenure track jobs are often pushed to employees as temporary anyways, I do think that my future supervisors will understand.

Conclusion

The Alliance has provided me with a set of tools and talking points to bring into future working roles and places of employment. Being able to clearly articulate personal and / or professional goals, while aligning yourself with a companies’ values can position employees as leaders in the workplace, and valuable assets to a company. Using network intelligence not only for personal and / or professional development but also to leverage a company can also be seen as a valuable company asset. The Alliance makes use of leadership development skills such as network intelligence, emotional intelligence, and building the mentor / mentee relationship in the context of the workplace. This boosts an employee’s value to the company and ultimately leads both the employee and employer to a future where their goals can be achieved without breaking trust and alliances. Structuring work around “tours of duty” automates the “weekly review” process in work, and creates an atmosphere that allows the employee, and managers / employers to stay accountable for expectations of the job, while leaving enough room for all individuals involved to pursue their personal and professional goals.

Appendix

(expert from LEAD 542 Syllabus)

Measurable Student Learning Outcomes:

Upon completion of LEAD 442/542, the student will be able to:

1. Utilize effective personal and professional organization skills

2. Identify high and low leverage tasks and effectively incorporate learning into a personal organizational structure

3. Evaluate and synthesize the organizational strategies of a mentor

4. Effectively conduct a mind sweep and office sweep

5. Develop effective professional networking strategies

6. Develop and implement emotional intelligence in interpersonal relationships

7. Develop and facilitate a leadership workshop

8. Participate in a mentoring relationship as a mentor and mentee

9. Evaluate motivational tactics within different environments

Additional Learning Outcomes for LEAD 542 Students

10. Identify and share overlaps and connectedness between course topics

11. Connect course topics to a relevant book

References

LEAD 542 Class Syllabus. (download). http://services.ecampus.oregonstate.edu/syllabi/downloadsyllabus.aspx?docid=7284&usg=AFQjCNElpMu6fjjWvqBLYkVut5V8akYfow

Hoffman, R. & Casnocha, B. (2012). The start-up of you. New York: Crown Business.

Hoffman, R., Casnocha, B. & Yeh, C. (2014). The alliance: managing talent in the networked age. Boston, Massachusetts: Harvard Business Review Press.

Identify one’s professional values and ethics

Describe how one’s own world view impacts values and assumptions when working with others

Work on knowledge of ones own personal and / or professional identify is crucial to raising awareness in

Establish a commitment to engage in ongoing inquiry throughout one’s career or articulate the value/appreciation of ongoing inquiry and engagement

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