Are you a team or a family?


At the Vistage Executive Summit. Ben Casoncha challenged the attendees to ponder the agreement they make when they hire a new employee.

With great enthusiasm, a new addition is welcomed to the organization and within a few hours, they sign an agreement that they are hired “at will”. Every employee can be fired at any time for no reason. So begins the dishonest contract between employers and employees.

Casoncha argues that the agreement of lifetime loyalty between employer and employee is long gone. Hence the “at will” clause. Yet we still talk about “family” at work. It is time to have a different relationship that works for everyone.

In Silicon Valley, they use the concept of an alliance to recruit, manage and retain talented entrepreneurial employees. In his book, The Alliance, Cosancha and his co-authors, describe the entrepreneurial employees that have a founder-mindset. When the competitive pace keeps increasing, entrepreneurial thinking and doing are the most important capabilities companies need from their employees.

To attract and retain that kind of employee and get the best effort from them, Cosancha uses the concept of sports teams. A new player signs a contract for a specific period of time. Everyone works together to achieve the same goal – to win. By working with the other team members, the individual wins at something he/she could never accomplish alone.

At Linked-In, they developed Tours of Duty. The mission objective was clearly outlined. as was the benefit to the employee and to the company. Then, the duration was spelled-out. For an entrepreneurial employee, this was everything they wanted in an assignment.

Do you have employees like this in your company? Do you need some? What assignments would you give them that would benefit both them and the company?

How can you look at the relationship between company and employees as an alliance that benefits all for specific tours of duty? Then, when they go or you no longer need them, they become beloved alumni who refer your next great hire to you.


Photo by the author