The Tour of Duty Structure
The “tour of duty” is the way you organize the Alliance at work. In this context, a tour of duty represents a commitment by employer and employee to a specific mission of finite duration. We see this approach as a way to incorporate some of the advantages from both lifetime employment and free agency. Like lifetime employment, the tour of duty allows employers and employees to build trust and mutual investment; like free agency, it preserves the flexibility that both employers and employees need to adapt to a rapidly changing world.This approach can relieve the pressure on you and your employees alike because it builds trust incrementally. Everyone commits in smaller steps and, as with any kind of meaningful relationship, the relationship deepens as each side proves themselves to each other. The tour of duty is a way of organizing the alliance to reflect these increments. By recasting careers at your company as a series of successive tours of duty, you can better attract and retain entrepreneurial employees. When recruiting top talent, offering a clear tour of duty with specific benefits and success outcomes beats vague promises like “you’ll get valuable experience.” Defining an attractive tour of duty lets you point to concrete ways that it will enhance the employee’s personal brand—while he’s at the company and if and when he works elsewhere—by integrating a specific mission, picking up real skills, building new relationships, and so on.
There are three distinct kinds of tours of duty: Rotational, Transformational, and Foundational. In the book, you’ll learn which kind is right for which employees.