The Art of the Alliance


I recently read a book called The Alliance:  Managing Talent in the Networked Age. ( Available on Amazon HERE )

It raises the question over the type of relationships managers need to have with future generations of employees and suggests we form a new type of relationship called an alliance.

alliances fit together business meeting

It talks of the notion of moving away from treating the people inside the organisation as a “family” but to one of an alliance, like allies on a Tour of Duty

Companies are not inherently a 'family'. The network structure and emotional relationship on which families are based are different. Yet, at the same time, companies can't innovate if everyone acts like a free agent.

This rang true to me as it related to a couple of scenario’s you may have witnessed as HR professionals or Managers.

Scenario 1
You work long and hard on a recruitment and selection process – you place an amazing candidate in the role and see them flourish over the next year. Then bam just before the two year mark they leave and go and work for your competitor on double the pay.
It’s not until the exit interview you realise that they were bored and ready for the next move.

Scenario 2
You have been in the job for over 10 years, your immediate boss moves on and you know the role is yours.
You go through the selection process to be overlooked for someone younger, less experienced and disliked by the whole of the wider team.

These examples outline communication breakdowns and incorrect assumptions.

A business without communication, trust and loyalty is a business without long-term thinking. And a business that isn't investing in tomorrow is a company already in the process of dying.
Which brings us back to thinking of relationships with your staff as alliances.

The rules for recruiting, managing and retaining amazing people have changed, because the world has changed.

Employers and employees need to develop a relationship based on how they add value to each other. If you like a shared destiny relationship where both partners have different investment in the outcome. Employees invest in the company's success, the company invests in the employees' market value. The result is a mutually beneficial alliance where the partners enter the relationship knowing full well the outcomes they want are different.

Alliances = Partnership

The underlying message is that if either party in the relationship get lazy and the outcome is not achieved there will be a parting of the ways.

In our view employers are often more guilty of this than their employees. If the investment is not made by providing good feedback and doing the little things to keep people energised in their job, engaged and feeling they are adding value to their careers they will leave. Employers taking their good people for granted should not be surprised when they up and leave.

Food for thought… We welcome yours.

Elements of this blog were first published on

by Emma Worseldine

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