A few days ago I attended a talk given by Reid Hoffman (Linked In Co-Founder, Greylock Partner) at the Stanford Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders Seminar, where he talked about some of the treatises put forth in his book, The Start Up of You.
One particular concept that caught my attention was the “tour of duty”. As he sees it, in the disruptive, ever-changing world of technology and the “next big thing” economy that we live in, it is important to strike a balance between staying in touch with new opportunities that will leverage your skills and abilities and keep you in the flow, with making a commitment, and following through, so that the company that hires you realizes good value from your work product.
Mr. Hoffman is very clear that the companies who expect a cradle to grave commitment from employees are a lot like the proverbial ostrich with it’s head in the sand. The organizations that stand the most to gain from the people they hire acknowledge that these individuals are with them for a finite duration and do everything they can to maximize the benefit that can be derived from that expanse of time.
When everyone understands and works with this model, good, sometimes great, things can be accomplished.