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The "Tour of Duty" approach to management and hiring...

This concept popped up on the Masters of Scale podcast and hasn’t gone away. It's been gnawing at me, mostly because it fits with a lot of my hiring experiences. With hindsight, this metaphor has gone a long way to explain why some staff stay, why some leave and what time commitment to expect from them.

The best form of learning is writing - so
here we go. A crash course in Tours of Duty.

Let's start with the academic overview of the concept from Harvard Business Review.

What is a "Tour of Duty"? It's a mapped out journey for both employee and employer. By setting expectations up front, you can manage the intergenerational conflict that occur between people who tend to stay in jobs for longer vs people who do a series of jobs for experience. It is an ethical contract, not a legal one - an undertaking by both parties of "what you want to get out of this".

When you hire someone, the idea is to define their Tour of Duty with them - what is the mission they…
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