The Scheme of This Book

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Effective Succession Planning: Ensuring Leadership Continuity and Building

Talent from Within, Third Edition, is written for those wishing to establish,

revitalize, or review an SP&M program within their organizations. It is geared

to meet the needs of HRM and WLP executives, managers, and professionals.

It also contains useful information for chief executive officers, chief operating

officers, general managers, university faculty members who do consulting,

management development specialists who are looking for a detailed treatment

of the subject as a foundation for their own efforts, SP&M program coordinators,

and others bearing major responsibilities for developing management,

professional, technical, sales, or other employees.

The book is organized in four parts. (See Exhibit P-3.) Part I sets the stage.

Chapter 1 opens with dramatic vignettes illustrating typical—and a few rivet-

Exhibit P-3. The Organization of the Book

Part I

Background Information About

Succession Planning and Management

Part III

Assessing the Present and the Future

Part IV

Closing the “Developmental Gap”:

Operating and Evaluating a Succession

Planning and Management Program

Part II

Laying the Foundation for a

Succession Planning and

Management Program

ingly atypical—problems in SP&M. The chapter also defines succession planning

and management. It also distinguishes it from replacement planning,

workforce planning, talent management, and human capital management.

Then the chapter goes on to emphasize its importance, explain why organizations

sponsor such programs, and describe different approaches to succession

planning and management.

Chapter 2 describes key trends influencing succession planning and management.

Those trends are: (1) the need for speed; (2) a seller’s market for

skills; (3) reduced loyalty among employers and workers; (4) the importance

of intellectual capital and knowledge management; (5) the key importance of

values and competencies; (6) more software available to support succession;

(7) the growing activism of boards of directors; (8) growing awareness of similarities

and differences in succession issues globally; (9) growing awareness of

similarities and differences of succession programs in special venues: government,

nonprofit, education, small business, and family business; and (10)

managing a special issue: CEO succession. The chapter clarifies what these

trends mean for SP&M efforts.

Chapter 3 summarizes the characteristics of effective SP&M programs, describes

the life cycle of SP&M programs, identifies and solves common problems

with various approaches to SP&M, describes the requirements and key

steps in a fifth-generation approach to SP&M, and explains how new approaches

to organizational change may be adapted for use with SP&M.

Chapter 4 defines competencies, explains how they are used in SP&M,

summarizes how to conduct competency studies for SP&M and use the results,

explains how organizational leaders can ‘‘build’’ competencies using development

strategies, defines values, and explains how values and values clarification

can guide SP&M efforts.

Part II consists of Chapters 5 through 7. It lays the foundation for an effective

SP&M program. Chapter 5 describes how to make the case for change,

often a necessary first step before any change effort can be successful. The

chapter reviews such important steps in this process as assessing current

SP&M practices, demonstrating business need, determining program requirements,

linking SP&M to strategic planning and human resource planning,

benchmarking SP&M practices in other organizations, and securing management

commitment. It also emphasizes the critical importance of the CEO’s

role in SP&M in businesses.

Building on the previous chapter, Chapter 6 explains how to clarify roles

in an SP&M program; formulate the program’s mission, policy, and procedure

statements; identify target groups; and set program priorities. It also addresses

the legal framework in SP&M and provides advice about strategies for rolling

out an SP&M program.

Chapter 7 rounds out Part II. It offers advice on preparing a program action

plan, communicating the action plan, conducting SP&M meetings, designing

and delivering training to support SP&M, and counseling managers about

SP&M problems uniquely affecting them and their areas of responsibility.

Part III comprises Chapters 8 and 9. It focuses on assessing present work

requirements in key positions, present individual performance, future work

requirements, and future individual potential. Crucial to an effective SP&M

program, these activities are the basis for subsequent individual development


Chapter 8 examines the present situation. It addresses the following questions:

How are key positions identified?

What three approaches can be used to determining work requirements

in key positions?

How can full-circle, multirater assessment be used in SP&M?

How is performance appraised?

What techniques and approaches can be used in creating talent pools?

Chapter 9 examines the future. Related to Chapter 8, it focuses on these


What key positions are likely to emerge in the future?

What will be the work requirements in those positions?

What is individual potential assessment, and how can it be carried out?

Part IV consists of Chapters 10 through 14. Chapters in this part focus on

closing the developmental gap by operating and evaluating an SP&M program.

Chapter 10 offers advice for testing the organization’s overall bench strength,

explains why an internal promotion policy is important, defines the term individual

development plan (IDP), describes how to prepare and use an IDP

to guide individual development, and reviews important methods to support

internal development.

Chapter 11 moves beyond the traditional approach to SP&M. It offers alternatives

to internal development as the means by which to meet replacement

needs. The basic idea of the chapter is that underlying a replacement need is

a work need that must be satisfied. There are, of course, other ways to meet

work needs than by replacing a key position incumbent. The chapter provides

a decision model to distinguish between situations when replacing a key position

incumbent is—and is not—warranted.

Chapter 12 examines how to apply online and high-tech approaches to

SP&M programs. The chapter addresses four major questions: (1) How are

online and high-tech methods defined? (2) In what areas of SP&M can online

and high-tech methods be applied? (3) How are online and high-tech applications

used? and (4) What specialized competencies are required by succession

planning coordinators to use these applications?

Chapter 13 is about evaluation, and it examines possible answers to three

simple questions: (1) What is evaluation? (2) What should be evaluated in

SP&M? and (3) How should an SP&M program be evaluated?

Chapter 14 concludes the book. It offers eight predictions about SP&M.

More specifically, I end the book by predicting that SP&M will: (1) prompt

efforts by decision-makers to find flexible strategies to address future organizational

talent needs; (2) lead to integrated retention policies and procedures

that are intended to identify high-potential talent earlier, retain that talent,

and preserve older high-potential workers; (3) have a global impact; (4) be

influenced increasingly by real-time technological innovations; (5) become an

issue in government agencies, academic institutions, and nonprofit enterprises

in a way never before seen; (6) lead to increasing organizational openness

about possible successors; (7) increasingly be integrated with career development

issues; and (8) be heavily influenced in the future by concerns about

work/family balance and spirituality.

The book ends with two appendices. Appendix I addresses frequently

asked questions (FAQs) about succession planning and management. Appendix

II provides a range of case studies about succession planning and management

that describe how it is applied in various settings.

One last thing. You may be asking yourself: ‘‘How is the third edition of

this classic book different from the second edition?’’ While I did not add or

drop chapters, I did make many changes to this book. Allow me to list just a


The book opens with an Advance Organizer, a new feature that allows

you to assess the need for an effective SP&M program in your organization

and to go immediately to chapters that address special needs.

The survey research cited in this book is new, conducted in year 2004.

The literature cited in the book has been expanded and updated.

New sections in one chapter have been added on specialized topics

within succession, including: (1) CEO succession; (2) succession in government;

(3) succession in small business; (4) succession in family business;

and (5) succession in international settings.

A new section has been added on using assessment centers and work

portfolios in potential assessment.

A new section has been added on the use of psychological assessments

in succession, a topic of growing interest.

The section on competency identification, modeling, and assessment

has been updated.

A new section has been added on planning developmental strategies.

A new section has been added on the CEO’s role in succession.

The book closes with a selection of frequently asked questions (FAQs)

about succession planning and management, which is new.

A CD-ROM has been added to the book—a major addition in its own

right—and it contains reproducible copies of all assessment instruments

and worksheets that appear in the book as well as three separate

briefings/workshops: one on mentoring, one as an executive briefing on

succession, and one on the manager’s role in succession. (The table of

contents for the CD is found at the back of this book.)

All these changes reflect the many changes that have occurred in the succession

planning and management field within the last few years and since the

last edition was published.

William J. Rothwell

University Park, Pennsylvania

January 2005

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