Effective Succession Planning: Ensuring Leadership Continuity and Building Talent from Within

Effective Succession Planning: Ensuring Leadership Continuity and Building Talent from Within

Effective Succession Planning: Ensuring Leadership Continuity and Building Talent from Within

Effective Succession Planning: Ensuring Leadership Continuity and Building Talent from Within


"In the seminal first edition of Effective Succession Planning, William J. Rothwell warned that businesses that don't take proactive steps to plan for future talent needs at all levels will face certain disruptions, and even disasters, when key employees retire or are lured away by competitors.

Since then, the landscape has become even more complicated. Many organizations have already felt the effects of an aging workforce as increasing numbers of experienced employees retire, taking with them not only the capacity to do the work but also the accumulated wisdom they have acquired over the years. This serious loss of valuable institutional memory has made it apparent that no organization can afford to be without a strong succession program.

Now in its third edition, Effective Succession Planning is still the most comprehensive and authoritative book on the subject. Updated and expanded to reflect the latest trends and best practices in succession management, the book presents strategies for creating a complete, systematic succession planning program. You'll learn how to:

• Identify competencies and clarify values for both planning and managing a succession program.

• Plan for and quickly fill crucial vacancies at all levels from top management to sales, administrative, technical, and production positions.

• Develop and retain top talent, building and preserving your organization's intellectual capital.

• Assess current needs and future resources for seamless succession planning.

• Use online and other technology tools to organize and implement succession planning and management programs.

This edition includes all-new material reflecting the author's surveys on whole systems transformation; software support packages; tapping retirees to manage succession crises; and more. The book also features a new diagnostic tool to assess specific succession needs, plus illuminating case studies and a CD-ROM with worksheets, assessment tools, and training guides -- everything your organization needs to create, sustain, and evaluate a strong succession planning program."


A colleague told me over the phone the other day that “there have been no new developments in succession planning for decades.” My response was, “Au contraire. There have been many changes. Perhaps you are simply not conversant with how the playing field has changed.” I pointed out to him that, since the second edition of this book was published, there have been many changes in the world and in succession planning. Allow me a moment to list a few:

Changes in the World

The Aftereffects of 9/11. When the World Trade Center was destroyed, 172 corporate vice presidents lost their lives. That tragic event reinforced the message, earlier foreshadowed by the tragic loss of life in Oklahoma City, that life is fragile and talent at all levels is increasingly at risk in a world where disaster can strike unexpectedly. In a move that would have been unthinkable ten years ago, some organizations are examining their bench strength in locations other than their headquarters in New York City, Washington, or other cities that might be prone to attack if terrorists should wipe out a whole city through use of a dirty nuclear weapon or other chemical or biological agent. Could the organization pick up the pieces and continue functioning without headquarters? That awful, but necessary, question is on the minds of some corporate and government leaders today. (In fact, one client of mine has set a goal of making a European capital the alternative corporate headquarters, with a view toward having headquarters completely re-established in Europe within 24 hours of the total loss of the New York City headquarters, if disaster should strike.)

The Aftereffects of Many Corporate Scandals. Ethics, morality, and values have never been more prominent than they are today. In the wake of the scandals affecting Enron, Global Crossing, WorldCom, and many other corporations—and the incredible departure of Arthur Andersen from the corporate world—many leaders have recognized that ethics, morality, and values do matter. Corporate boards have gotten more involved in succession plan-

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