Magazine article Talent Development

William J. Rothwell

Magazine article Talent Development

William J. Rothwell

Article excerpt

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

WILLIAM J. ROTHWELL

President, Rothwell & Associates Inc.

Professor of Human Resource Development, Pennsylvania State University

University Park, Pennsylvania

Rothwell oversees a human resource development graduate program at Pennsylvania State University. He is also the head of a full-service consulting firm that specializes in succession planning and management. Rothwell has been a training and development professional since 1979, and has consulted to more than 30 multinational corporations including extensive work with Motorola University in China.

Q WHAT IS ONE CHANGE YOU'D LIKE TO SEE IN THE FIELD OF HUMAN RESOURCES?

I'd like to see HR people become more self-confident. My sense is that about two-thirds of HR people and perhaps many training and development professionals are promoted from within, and sometimes they lack a basic knowledge of HR or training, and their companies do not do a very good job of training them. The result is that they lack credibility with management, and if they get a seat at the strategic table, no one will listen to them.

I'd say the foundation of HR knowledge is knowledge of the laws governing employment in the country where you work. The next level up would be to know all the functional areas of HR enough to have an intelligent conversation with people who are working in that area. The third level would be knowledge of the business. The highest level of competence is the ability to integrate all of those lower levels, and to solve practical daily problems for employees and managers.

I'd also like to see HR and learning and performance professionals stick to their guns when challenged. In other words, they should know their stuff so that when a business leader says, "No, we don't want to do that," they can come back with strong reasons on why we should do that based on professional expertise. If you don't have credibility, you probably don't have the self-confidence you need to function effectively in a staff capacity that relies on the ability to give advice.

Q WHAT IS THE IMPORTANCE OF EFFECTIVE SUCCESSION PLANNING WITHIN AN ORGANIZATION?

About 70 percent of all succession plans eventually fail, so one of the key things to consider is a program's sustainability. …

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