Managing careers for
Career management and succession planning are mirror images of each other. The individual has a career that is managed and the organization has a succession plan. The strategy of showing a commitment to the core should be nowhere better revealed than in the organization's approach to career management and succession planning. If the strategy is followed, career management should be used to show individuals that the organization is taking a long-term perspective with them. It should be designed to ensure their development and it should be aimed at addressing their motives. The organization should receive its pay-off from the strategy by being able to carry out succession planning with greater hope that the successors will still be there when the time comes to succeed.
One way of implementing career management is for the organization to take the lead. People are moved and given career opportunities at the behest of a 'chess master' who has an oversight of people in the core. Certainly this is the way that career management generally was conducted in the past. However, the approach is paternalistic. Organizations nowadays want people to take responsibility for their own development and not to leave it as a problem for their employer. Furthermore, people with the overall sense of self-responsibility that is needed by organizations will themselves want to examine the choices and make decisions for themselves.
A particular problem with the organization-managed approach is that it very easily slips from being paternalistic and benevolent into a form of destruction testing. McCall (1998) describes how organizations can, all too readily, fall into the trap of leading people into situations to see if they sink or swim rather than systematically developing them. He sees the approach as the trap of 'right stuff' thinking. The premise is that the organization has