If you're looking for a quick, easy, and fun guide to constantly cultivating from within your organization the talent to move up and fill positions left behind by others, don't look here. Written by a human resources expert who teaches at Penn State, Effective Succession Planning must surely be one of the driest books ever written on this topic, from its aggressively unsexy title and jacket to its college-textbook format and arsenal of supplementary checklists, flowcharts, and exercises.
Having said that, it's also probably one of the most thorough books on the topic (and a fine complement to The Leadership Pipeline), incorporating methodical and meticulous guidelines to preparing for and quickly filling crucial vacancies at all levels of the organization, from top management to sales, administrative, technical, and production positions. Not only does it lay out a plan for instituting a long-term succession planning program that includes everything from early action steps to ongoing evaluation and revision, it also shows how to develop, monitor, and evaluate talent and skills in individual employees in order to promote effectively from within (although it acknowledges that sometimes the best choices come from outside, and offers key steps for optimizing the outside-search process as well).
Everything is covered here, from the legal implications of hiring and firing and online and high-tech resources to major trends that will affect succession planning in the years ahead. And, thank god, the author has incorporated some case studies--both fictional/composite and those of several large real-life companies--to add some names and faces to a volume that's about as dry as the Sahara, and (for human-resource professionals, at least) potentially as welcome as a fresh supply of water if you happened to be stuck in such a place.