Developing Internal Successors
For a succession planning and management program to be effective, the organization
must have some means by which to replace key job incumbents as vacancies occur in
their positions. Promotion from within is a time-honored and crucially important,
albeit traditional, way to do that.
But, to prepare individuals for promotion, the organization has an obligation to
do more than merely identify present and future work requirements and perform-
ance. It must find some way to clarify—and to systematically close—the develop-
mental gap between what possible successors can already do and what they must do
to qualify for advancement. Individual development planning is the process of clarify-
ing that developmental gap; internal development uses planned training, education,
development, and other means—including on-the-job work assignments—to close
developmental gaps and thereby meet succession needs.
This chapter focuses on determining the organization’s collective succession
needs, using promotion from within to meet those needs, clarifying individual devel-
opmental gaps, and closing those gaps systematically through planned training, edu-
cation, and development. More specifically, then, this chapter addresses the following
' What is bench strength, and how can the leaders of an organization test bench
' Why is internal promotion so important for succession, and when is it—and
when is it not—appropriate for meeting SP&M needs?
' What is an individual development plan (IDP)? How should one be prepared,
followed up, and evaluated?
' What are some important methods of internal development, and when should
they be used?
American Management Association

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