Developing Internal Successors 247
Exhibit 10-3. Talent Shows: What Happens?
At Eli Lilly, the direct managers of high-potential individuals par ticipate in intensive
assessment discussions with other executives concerning the individual’s strengths,
development needs, and career potential. The individual’s manager then provides
her with the key points of feedback from the assessment discussion. Afterward, the
individual works with the manager to develop a personal career plan that reﬂects
her perceived career potential and also factors in her career interests and goals.
The career plan is reviewed by the manager and individual and is updated when
needed or, at a minimum, on an annual basis.
The amount of time that executives in many companies are devoting to succession
planning is a clear reﬂection of the increased priority placed on developing top
talent. At Dow Chemical, the Human Resource Council—a small group that in-
cludes the CEO and a handful of his key staff members—spends ﬁve days each year
off-site on succession planning: talking about candidates, reviewing development
plans, and directing development assignments. At Corning, executives in each
major unit spend one to four days per year in people reviews that extend down well
below the managerial level. The involvement of senior executives is often expressed
in very personal ways. In a number of companies, CEOs, such as former General
Electric’s Jack Welch, review job assignments and compensation recommendations
for several hundred managers.
Source: John Beeson, ‘‘Succession Planning,’’ Across the Board 37:2 (2000), 39. Used by permission.
Essential Components of an Internal Promotion Policy
To be effective, an internal promotion policy should do the following:
' Unequivocally state the organization’s commitment to promoting employees
from within whenever possible and whenever they are qualiﬁed to meet the
work requirements of new positions. (But it is best to cap promotions at 80
percent to avoid too much inbreeding.)
' Deﬁne internal promotion.
' Explain the business reasons for that policy.
' Explain the legitimate conditions under which that policy can be waived and
an external candidate can be selected.
Since an internal promotion policy will naturally build employee expectations
that most promotions will be made from within, decision makers should anticipate
challenges—legal and otherwise—to every promotion decision that is made. For that
reason, the policy should be reviewed by HR professionals, operating managers, and
legal professionals before it is implemented or widely communicated. In any case,
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