Growing Your Company’s Leaders: How Great Organizations Use Succession Management to Sustain Competitive Advantage

January 2, 2004

book coverRobert M. Fulmer and Jay A. Conger, (AMACOM, 2004)

Why do so many newly minted leaders fail so spectacularly? Part of the problem is that in many companies, succession planning is little more than creating a list of high-potential employees and the slots they might fill. Succession management is a bit like life insurance, says Jay Conger. Everyone knows it is important, but few of us like to talk about why it is necessary.

For decades, succession management has been considered one human sources system that every company needed. Its primary purpose was to identify replacements for senior executives who would eventually depart the organization through death or retirement. It was rare to think about the top person being lured away by another company. Times have changed, and with it succession planning has outgrown organizations’ traditionally narrow mechanical approach. Today, it’s about uncovering and correcting the skills gaps that derail promising young executives, by marrying succession planning with leadership development to transform the organization’s managers into its future leaders.

Conger identifies five rules for establishing a healthy succession management system: focus on opportunities for development, identify lynchpin positions, make the system transparent, measure progress regularly, and be flexible.

In this book, Conger explores how the competition for talent is changing and reports on what some leading firms have done to use succession management as a source of strategic advantage. The book also provides a detailed blueprint for designing an effective succession system at any organization.

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