Summary of Passing The Torch

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Many companies fail to plan for the departure of critical executives and employees. Without a formal succession plan, the leaders of any organization of more than a few hundred employees can’t keep track of everyone critical to running the business, much less when they might leave and what it would take to replace them. You will find everything you need to execute an effective succession plan – templates, charts, worksheets and guides to best practices – in this slim volume. Talent development consultants Wanda Piña-Ramirez and Norma Dávila offer a practical, action-oriented manual that takes you from thinking about succession planning to building a “business case,” assembling a project team, creating and executing the plan, and measuring the results. Though this handbook is not for small businesses, getAbstract recommends the authors’ advice and techniques to CEOs, HR managers, learning officers, and all leaders of midsize or large organizations who must plan for the departure of critical talent.

About the Authors

Wanda Piña-Ramirez and Norma Dávila operate the Human Factor Consulting Group in Puerto Rico. Each is a past president of an ATD chapter.



Succession Planning

A succession plan offers a strategy for replacing pivotal employees or executives in the case of either anticipated or unexpected vacancies. Succession planning is a mission-critical component of your strategy. Succession plans call for developing talent pools of people for possible promotion without guaranteeing anyone a specific position. Succession planning demands time and resources. But, the risk of doing nothing includes significant costs and loss of business.

Succession planning means more than filling vital jobs. It requires regular “talent reviews,” so that you think about your organization’s needs on an ongoing basis, considering the skills and competencies you need now and those you’ll need in the future. Succession planning gives senior executives a formal structure for mentoring. A succession plan also compels managers and leaders to develop employees for future roles, thus proactively building organizational capacity.

Succession planning differs from “replacement planning.” Replacement plans identify people for specific roles in case an incumbent leaves unexpectedly. A replacement plan can substitute for a succession plan while...

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