The problems in succession planning

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The Problems in Succession Planning

The above quote is true for a broad array of situations and processes, including succession planning. Whether it is anticipated retirements and resignations or unexpected emergencies and disasters, it is vitally important for organizations to have a succession plan. Unfortunately, succession planning, like most processes established in an organization, tends to arise out of necessity. In fact, many organizations experience serious succession problems before implementing the very safeguards that could have protected them. When this happens, organizational leaders can turn their hindsight into foresight by using their understanding of what went wrong to create a more effective succession plan for the future. In this week’s Assignment, you examine how succession plans could have helped organizations before serious succession problems occurred.

For this Assignment, review the six vignettes presented on pages 3 and 4 of the course text Effective Succession Planning. As you review each of these vignettes, assume that you are the lead human resources (HR) professional for the organizations depicted in the vignettes. After you have reflected on each vignette, select one on which to conduct an analysis that focuses on the needs for formalized succession plans.

Vignette 3

1.     Define the problem.

·         Describe the vignette that you selected.

·         Describe at least two ways this vignette depicts an organization with a flawed or nonexistent succession plan.

·         Predict at least two ways the problem affects the sustainability of the organization.

2.     Identify the cause.

·         Could an effective succession plan have reduced the likelihood of this specific consequence from occurring?

o    If yes, justify your response by describing at least one way a succession plan could have addressed this issue before it escalated to the problem(s) portrayed in the vignette.

o    If no, why do you feel that in this vignette a succession plan would not have addressed this issue before it escalated? Would a succession plan have assisted in some of the fallout from this situation, other than the underlying issue? What actions, outside of succession planning, could the organization have taken to avoid this undesirable consequence? Justify your position.




Rothwell, W. J. (2016). Effective succession planning. (5th ed.). New York, NY: Amacom.

o    Chapter 1, “What Is Succes sion Planning and Management?”

This chapter provides introductory information and insights into succession planning and management, a crucial process for developing, replacing, and motivating key talent within organizations. The chapter explains many reasons why succession planning is important, and also discusses traditional and alternative approaches to succession planning.

o    Chapter 2, “Trends Influencing Succession Planning and Management”

In this brief chapter, the author identifies 10 important trends related to succession planning, such as the need for speed, the importance of knowledge management, and the involvement of the board of directors. The author explains these trends, justifies their reality, and offers conclusions about what they suggest for the future of succession planning.

o    Chapter 3, “Moving to a State-of-the-Art Approach”

The question of what characteristics and best practices constitute effective succession planning is addressed in this chapter. The chapter lists 15 important characteristics, such as top management support, a systematic approach, and emphasis on formal mentoring. The chapter also analyzes seven common problems in succession planning and how organizations can mitigate them.