Any company that’s going to make it has got to find a way to engage the mind of every single employee.

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Any company that’s going to make it has got to find a way to engage the mind of every single employee. If you’re not thinking all the time about making every person more valuable, you don’t have a chance. What’s the alternative? Wasted minds? Uninvolved people? A labor force that’s angry or bored? That doesn’t make sense.

-Jack Welch, CEO, GE

There are many barriers that impede organizations from developing and implementing formalized succession processes. For example, a chief executive officer (CEO) may be unwilling to participate due to time constraints and/or a lack of understanding and motivation. The board of directors may fear internal politics and rivalries between potential successors. Executives might view formalized processes as a form of replacement planning, causing them to keep positional knowledge on policies and procedures away from high-potential employees. As the above quote from Jack Welch emphasizes, organizations must find a way to engage all employees in the succession planning process. One such way to eliminate or overcome the barriers that can impede the potential progress of succession planning.

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In this week’s Discussion, analyze barriers to succession planning and their potential organizational risks. Before completing this Discussion, review Chapter 3, “Bright Horizons Family Solutions: Case Study” of the course text Linkage Inc.’s Best Practices for Succession Planning: Case Studies, Research, Models, Tools. Examine how the Bright Horizons Family Solutions organization identified its needs, overcame its barriers, and ultimately changed its informal succession plan into a formalized, effective system.

  • Analyze barriers to formal and informal succession planning.As a future HR professional, which succession planning barrier do you foresee as being the hardest to overcome? Why?Is this barrier present in informal succession plans, formal succession plans, or both?
  • Propose a strategy you could implement to overcome, or mitigate, the negative consequences of this barrier.
  • Evaluate organizational risks that result from informal succession plans.Identify one aspect of informal succession plans that might pose the greatest risk for an organization’s sustainable competitive advantage.
  • Which aspect of an organization might this risk impact more—day-to-day operations, the financial bottom line, or the culture of the organization? Why?
  • Despite the negative consequences that this risk brings to an organization, why might some organizations still choose to identify successors using informal methods?
  • If you were an HR professional in an organization using informal succession planning methods, how might you use succession planning exemplars, such as the “Bright Horizons Family Solutions: Case Study” presented in this week’s Learning Resources, to educate senior executives on the benefits of formalized succession plans?How can exemplars such as these be used to reduce organizational risk and/or identify potential barriers for an organization?

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