Essential Books

Effective Succession Planning by William J. Rothwell – It’s not surprising that Rothwell’s work is one of the best selling succession planning books on the market. Its pragmatic tone–yet founded in research–make it easy to apply the lessons in the book. Furthermore, checklists, worksheets and templates give one a starting point for quality succession planning.

Linkage Inc.’s Best Practices in Succession Planning – This book offers in-depth insight into how many of today’s top-performing companies tackle the issue of succession planning. It is well organized, includes many examples or best practices, worksheets, templates, etc. and is written in a reader-friendly way. While the book is most likely best combined with a more general resource such as Rothwell’s, it provides a great deal of case information to simplify top management buy-in.

The Talent Management Handbook by Lance Berger and Dorothy Berger – The Talent Management Handbook does well in addressing often overlooked sides of succession issues such as promoting and sustaining a innovative and sustainable corporate culture. At the same time, the book has a very practitioner-friendly tone and includes many concrete steps to initiate change in one’s own HR department.

The Talent Review Meeting Facilitator’s Guide by Doris Sims – As the book’s name implies, this more of a practical guide with templates, checklists, etc than a catch-all for succession planning. The book is even more useful when combined with a more general overview of succession planning and succession planning strategy such as “Effective Succession Planning”.

Essential Scholarly Articles

  1. Lewis/Heckman, 2006, Talent Management: a Critical Review, in: Human Resource Management Review
  2. Buckingham/Vosburgh 2001, The 21st century human resources function: It’s the talent, stupid! in: Human Resource Planning
  3. Rothwell, 1994, Effective succession planning: Ensuring leadership continuity and building talent from within. New York: Amacom
  4. Chavez, 2011, The Case for Succession Planning, in: Strategic Finance