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Succession planning has emerged as an important issue as the world’s population ages under the dual impact of falling birthrates globally and improved healthcare. No longer is it easy to assume that young people will occupy traditional entry-level positions. Nor is it easy to fill positions from outside as other organizations scramble to make up for years of downsizing and cost-cutting. Succession planning can be systematic and can be effectively implemented, but that requires knowledgeable leaders who are committed to developing their people. This webinar will define succession planning, distinguish it from such related topics as talent management and workforce planning, describe a conceptual model to guide implementation, and summarize key trends and new thinking in succession planning.


  • Definitions
  • Distinguishing succession planning from workforce planning and talent management
  • Conceptual models to guide systematic implementation of succession planning


  • Define succession planning
  • Distinguish succession planning from talent management and workforce planning
  • Review conceptual models to guide systematic implementation of succession planning
  • List important trends in succession planning
  • Review common mistakes made in succession planning and how to avoid them


  • List of trends
  • Review common mistakes made in succession planning and how to avoid them


  • Chief Executive Officers
  • Human resource vice presidents, directors and managers
  • Training directors and their equivalents
  • Talent management directors and their equivalents
  • Operating managers in all departments


William J. Rothwell, Ph.D., SPHR, SHRM-SCP, CPLP Fellow is President of Rothwell and Associates, Inc., a full-service consulting company that specializes in succession planning. He is also a Professor of Learning and Performance in the Workforce Education and Development program, Department of Learning and Performance Systems, at The Pennsylvania State University, University Park campus. In that capacity, he heads up a top-ranked graduate program in learning and performance. He has authored, co-authored, edited, or co-edited 300 books, book chapters, and articles—including 64 books. Before arriving at Penn State in 1993, he had 20 years of work experience as a Training Director in government and in business. As a consultant he has worked with over 50 multinational corporations--including Motorola, General Motors, Ford, and many others. In 2004, he earned the Graduate Faculty Teaching Award at Pennsylvania State University, a single award given to the best graduate faculty member on the 23 campuses of the Penn State system. His train-the- trainer programs have won global awards. His recent books include Innovation Leadership (Routledge, 2018), Improving Human Performance, 3rd ed. (Routledge, 2018), Evaluating Organization Development: How to Ensure and Sustain the Successful Transformation (CRC Press, 2017), Marketing Organization Development Consulting: A How-To Guide for OD Consultants (CRC Press, 2017), Assessment and Diagnosis for Organization Development: Powerful Tools and Perspectives for the OD practitioner (CRC Press, 2017), Community College Leaders on Workforce Development (Rowman & Littlefield, 2017), Organization Development in Practice (ODNetwork, 2016), Mastering the Instructional Design Process, 5th ed. (Wiley, 2016), Practicing Organization Development, 4th ed. (Wiley, 2015), Effective Succession Planning, 5th ed. (AMACOM, 2015), The Competency Toolkit, 2 vols., 2nd ed. (HRD Press, 2015), Beyond Training and Development, 3rd ed. (HRD Press, 2015), The Leader’s Daily Role in Talent Management (McGraw-Hill, 2015), Organization Development Fundamentals (ATD, 2015), Creating Engaged Employees: It’s Worth the Investment (ATD Press, 2014), The Leader’s Daily Role in Talent Management (Institute for Training and Development [Malaysia], 2014), Optimizing Talent in the Federal Workforce (Management Concepts, 2014), Performance Consulting (Wiley, 2014), the ASTD Competency Study: The Training and Development Profession Redefined (ASTD, 2013), Becoming An Effective Mentoring Leader: Proven Strategies for Building Excellence in Your Organization (McGraw-Hill, 2013), Talent Management: A Step-by-Step Action-Oriented Approach Based on Best Practice (HRD Press, 2012), the edited three-volume Encyclopedia of Human Resource Management (Wiley, 2012), Lean But Agile: Rethink Workforce Planning and Gain a True Competitive Advantage (Amacom, 2012), Invaluable Knowledge: Securing Your Company’s Technical Expertise-Recruiting and Retaining Top Talent, Transferring Technical Knowledge, Engaging High Performers (Amacom, 2011), Competency-Based Training Basics (ASTD Press, 2010), Practicing Organization Development, 3rd ed. (Pfeiffer, 2009), Basics of Adult Learning (ASTD, 2009), HR Transformation (Davies-Black, 2008), Working Longer (Amacom, 2008), and Cases in Government Succession Planning: Action-Oriented Strategies for Public-Sector Human Capital Management, Workforce Planning, Succession Planning, and Talent Management (HRD Press, 2008).

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