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12 assessment process and they can structure programs that development program. In recognition of the importance of suc- assume that individual employees have a share of the burden cession planning for leadership positions, the Academy recom- to ensure a well-qualified workforce. mended that the administrator of NASA appoint an Executive Utilization Board, which he would personally chair, that "would have the corporate responsibility for identifying, devel- SUCCESSION PLANNING oping, and assigning the top ten to fifteen percent of the career executives in the agency," thus ensuring that NASA will have Succession planning is an important component of any orga- available the leadership talent needed to fill leadership vacan- nization's human capital management program and has impor- cies as they occur (Human Capital Flexibilities . . . 2005). tant implications for structuring training and development programs. The Baby Boomers are retiring, the available labor Succession planning is important not only because it force is predicted to grow at a much slower rate in the first third ensures an orderly transition within an organization, but of the 21st century than it did in the last half of the 20th cen- because well-trained, competent supervisors, managers, and tury, and the challenges to organizations are continuing to executives are essential to successful organization perfor- grow in number and in complexity. (Baby Boomers, defined mance and play a critical role in engaging the minds and as those born between 1946 and 1964, are redefining retire- hearts of employees in the work of the organization. In his ment, just as they have redefined each generational gate book, Peak Performance: Aligning the Hearts and Minds of through which they have passed. Many are retiring between Your Employees, Jon R. Katzenbach says that: the ages 55 and 60. Because they have a longer life expectancy and generally enjoy better health than previous generations, many are choosing second, or even third, careers and are work- The definition of higher performing workforces--any significant group of employees whose emotional commitment enables them ing part-time or full-time in these new endeavors. However, in to make or deliver products or services that constitute a sustain- 2034, the last of the Baby Boomer generation will turn 70, at able competitive advantage for their employer--implies the fol- which point the majority will have left the workforce. BLS lowing criteria. predicts that birth rates will continue to decrease and that by A larger than normal proportion (i.e., more than one-third) of the 20202030 decade, the annual labor force increase will be individual workers consistently exceeds the expectations of 0.3% as compared with an annual growth rate of 1.6% in the their leaders and customers. late 1990s and very early 2000s. Thirty years is a relatively The average worker performs better than the average com- petitive worker--[Katzenbach identifies training and devel- short time to totally rethink how an organization will acquire, opment opportunities as one of the motivating/energizing retain, and develop the talent needed to accomplish an organi- mechanisms]. zation's strategic goals and objectives in a significantly more A strong emotional commitment to higher standards and competitive labor market.) These challenges suggest that suc- aspirations is reflected all across the workforce and appears to create a multiplier beyond what rational systems and pro- cession planning will grow in importance and will focus on the grams could explain. identification and development of a cadre of well-qualified The collective performance of the entire workforce or of its talent for both leadership and critical occupation positions. critical segments [typically the front line; Katzenbach defines `the front line' as the employees who work directly with cus- tomers and the supervisors of these employees] forms the core Essential elements of a succession planning program are: of the institution's competitive advantage and is extremely dif- ficult to copy. Identify the positions for which the organization wants to ensure a readily available supply of well-trained A well-structured, well-run succession planning program candidates. is an essential ingredient for a successful organization. Identify the mission-critical competencies needed to Although public and private organizations have different perform successfully in each position. motivations and often different values, research continues to Identify the positions, special assignments, training show that to be successful both must have a cadre of talented courses, educational experiences, coaching, and men- first line supervisors. toring needed for individuals to develop the compe- tence to perform successfully in each of the positions The Gallup Organization research in both the public and the identified. private sector on what employees seek in an organization Develop a methodology to identify and select individu- (employee engagement) consistently shows that well-trained als to be developed. first line supervisors are critical to individual and organizational Have a group of key executives, usually including the success. For example, work units with well-trained supervisors head of the organization, actively involved in each of can be as much as 40% more productive. More information these steps on an ongoing basis. about this research can be found at NAPA recently completed a review of the National Aero- A related and subsidiary component of succession planning nautics and Space Administration's (NASA) human capital is an organization's career development program. As Shelly program, including its succession planning and leadership Prochaska observed in her February 2000 article "Designing