Lori J. Spina (The Delta Group Network, Inc., USA)
James D. Spina (The Delta Group Network, Inc., USA)

Beyond Succession Planning: New Ways to Develop Talent

ISBN: 978-1-83982-079-3, eISBN: 978-1-83982-078-6

Publication date: 8 February 2021


Spina, L.J. and Spina, J.D. (2021), "Prelims", Beyond Succession Planning: New Ways to Develop Talent, Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. i-xii.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021 The Delta Group Network, Inc.

Half Title

Beyond Succession Planning

Title Page

Beyond Succession Planning: New Ways to Develop Talent

Lori Spina

The Delta Group Network, Inc., USA

James D. Spina

The Delta Group Network, Inc., USA

United Kingdom – North America – Japan – India – Malaysia – China

Copyright Page

Emerald Publishing Limited

Howard House, Wagon Lane, Bingley BD16 1WA, UK

First edition 2021

© 2021 The Delta Group Network, Inc.

Reprints and permissions service


No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without either the prior written permission of the publisher or a licence permitting restricted copying issued in the UK by The Copyright Licensing Agency and in the USA by The Copyright Clearance Center. No responsibility is accepted for the accuracy of information contained in the text, illustrations or advertisements. The opinions expressed in these chapters are not necessarily those of the Author or the publisher.

British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data

A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library

ISBN: 978-1-83982-079-3 (Print)

ISBN: 978-1-83982-078-6 (Online)

ISBN: 978-1-83982-080-9 (Epub)


The authors would like to thank and recognize the following people. They have been an invaluable set of advisors. The authors truly appreciate their thoughtful comments along with the time it took to encourage our work.

International Business

Daniel Auriel, PhD – Germany, Lecturer: R.H. Smith School of Business

Dirk Baquet, MBA – Germany, Lecturer: R.H. Smith School of Business

Stefan Blobelt, MBA – Switzerland, Lecturer: R.H. Smith School of Business

University Business Schools

Interim Dean Jon Aberman – Marymount Business School

Associate Dean Michael Pfarrer – University of Georgia: Terry College of Business

Michael Parke – London Business School Assistant Professor

Gerald Suarez – University of Maryland Professor of the Practice: R. H. Smith School of Business

Corporate Reviewers

Ben Bengougam – Hilton Worldwide Hospitality

Jack Conaty – Fox News Chicago (Ret.)

Tom DeMartino – Kaiser-Permanente (Ret.)


Frank Spina – California


Preface xi
Introduction 1
  Our Purpose 1
  The Challenges of Strategic Succession System Changes and Implementation 1
  The Replacement Plan Problem 2
1. Rethinking Your Succession Management System 5
  How to Evaluate Your Succession Management System 6
  How to Reduce Resistance to Change 7
  Building a New Succession Management System 9
  What it Takes to Move Forward 10
2. Aligning Critical Organizational Elements with a Strategic Succession System 13
  Vision and Mission Statements 13
  Align Key Success Factors with Critical Resources 14
  The Roles Played by Values and Strategies 15
3. Revisiting Your Performance Appraisal System 17
  How to Apply a “S.W.O.T.” (Strengths/Weaknesses/Opportunities/Threats) to Performance Appraisal Analysis 18
  Five Factors to Move Beyond Tradition Appraisal Systems 19
  How to Improve Appraisal Feedback and Avoid Rating Errors 21
  The Top Six Rating Errors 21
  How to Align Meaningful Rewards with Performance 23
4. Critical Thinking Skills for Succession Decisions 25
  Top Management: Three Levels of Thinking 25
  Application of Critical Thinking Outcomes 28
  “What People Want From Work” 28
5. Communicating the Need for a New Succession Process 31
  Effective Communication Skills 31
  Two-way Communication Challenges 32
  Leadership Styles for Leading Change 34
  Ways to Engage Key Staff in the Succession Process 34
6. Creative Thinking Methods That Work 37
  Creativity Versus Innovation 37
  Examples of Creative Thinking in Action 37
  Barriers to Creative Thinking: “I Can Read Your Mind” 38
  A Creative Thinking Exercise 39
  Nominal Group Brainstorming39Interpretation of Responses: “I Can Read Your Mind” 40
7. Creating A Strategic Succession System 43
  Align Key Organizational Elements with Business Strategy 43
  Drive Fear out of the Workplace 44
  Create Succession Readiness Categories 44
  Delegating for Development of Talent 45
  A Successful Case Study 46
  Qualifications 46
  Effective Delegation as an Example 47
  Successful Outcomes 48
8. A Succession System for High Potential and High Performing Staff 49
  How to Build a Development Program for High Potential People 49
  How to Build an Effective Mentoring Program 50
  Phases of a Typical Mentoring Relationship 54
  How to Build Development Plans for Protégés 55
  How to Build Development Plans for High Performers 59
  A Team Project Centered Learning Activity 61
  A Project Focused Learning Activity for Individuals 62
9. Looking Ahead: Artificial Intelligence and Developing Talent 67
  Using AI as a Tool for Managing Talent 69
  Bringing AI into the Organization 70
  Storing Data 70
10. Special Issues 73
  Seeking Outside Expertise – Do We Need It? 73
  How to Choose a Consultant 74
  Challenges of Developing Management Talent 75
  Revisiting the Ways People are Rewarded for Embracing Change 75
  An Invitation 79
EPILOGUE – The “C” Leadership Theory Explained 81
Appendix 1. Training of Mentors 89
Appendix 2. An Introduction and Tutorial to the Uncertainty Principle 99
Appendix 3. An Annotated List of Current AI Tools for Working Remotely 103
Appendix 4. Primary References – Classic and Current 105
Appendix 5. Effective Delegation 107
Index 111


In the middle of writing this book the authors, along with almost everyone else, had to cease working to deal with the personal urgency of the 2020 Coronavirus Pandemic. As business writers, we also had to reflect on the long-term effects of this world-wide threat to business strategies. The strategy for guiding our writing focuses on the research completed regarding business succession challenges coupled with the presentation of our successful time-tested methods that address those challenges.

Some lessons to be learned from this pandemic require the re-thinking of how an organization will function given the trend of working remotely rather than behind the traditional desk or even on some equipment. Envision a business organization where less travel is scheduled and many, but not all, workers operate from home. In addition to required offices some office space will be needed from time-to-time for certain strategic planning meetings and interactive group training purposes. However, they may be rentals rather than leased facilities. Meetings and training activities can be effectively employed online in some cases. In doing so there may be a need to upgrade the listening skills of some staff members.

A striking example of the effect of the virus pandemic is the restructuring of the General Electric’s aviation division. After 40 years with GE, the incumbent aviation’s CEO will retire and be replaced with an outsider who will reshape the business to meet the sharp drop in air travel and the production cutbacks for its major customers.

GE looked far and wide for a successor from both inside and outside sources before they selected a candidate from a Brazilian plane maker (WSJ 6/16/20).

We fear that the aftereffects of the pandemic will be felt long after it drops off the headlines. Also, we believe that doing business or operating a non-profit will not return to the “good old days” when fear of contact was not a factor. The implications of this potential scenario can affect everything we do from teaching students, to overwhelming home delivery systems, to reinventing medical care routines and beyond.

With those things in mind, we decided to revisit ways to continue to employ face-to-face meetings, two-way communication techniques and daily conversations to align business needs with those of other stakeholders. We still recommend face-to-face meetings with staff and two-way communication to employ our methods but to use new technologies to do so, when needed. We urge the leaders of organizations to continue to include desired behaviors of the endeavor’s key success factors in regular conversations. Doing so will reinforce the organization’s strategies and culture. We have now embedded those ways within our suggested methods. A list of current remote communication tools can be found in Appendix 2.

We also believe that emerging leadership models need to be explored to discover new ways to lead organizations. They also often require new ways to think strategically. For our purposes, there are two types of strategy to ponder in any organization: corporate and business. Corporate strategy refers to the industry the organization chooses to operate in while business strategy tells us how it will operate within that arena. The terms apply equally to “for profit” and “non-profit” organizations.

The Epilogue in this book presents an introduction to a completely new leadership model we have developed over many years. The model takes the modern physics concept of duality into consideration to describe its new approach to making business decisions based upon leadership styles to meet all stakeholders’ needs. This is our effort to launch a new round of creative thinking to meet the changing leadership demands looming ahead. We look forward to your comments and questions about our unique approach to the apparent impossibility of meeting the needs of all stakeholders in the organization.

One final point before we proceed with this book on the changes predicted for succession systems: an ongoing theme that we emphasize in our writings and teaching activities is the concept of dealing with the threat of entropy to organizations.

For our purposes, we view entropy as a slow spiraling decline of an organization that often leads to its demise. The current virus pandemic has the potential to increase the speed of entropy if the organization does not adjust and reorganize to meet changing consumer needs and reduce the fears of personal contact that the pandemic provokes.

The reader may wish to jump ahead to the Instructor’s Notes in Appendix 1 to explore the threat of entropy in more detail as it applies to training of mentors in the implementation of a new succession system. A graphic diagram supplies a compact look at dealing with entropy.