Where did it come from? In the good old days, we had careers. We worked for businesses that could be represented on organisational charts. Life seemed predictable. When Charles Handy was a junior manager at Shell, he was told what he would be doing, where and when, over the next 30 years. Handy eventually ran away, appalled (bet the succession plan at Shell hadn't allowed for that). But, gradually, time-serving started to lose some of its power as a qualification for promotion. Ageism emerged too, and with it the idea that some jobs were really 'a young person's game'. Careers got shorter, and succession plans were torn up.
Where is it going? Now, firms tend to follow a twin-track policy on succession planning. Key staff - 'talent' - is nurtured. These are the people in pivotal positions who you really don't want to lose. The rest? Well... good luck to them. But the employee can have the last laugh here. Aided by online social networks, such as LinkedIn, Plaxo and Facebook, people can tout themselves to future employers. They can create their own succession plan. After all, employers have been telling them for some time that there is 'no job for life any more'. Now you too can be a person with a plan.
Fad quotient (out of 10):
Slipping at 5.