Case Study: Succession Planning and Leadership Development at Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
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Baby boomers reach retirement age at alarmingly high rates throughout the United States daily. Thus, creating deficiencies in production, efficiency, and institutional knowledge in countless public and private entities. Organizations that focus on succession planning and leadership development emphasize building pipelines of supervisors and managers ready to step into recently vacated executive and senior-level positions. This study focuses on succession planning and leadership development at Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD). By utilizing a model developed in previous Applied Research Projects (Sharon Ley, 2002 & Melissa Whitmore, 2006), a thorough literature review of the latest research suggests organizations still struggle to grasp the importance of implementing succession planning and leadership development programs. Secondly, strategies were assessed and gauged by applying the practical ideal type characteristics to TPWD’s approach to succession planning and leadership development. Finally, based on the review, the case study includes recommendations to improve TPWD’s procedures and policies on effectively implementing a successful succession planning and leadership development program. Document analysis and focused interviews provided the optimal methodology to evaluate the research. The findings indicate department-wide recognition on the importance of implementing a succession plan, but lack of resources prevents fully establishing any dynamic program. Additional recommendations include a dedicated position coordinator, integrating succession planning into the existing leadership development program, creating a tracking system to monitor employee progress, immediately commencing their mentoring pilot program, improve communication between supervisor and manager with employees regarding career advancement, and identifying specific positions as “linchpin” or critical. Full implementation of the recommendations can improve and ensure a strong foundation of future leaders to continue the stewardship Texas natural and cultural resources.