Succession planning is the process of identifying people who could presently move into key positions or could do so after specifically targeted development occurs. The process identifies the better people in the organization and takes a consistent approach to assembling, analyzing, and retaining information about potential leaders and planning for their further development. At its simplest level, it is the development of a backup and potential successor to each manager; at its most formal, it is a documented plan for management succession at all levels in the organization. Strongly supportive of a policy of development and promotion from within the organization, succession planning also represents a proactive posture in respect to inevitable management turnover. In these days of rapid change in health care, no modern organization that expects to keep up with increasing competition can afford to drift-or even let a single department drift-although replacements are recruited for managers who resign, retire, or otherwise leave. On numerous occasions, however, all of the effort expended in succession planning seems wasted when potential successors either leave the organization or fail to live up to expectations, prompting one to wonder whether succession planning is little more than a pointless exercise.