When one thinks of career success, the idea of management or upper management comes to mind for most.
I'm here to say that I think this is wrong in many cases. Sometimes, a great employee is not a great manager, and maybe doesn't even desire to manage.
One of the disadvantages of management is that the manager spends more time performing administrative tasks then being involved with the skill that they now manage.
For companies that are large enough to employ multiple people, consider developing experts or "gurus" of certain subjects and skills. Think about allowing your great employees to focus on becoming even better at the skills they already posses, love, and take pride in. Consider advancement in pay and mentorship without imposing management responsibilities on your top performers.
For more about the idea of career advancement for gurus, check out the preceding link!
Career Advancement - A New Perspective
Article by Chris Rickerson