Transitions are tough, especially if you're talking about corporate CEOs or superstar athletes and entertainers. Succession planning is an oxymoron, because it seldom works the way it's supposed to. To begin with, there's human nature: The star may dream of retirement, but the closer it comes, the less it looks like a dream and more it looks like death. The action takes place backstage, but the various parties negotiate in the media via carefully planted leaks. It always backfires. The more everyone is caught in the media spotlight, the more everyone involved looks like a fool, a total jerk, or both. Meanwhile, competitors circle like sharks, ready to grab the wounded talent. Jeff Zucker, meet Ted Thompson.
Out here in Green Bay Packer land, there's a sense of déjà vu about the whole slow-motion train wreck. There is no right answer, no matter what you do. NBC wanted to give Conan O'Brien, their talented late-night backup QB, more playing time and keep him aboard. They also didn't want to lose their franchise superstar, Jay Leno. It was as if they didn't want Leno to play for the Vikings and maybe take them to the Super Bowl. In short, they did exactly what some applauded and some criticized the Packers for not doing.
And how did that work out for the Packers? They went with backup Rodgers, ditched superstar Favre, and guess what? The Packers are out of the playoffs, and Favre may yet take the Vikings to the Super Bowl (we'll have a better idea this weekend).
Sometimes you just can't win.