Brett Favre – Now Wrecking a Succession Plan Near You…

Kris Dunn Kris Dunn, Retention, Succession Planning

By now, even the non-sports people have heard about the drama surrounding Brett Favre, the former Green Bay Packers (pro football) legend who has publicly flip-flopped on retirement, retiring earlier this year, then expressed interest in "un"-retiring, then got chippy with the Green Bay organization when they balked about taking him back immediately. 

Favre’s a legend.  The Packer’s front office is taking a beating about its handling of his request toFavre return, although some of the press seems to be turning against Favre in the past few days.  At this point, the Packers seem intent to delay a release or trade of Favre.  In doing that, they also seem anxious to continue the process of deploying the succession plan they’ve had in place for years to replace Favre.

What’s your take?  Does Favre deserve to un-retire and come back to the Packers without question?  Or should the Packers continue the succession plan they began when Favre retired a few months ago?  I’m siding with the Packers in moving on, here are my reasons why:

1. It’s All About Brett – For all practical purposes, Favre’s seemed like a great teammate through the years.  Listen closely to him in the sound bites over the past couple of weeks, and there’s an important observation to be had – it’s all about Brett.  It’s all comments regarding him, nothing about coming back to help the Packers because they’re close to a championship, etc.  It’s about him, which means the next flip (or flop) can only be a few weeks away.

2. How would you handle a star who’s always talking about resigning? – Favre’s been talking for the last three years about giving it up.  It’s something the team has had to deal with for the last three years.  Ever have a co-worker who talked about quitting for a LONG time?  How did you feel at the end? Right, you wanted them to do it so you could stop hearing about it…

3. The flip-flopping isn’t new – Since Favre’s been talking about quitting for a half decade, the Packers have done the right thing from an OD perspective, picking a successor (Aaron Rogers) and grooming him for the role.  Both the Packers and Rogers have felt the yo-yo of Favre saying he’s leaving, then staying for the last three years.  No wonder they want to move on.

4. After three years of starting, then delaying the succession plan, the Packers have an official resignation letter.  So it’s about him, the star’s always talking about quitting, and then the big day comes – you’ve got a resignation letter on your desk.  It’s the closure you’ve been asking for, one way or the other.  Now it’s official.  As a general rule, with all the aforementioned drama, you wouldn’t reopen after you had closure.

5. When the Packers didn’t rush to reinstate upon request, Favre went negative – The media is starting to turn against Favre, and there are a couple of reasons why.  See my first point for reason #1.  If Favre talks about the team, he would have had the public, the media and the team eating out of his hand.  Additionally, see the Greta Van Susteren show on Fox.  That’s going negative against the organization, and it’s pretty much a point of no return. 

Add all these points up, and even the Green Bay community is becoming split about whether to bring Favre back. 

If you had been strung along for 3 years, had your succession plan in place and then got the closure you had been waiting for, what would you do?  Rescind the resignation letter?  For anyone other than Favre, I doubt it.  I wouldn’t do it with Favre either. 

Lucky for the Packers, Favre’s actions have made it easier for them to move on.  Read more HR opinion on Favre at Your HR Guy, and hat tip to Lance for reminding me to riff on this…