The Three Envelopes

The CEO had resigned in disgrace, and was leaving his office holding a box of this things when the new CEO arrived to take over.

The outgoing executive told his replacement that it was a tough job, and if she needed help, there were three envelopes in the top drawer of the desk that would help her -- "but only open these if you run up against a problem you don't think you can solve," the beaten man said.

The new CEO calmed things down and everything went fine, until the company hit a snag -- just before the annual Board meeting. She heard rumors that the Board was unhappy with her performance and, not sure what to do, she opened her desk drawer and pulled out the first envelope. The message inside read, "Blame your predecessor."

The new CEO went to the Board meeting and tactfully laid the blame on the previous CEO. Sure enough, within weeks, sales picked up and the problems were soon behind her.

About a year later, the company was again experiencing a dip in sales and a product recall. Sure enough, it was right before a Board meeting, so she opened the second envelope. The message read, "Reorganize." The company's troubles were forgotten at the Board meeting as the CEO laid out her plan to streamline operations.

Sure enough, the next year the company again was starting to faulter just before the annual Board meeting, so the CEO went to her office, closed the door, and opened the third envelope.

The message said, "Prepare three envelopes...."

Posted October 28, 2015

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