man had just been hired as the new managing director of
a large high tech London-based corporation. The managing
director who was stepping down, met with him privately and
presented him with three numbered envelopes. "Open
these if you run up against a problem you don't think you
can solve," he said.
Things went along pretty smoothly, but six months later,
sales took a downturn and the new MD was really catching
a lot of heat. About at his wit's end, he remembered the
He went to his drawer and took out the first envelope. The
message read, "Blame your predecessor." The new
MD called a press conference and tactfully laid the blame
at the feet of the previous MD. Satisfied with his comments,
the press - and The City responded positively, sales began
to pick up and the problem was soon behind him.
About a year later, the company was again experiencing a
slight dip in sales, combined with serious product problems.
Having learned from his previous experience, the MD quickly
opened the second envelope. The message read, "Reorganise."
This he did, and the company quickly rebounded.
After several consecutive profitable quarters, the company
again fell on difficult times. The MD went to his office,
closed the door and opened the third envelope. The message
said: "Prepare three envelopes."