A fellow had just been hired as the new CEO of a large high tech
corporation. The CEO 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.
Well, things went along pretty smoothly, but six months later, sales
took a downturn and he was really catching a lot of heat. About at his
wits's end, he remembered the envelopes. He went to his drawer and took
out the first envelope. The message read, "Blame your predecessor."
The new CEO called a press conference and tactfully laid the blame at
the feet of the previous CEO. Satisfied with his comments, the press --
and Wall Street -- 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 CEO quickly opened the second envelope. The
message read, "Reorganize." This he did, and the company quickly
After several consecutive profitable quarters, the company once again
fell on difficult times. The CEO went to his office, closed the door
and opened the third envelope.
The message said, "Prepare three envelopes."