Morris 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….#1,#2,#3. “Open these if you run up against a
problem you don’t think you can solve,” the departing CEO
Well, things went along pretty smoothly, but six months
later, sales took a downturn and Morris was really catching
a lot of heat. About at his wit’s end, he remembered the
envelopes. He went to his drawer and took out the first
envelope. The message read, “Blame your predecessor.”
Morris, 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
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 rebounded.
After several consecutive profitable quarters, the company
once again fell on difficult times. Morris went to his
office, closed the door and opened the third envelope.
The message said, …”Prepare three envelopes.”