Succession planning

21 Nov 2017

A new manager spends a week at the office with the manager he is replacing. On the last day, the departing manager tells him, “I have left three numbered envelopes in the desk drawer. Open an envelope if you encounter a crisis you can’t resolve.”

Three months down the road, there is major drama in the office and the manager feels very threatened by it all. He remembers the parting words of his predecessor and opens the first envelope. The message inside reads, “Blame your predecessor!” He does this and gets off the hook.

About six months after that, the company experiences a dip in sales, combined with serious product problems. The manager quickly opens the second envelope. The message reads, “Reorganise!” He starts to reorganise and the company quickly rebounds.

Two months later, at his next crisis, he opens the third envelope. The message inside reads, “Prepare three numbered envelopes.”

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