Kat Astroffee, email

A NEW manager spends his first week on the job with the manager he is replacing, who is showing him the ropes. On the last day the departing manager tells him: “Now, I have left three numbered envelopes in the desk drawer. Open an envelope if you encounter a crisis you can’t solve.”

So three months down the track there is a major drama, where everything seems to go wrong at once. The manager doesn’t know what to do, so he decides to open the first envelope. The message inside reads: “Blame your predecessor!” So he does just that, and gets off the hook.

About six months later, the company is experiencing a big dip in sales. The manager can’t think of how to improve things, and knows it’s time to open the second envelope. The message reads: “Reorganise!” So the manager does that, and the company swiftly recovers.

Three months later, another crisis emerges, and this one seems insurmountable. So the manager takes the final envelope from the drawer and opens it.

The message inside simply reads: “Prepare three envelopes.”