A woman had just been hired as the new CIO of a large Financial Services corporation. The CIO who was stepping down met with her privately and presented her 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, the organization hit issues and she was really catching a lot of heat. About at her wit’s end, she remembered the envelopes. She went to her drawer and took out the first envelope. The message read, “Blame your predecessor.”
The new CIO called a meeting and tactfully laid the blame at the feet of the previous CIO. Satisfied with her comments, the organization responded positively, things began to pick up and the problem was soon behind her.
About a year later, the company was again experiencing issues, combined with serious morale problems. Having learned from her previous experience, the CIO quickly opened the second envelope. The message read, “Kick off an Enterprise Data Program.” This she did, and the IT organization, and morale, quickly rebounded.
After several consecutive worry-free quarters, the organization once again fell on difficult times. The CIO went to her office, closed the door and opened the third envelope.
The message started, “Prepare three envelopes…”