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An allegory for today

This ditty was circulating around business circles a number of decades ago. One might see some relevance to today.

Outgoing and incoming CEOs of a rather large company were having their final chat in the boardroom.

Asked the incoming CEO, “Do you have any final advice for me?”

“Why yes,” was the reply. “In the upper right-hand drawer of the desk, you will find three envelopes. If you run into trouble, just open the top envelope and, if you are so inclined, follow my advice.”

Things ran swimmingly for a few months, until a fairly substantial labor-management dispute looked like it might lead to a shutdown.

The CEO, remembering the envelopes, opened and read the simple contents of the top letter. “Blame the previous administration,” it said. The CEO noted to both labor and management that the previous administration had fallen behind the times in terms of worker compensation and raised everyone’s salary.

For a time, peace prevailed. But eventually bad blood between labor and management again threatened a shutdown.

The CEO read the second letter. “Reorganize,” it said. Since the previous administration had thought it wise to centralize operations, the current CEO sent the management teams back out to the satellites, which had the effect of cooling disagreements.

But alas, tempers again flared. Labor wanted a four-day work week. Management said they were greedy and lucky to have any jobs at all.

In exasperation the CEO opened the last envelope. It read, “Get out three envelopes.”

Mike Todd