The story of three envelopes is a business classic for dysfunctional organizations. It starts with an incoming manager replacing a recently fired outgoing manager. On his way out, the outgoing manager hands the new manager three envelopes and remarks, "when things get tough, open these one at a time."
About three months goes by and things start to get rough. The manager opens his drawer where he keeps the three envelopes and opens #1. It reads: "Blame your predecessor." So he does and it works like a charm.
Another three months passes and things are growing difficult again so the manger figures to try #2. It reads, "reorganize." Again, his predecessor's advice works like magic.
Finally, about nine months into the new job, things are getting really sticky. The manager figures it worked before, why not try again. So he opens the envelope drawer one last time and opens #3. It reads..."prepare three envelopes."