So, with things indeed looking dire, the manager opened envelope 1, eager for advice. It said:
"BLAME YOUR PREDECESSOR"
The manager followed this advice. It worked exceedingly well.
However, after a few weeks the problems continued and the "blame the predecessor" routine was wearing a little thin.
No worries. The manager opened envelope 2 which said:
"SAY YOU HAVE A PLAN TO FIX THINGS"
So the manager took that advice and went around saying he had a plan to fix things and, indeed, detailing what that plan was.
A few months passed. The problems continued unabated. People were getting a little cynical of the "I HAVE A PLAN" routine, so the manager resorted to envelope 3 and opened that.
"PREPARE THREE ENVELOPES FOR YOUR SUCCESSOR"
It does seem that John Reid is a dab hand at this old "three envelopes" routine.