I have written about Rudy’s Law of Rutabaga many times before. It even appears on this blog. The law is a simple one. Once you solve your first worst problem, your second worst problem becomes your first. You can find the essay in The Secrets of Consulting written by Gerald M. Weinberg. This is a book that should be read by everyone. Honestly it should be required reading for every high school freshman if not Eight Grader.
What may surprise you is how many MBAs (notably Keller MBAs) do not know this law. Really cannot keep track of how many times one has uttered “We aren’t here to try and solve all the world’s problems, just this one.” None of them have the vision to realize your top three problems usually are related. A hack (AGILE management’s solution to everything) can make the worst seem to go away. An actual solution can get rid of all three in a maintainable manner. It may even provide an additional revenue stream.
When you go to solve one, look at all the others first. You may be trying to cure a symptom instead of the disease. Pain killers may be great, but they alone cannot fix a mangled leg.
Our featured image is of a Trauma 1 patient provided by wikidata.org. I opted to not use the picture my friend from high school sent me of his teenage son in a medically induced coma with an array of tubes. He has enough on his plate right now.
Just a scant few months ago my friend was involved in an ugly bitter divorce following roughly twenty years of marriage. It was the classic ugly where charges get filed with police to increase negotiating leverage. Yes, divorce lawyers have no honor.
With the divorce final and the hatred more of a mild boil they got notification that their son had been a passenger in a vehicle that had a very bad wreck. Details aren’t important. I doubt they asked once they were told the son was being air-lifted to a hospital with a trauma center.
Rudy’s Law of Rutabaga exists to keep you from thinking all your problems are over once you solve the current one. You will be lessening, not eliminating your troubles. The significance of each problem declines.
The inverse is also true.
Your first worst problem can seem insignificant in an instant.