The Henny Youngman School of Consulting

Henny Youngman, was an American comedian and violinist, the “King of the One-Liners.”  Mr. Youngman passed away in 1998; he would have been 107 years old this March 16th, 2013.

The Urban Dictionary has an entry for what’s known as a Henny Youngman Problem:  A problem that is best solved by avoiding the problematic situation.  Or, as Henny’s one-liner tells it:  Patient says, “Doctor, it hurts when I do this!”  Doctor replies, “Don’t do that.”

The next time you are considering handing over part of your budget to consultants for advice, ask instead: Do I have a Henny Youngman Problem?  You can potentially save yourself some upfront time and money.

  • Hurts when you manage change?  Well, don’t do it that way any more.
  • Operations planning painful?  OK – then stop and adopt a new way.
  • Portfolio reviews ineffective and tedious to prepare for?  Cease and check.
  • You agreed to all that scope and now you can’t deliver?  Well, whose fault is that?

Additional one-liners that might prove useful:

  • My doctor grabbed me by the wallet and said “Cough!” Are you providing IT value?
  • The more I think of you, the less I think of you.  Does your IT brand withstand the scrutiny?  Equally applicable to transparency around IT spend.
  • Nurse: “Doctor, the man you just gave a clean bill of health to dropped dead right as he was leaving the office”. Doctor: “Turn him around, make it look like he was walking in.”  Your own caption here.

© Michael C. Simonelli,, 2013

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