Most people are familiar with the Sherlock Holmes story in which the key clue for the detective was the watchdog that did not bark. Holmes termed the lack of barking as a “curious incident” that led to his conclusion that the burglar was a familiar person.

In the book The Amazon Way, John Rossman tells the story of how Amazon’s Jeff Bezos related this to his company. Amazon had always done competitor analyses, but Bezos challenged his staff to think about the competitor that wasn’t barking and could be a sleeping threat to the company. His staff came to identify Google, and Amazon’s dependence on its systems. As a result, Amazon moved forward in creating its web services division.

Amazon Drive, as it is know known, is a worldwide leader in cloud computing. In 2016 Q1, it had $2.57 billion in revenue, $604 million in net income, and for the first time became more profitable than Amazon’s retail operations. All because of a connection Bezos made to a Sherlock Holmes story.

What dog isn’t barking in your competitive landscape? There is so much noise out there that often it is hard to make time to sit in the quiet and think. As Bezos and Sherlock agree, the quiet may be the most helpful information of all.

Sherlock Holmes Silver Blaze story by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Amazon Way by John Rossman
Amazon financials from Wikipedia

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

Dr. beth triplett is the owner of leadership dots, offering coaching, training and consulting for new supervisors. She also shares daily lessons on her leadershipdots blog. Her work is based on the leadership dots philosophy that change happens through the intentional connecting of small steps in the short term to the big picture in the long term.

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