Is the dog barking?

One of the great honors of my life was studying under the great American author and consultant Peter Drucker, perhaps the most respected business strategist in history.

He would teach us through the case study method, and you could see him wind up with excitement as his students closed in on solving these complex business entanglements. 

One of his favorite phrases was “but the dog isn’t barking.” He was referencing a story by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle called “The Adventure of Silver Blaze.” In this story, his heroic Sherlock Holmes character solved a mystery because a dog that should have been barking at a stranger wasn’t barking….so the suspect had to be someone the dog knew.

If you’re in a situation where you would expect to hear a dog barking and it’s not, never ignore that clue! This is an anomaly that can almost always lead to momentous insight.

From “Cumulative Advantage: How to Build Momentum for Your Ideas, Business, and Life Against All Odds” by Mark Schaefer