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Detectives in the Office: Why we all need to embrace our inner Sherlock Holmes

Terry Smagh, Vice President of Qlik South East North Asia | April 10, 2014
I personally think everyone can learn something from Luther and Sherlock and harness their inner detective for work.


It seems that there is no end to our appetite for a good detective show. In Asia, we recently witnessed the dramatic season finale of the BBC's Luther, a gripping psychological thriller starring Idris Elba as the title character, whilst Sherlock, into its third season, continues to garner excellent ratings based on audience viewership numbers. We clearly just can't get enough of these figureheads. But is their world as far removed from the average office environment as we tend to think? I personally think everyone can learn something from Luther and Sherlock and harness their inner detective for work.

Management & multitasking
You'll never see a relaxed Sherlock. The archetypical TV detective 'gets results' on a consistent basis, yet always seems to be rushed, stressed, panicked, and everywhere in between. They are constantly required to respond quickly and efficiently to multiple sources of data, examining in detail all information available to them. Similarly, managing multiple sets of business information and tasks is also a facet of everyday business life. While we can't all have the quick thinking skills of Sherlock, we need tools to help manage and analyse our data, making it increasingly easy to get the job done.

No rash judgements
Unless they're of the 'act first, ask questions later' variety, TV detectives, while stressed, always seem to be in control. Whether they're in the lab or in pursuit, they always seem to exude strength. A big reason for this is their ability to make fast, informed judgements. However, when faced with numerous sources of information, combined with the pressure to make important decisions, the average employee may often rush into a snap decision, as both clients and superiors begin to lose patience. There is technology to help office workers emulate analytic abilities of our favourite TV detectives, however. Business intelligence can be critical when summarising all data into one place to help simplify even the most vital decisions.

Striking while the iron is hot
TV detectives rarely pause on certain developments; they are always progressing to something new in their case. Luther, Sherlock et al. are never overwhelmed with the rapid nature of their work; they have the ability to quickly analyse the data available and react to new developments as they appear. Needless to say, this lesson is easily translated into an office environment, as employees must respond to new data as soon as they can, especially if its relevance will be short lived. Striking while the iron is hot is crucial to any business with its finger on the pulse, yet employees may find it difficult to do so in light of the challenges outlined above. A dose of their favourite detective's tactics might be just the ticket.


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