But one man brought statistical evidence to the analysis of the disease. Physician John Snow marked on a map the location of each death in the area. The pattern showed fatalities clustered around a water pump on Broad Street (now Broadwick Street), persuading him that this was the source of the outbreak. Snow presented his evidence to the panic-stricken council, who removed the pump's handle to make it unusable. The epidemic was already in decline, but Snow's pioneering analysis played a key part in ridding Britain's slums of the disease. Business has its unexplained problems too - an under-performing team or a new product that just won't shift. As Snow's dedication shows, it pays to ignore common wisdom and apply a bit of targeted analysis. Sometimes that can solve far more than the immediate problem.
ONE MINUTE BRIEFING: There's more than one way to get buy-in, says Linklater's COO Matt Peers.
ONE MINUTE BRIEFING: Barclays' business banking CEO Ian Rand started in the army and is now a City diversity champion.
ONE MINUTE BRIEFING: Adobe's northern Europe VP Gavin Mee reveals how to get out of a downward spiral.
ONE MINUTE BRIEFING: Funding XChange's Katrin Herrling channels her inner mentors when making tough calls.
FROM THE ARCHIVE: You may be in charge, but are you really the model leader that you see in your mind's eye? Here are the telltale signs that your management style needs a makeover.
ONE MINUTE BRIEFING: Rod Aldridge, founder and former CEO of Capita, explains his rules for working with the public sector.