This will be my last official rambling as the 1st Vice President. I have enjoyed sharing some thoughts with you over the past few years and I hope you have gained some additional perspective to use as you carry out your service to the citizens of Missouri and those passing through our great state. I appreciate the support I have received and the remarks provided concerning some of my musings.
This edition I want to visit with you about knowledge. We all likely have a pretty good understanding of the concept of what knowledge is so we won’t consult the dictionary for a long definition. How much knowledge is too much knowledge? Does knowledge equate to power? How can knowledge help or hurt an organization? How do we handle the knowledge we have? I am not sure that any person or the members of any organization can ever have too much knowledge. At times an overload of knowledge can slow down a process and may initially inhibit a decision from being made, but in the end, making informed decisions leads to informed actions and is the ideal way to proceed. Many of us have been involved in what I will call “knee-jerk” situations when events happen or information is provided in limited amounts that cause decisions or actions to take place. I would venture a guess if we each thought back to these situations most didn’t work out as planned or served the purpose we intended. Making new policies or other changes in an agency without as much knowledge as possible can often devastate the members and the organization over time. Gathering knowledge can be tedious and time-consuming, but being armed with the most knowledge available allows for better decision-making.
How many times have you either received a new policy or perhaps have seen the results of legislation that was enacted without being based on the most detailed available knowledge? When these types of things take place the intended result may be overshadowed by the negative aspects that were not fully understood at the time of execution. If you follow the legislative process or even if you are part of your department’s policy-setting process you will notice these normally do not get finalized “overnight”. Many steps are taken during these processes in an attempt to get things right and to attempt to foresee the consequences. Unfortunately not every possible result can be predicted, but by gathering the available knowledge and then actually using it in the decision process many pitfalls can be avoided.