Are we at the end of the information age? My cell phone came with a novel sized instruction book that gives me so much detail on setting up my voice mail that after reading it for 2 hours, I’ve lost the will to live. How much do I really need to know? Have you ever watched a documentary about chicken processing? Did it help you enjoy your lunch? Have you ever read the back of a pack of hotdogs? Some of that stuff sounds flammable. Have you ever read the back of a can of Spam? There are some things in life we may be better off not knowing. When they give you 40 fabrics to help you make a decision on a couch does it really help sell you the coach?
We all have things we need to learn but in the last few years I have learned so much that sometimes it prevents me from being effective. My new car tells me exactly how many miles I can go on a tank and will give me satellite instructions on how to get there. As a result I tend to drive around on empty without needing to know where I am. I want to make it clear that I believe that without proper information it’s difficult to be effective. I am after all in the information business. However, options should be optional. I don’t need 8 way’s to access my Email and I don’t need 80 Emails a day. I actually had someone send me an Email on how to be concise that was 7 pages long. I rented a car last week that had about six buttons on the remote and one of them actually said panic. No kidding! Dodge vehicles actually have a panic button. At what point did we decide that to panic was a solution to a car problem?
I ‘m afraid in our quest for information that we may have forgotten that knowledge is rarely power. Implementation is power. It is action that creates opportunity. Most answers are simple and the questions that bring out those answers are straightforward. Have you ever noticed that people try to make their simple problems and solutions complicated? There is a reason for that, it either makes them worth more money or it allows them to escape the horrible task of actually doing something. If the answer is simple you are instantly accountable. I think it has become natural for us to develop multiple complex processes that protect us from people who want to hold us accountable.
Have you noticed that the latest software is a little slower and more problematic than the old version? The solution is to buy a faster computer so the new software will work as well as the old software. Is this a technological advancement? I don’t think so; I think it’s the same as the telecom companies that sell your name and number to telemarketing firms and then sell you the anti-telemarketing telephone system.
When we reach the most effective solution it may be complex in it’s parts but the idea and concept seemed to ring true in our mind and hearts. We can talk all we want to about how much more knowledge we have than our competitors, but it’s how well we communicate what little we do know that will ultimately make us great. Innovation is most often fueled by a clear view. The Wright brothers were able to fly because they didn’t know they couldn’t, not because they had the most data. Professor Langley’s Flying machine with a grant from the Smithsonian had a lot of previous aviation experience put into it. Unfortunately, that information literally just didn’t fly. Do we have more to learn? You bet! Knowledge is the first step towards effectiveness. Although some day’s I think I could be more effective by learning less! Well, I guess that’s enough for an article about too much information. After I check my 35 voice mails and 80 emails, I’m taking action.