Anderson, Indiana

Emmett Dulaney: The power of information

Fri, 2012-06-29 11:46 -- univcomm
June 29, 2012

The most time-consuming voice message of all has to be the video store reporting that our house has “an item overdue.” In this cryptic communication left on the answering machine, they never verbalize what that item is, how long it has been overdue, or which person checked it out.

Chills run down my spine as I go into full blown private detective mode: Was it that first-season Blu-Ray of “Manimal” I rented last month? Is it something from months ago that has been racking up penalty fees all this time? Is it something that my wife or daughter rented without my knowledge? Is it a mistake on the part of the video store and they really meant to call another number?

Invariably, I will spend days trying to figure this out. I will check the Blu-Ray player to see if there is anything still in it. I will remove said player from the entertainment console to see if it is possible that something fell beside or under it. I will look around on the decorative table nearest the front door in case it was placed there and never made it out of the house, under the seats in my car in case it made it out of the house and then fell out of sight, and along the road between my house and the video store in case it escaped through an open window while I was carelessly barreling down the road swerving from side to side as I am fond of doing.

All of this, of course, is a needless waste of time that could be significantly shortened if I would just call the video store and ask them what the item in question is. To do so, though, goes against my grain; I stubbornly want to solve the problem with as little information as possible. On a personal level, this ends up wasting time. If the same thing happened on a business level, however, it could be devastating.

Sadly, it does happen. Too often, small business owners operate with minimal information and are afraid to ask for more. It could be that they don’t know who to ask, they don’t know how to ask or they fear that asking will reveal to the world that they don’t have all the answers. Decisions of great importance, therefore, get made all the time on the basis of too little information and time gets wasted pursuing one undertaking when it would be so much more beneficial to pursue another.

In the immortal words of Peter Drucker almost 20 years ago, “All knowledges are equally valuable; all knowledges… lead equally to the truth. But to make them paths to truth, paths to knowledge, has to be the responsibility of the men and women who own these knowledges. Collectively, they hold knowledge in trust.”

Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing, and theology. The Falls School of Business is one of Anderson University’s largest academic departments offering eight undergraduate majors as well as MBA and DBA programs. The school is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) and is a member of the Christian Business Faculty Association (CBFA).

Columns from Anderson University’s Falls School of Business are published Tuesdays in The Herald Bulletin. Tuesday’s columnist is Emmett Dulaney, who teaches marketing and entrepreneurship.