Knowledge is something that will serve you your whole life. The most powerful thing in the world is knowledge because it can create and destroy life on earth. Moreover, knowledge helps us distinguish between humans and animals. Knowledge is the ability to use your knowledge to help others.
Importance of Knowledge
There are very few people out there who truly understand the importance of knowledge. Every educated person is not knowledgeable, but every knowledgeable person is educated. This statement may sound weird but it’s true. In today’s world, almost everyone is educated still they do not have knowledge of the subject that they have studied.
Besides, Knowledge is something that helps you drive a car, ride a bike, solve a puzzle, etc. Knowledge is something that prevents us from making the same mistake twice. It is not something that you can buy from you have to earn it.
Famous Sanskrit verse about knowledge:
Knowledge is Power
न चोरहार्यं न च राजहार्यंन भ्रातृभाज्यं न च भारकारी । व्यये कृते वर्धते एव नित्यं विद्याधनं सर्वधन प्रधानम् ॥
Which means :No one can steal the wealth of Knowledge, the king cannot take it, the brothers can’t divide it, do not bear his weight, (and) this the wealth which increase by spending. Really, Knowledge is the best wealth.
नास्ति विद्यासमो बन्धुर्नास्ति विद्यासमः सुहृत् । नास्ति विद्यासमं वित्तं नास्ति विद्यासमं सुखम् ॥
Which means: There is Not a friend like knowledge, not a friend like education, (and) no other wealth or happiness like knowledge.
सुखार्थिनः कुतोविद्या नास्ति विद्यार्थिनः सुखम् । सुखार्थी वा त्यजेद् विद्यां विद्यार्थी वा त्यजेत् सुखम् ॥
अलसस्य कुतो विद्या अविद्यस्य कुतो धनम् । अधनस्य कुतो मित्रममित्रस्य कुतः सुखम् ॥
क्षणशः कणशश्चैव विद्यामर्थं च साधयेत् । क्षणे नष्टे कुतो विद्या कणे नष्टे कुतो धनम् ॥
Benefits of Knowledge
The knowledge is something that increases the more you share it. It protects your intellectual capital that is your knowledge. Likewise, humans have used their knowledge to create things that we can’t imagine a few centuries back. It helps us to convert our ideas into reality and also it helps us to reach the success that we desire in our life.
Knowledge assists us to differentiate between what is right and what is wrong. It helps us to overcome our faults, weaknesses, and dangerous situation in life. Also, a person with knowledge is more mentally and morally sound than people with money and less knowledge.
Knowledge is a very important tool to get positive changes in society or country. Knowledge gives us a vision of our future and what we can do in it. All the countries in the world that use technologically developed tools and machinery and many other things is the result of the knowledge. Weapons and bomb do not make a country powerful but knowledge does.
The growth and development of a nation do not depend on the arms and weaponry the country has. But with the amount of knowledgeable person it has and it is possible only because of the power of knowledge.
Why little knowledge is dangerous?
It is dangerous because persons with less knowledge do not know things completely but still gives his/her opinion on everything. Moreover, little knowledge is a ticking bomb which on explosion causes damages to people around it.
There is a Greek myth about the Titan Prometheus and fire. It is a time when Zeus and other gods ruled on Mount Olympus while mankind suffered below. Living in holes and caves, shivering and cold, man drudged on without even the most basic of knowledge: fire. Prometheus begged Zeus to give man fire, but Zeus forbade it–noting with the knowledge of fire they will become too powerful or dangerous. But Prometheus rebelliously stole fire from the gods and gave it to the mortals. Once that knowledge was shared, there was no going back.
Many organizations today function with the Zeus mindset; worried that knowledge in the hands of the wrong group of people will either make them too powerful or dangerous. Even laughable that they might create it. The Zeus mindset is content with a powerful few directing the actions of the many. This is not a new idea and is one that has been institutionalized into the American organization structure psyche since the early 20th century.
Fredrick Taylor is famous for developing efficiency techniques that he summed up in his 1911 book The Principles of Scientific Management. Taylor championed a concept known as Scientific Management which sought to improve efficiency by finding the perfect way to do something. Even as a young man, Tylor was obsessed with the idea of “the perfect step”.
He deeply believed there was a perfect way for anything to be done–the perfect step as he called it–and believed it was management’s job to find and define this step. In short, management created the knowledge and the employee should simply execute instructions without question.
Taylor did not hold the average employee in high regard and believed they were incapable of understanding what they were doing. From his perspective employees should do what they were told and nothing more. Very much like the Greek gods of old.
But Taylor’s ideas worked. Using his Scientific Management techniques, he was able to out-produce other steel manufacturers of his day by an impressive margin. It was so impressive other organizations took note and began to implement a top-down hierarchical approach to management, and by extension, Knowledge Management. These ideas left an indelible mark on organizational structure that is still seen today.
Taylor and his contemporaries worked in a world where information moved slowly and it was possible for one person to know the entire workings of an organization. The idea that a few very smart people could discover, create, and selectively distribute knowledge was validated–but only for a time.
The late 20th Century brought many technical wonders including the ability to rapidly communicate. Suddenly a statement made by a world leader at breakfast could have an impact on the market before lunch. Seemly overnight the world became significantly more complex and interrelated. It was no longer efficiency alone that mattered, but efficiency and adaptability to meet new demand.
In a rapidly changing world it became impossible for one person, or even a small group of people, to prescribe every action for the worker. It was simply improbable for one individual to keep up with the pace of change. Companies that adopted Tylor’s ideas with success in the early part of the 20th Century found themselves grappling with this question in the latter part: What happens when one person can no longer determine, document, and decide all the possible actions an employee should take?
In the early 1980s, the Big Three automakers-Ford, GM, and Chrysler–found themselves challenged by a nimble, efficient, and highly productive car company named Toyota. The Big Three were steeped in Taylor’s principles of Scientific Management, which left them top heavy and very dependent on a command and control structure. Their enterprises had grown so large and overly bureaucratic it was impossible for them to complete against Toyota. Toyota could produce cars the market demanded faster, cheaper, and with fewer defects.
In 1980, NBC released a documentary titled If Japan Can, Why Can’t We? The documentary sought to understand why Japan was able to manufacture cars so successfully. It told the story of W. Edwards Deming, an American engineer, and how he went to Japan to help rebuild their manufacturing sector after WWII.
While Deming used many of Taylor’s techniques he brought in a strong focus on continuous improvement and the Plan-Do- Check-Act (PDCA) cycle. This combined with the Japanese culture and produced something amazing known as the Toyota Production System. This eventually evolved into what is known today as Lean and is chronicled in James Womack’s book The Machine that Changed the World.
There are many elements of Lean and one that stands out is the value it puts on the employee. Antithetical to Taylor’s view, the employee is viewed as a valuable resource and encouraged, even expected, to contribute to the improvement of the entire system.
In a Lean, knowledge is created by interactions between people and depends on knowledge from the people actually doing the work. They are the ones who develop the standardized work–not management.
But a strong Knowledge Management methodology is needed to effectively capture all knowledge.
Knowledge is power, and having a methodology to effectively capture, use, and improve that knowledge is a force multiplier. Some companies still operate with the Mount Olympus mindset, where knowledge is created by a special few. But your best and most accurate knowledge is in the minds of the people who do the work. Be a Prometheus and bring power to the people.