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Page Title: Increasing Your Knowledge
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INCREASING YOUR KNOWLEDGE ASKING FOR HELP When  considering  the  job  of  a  contact  point representative, we might agree with the old saying that a little knowledge is dangerous. Dangerous may be a bit strong, but personnel working at contact points do need to be experts in their own rating to contribute effectively to teamwork. Your knowledge of other contact points can also be helpful to the customer, especially if customers must visit several contact points to meet their needs. For example, some activities may require a customer to report to different contact points to check in, checkout, reenlist, transfer, or effect separation. You need to know what services customers can receive at other contact points and know how to direct them to those points. When the customer in case number 3 asked LPO Brush about shipping his personal effects, he was told to ask supply. LPO Brush should have told the customer, “The  personal  effects  office  on  base  makes  all  the arrangements for personnel moves. When we moor, you take copies of your orders and go talk to a contact point representative   at   that   office.   Most   likely   the representative will schedule you for an interview in which you will be asked specific questions about your personal effects. You may be asked about furniture weight, storage requirements, special handling require- ments, and desired pack-out and delivery dates.” SETTING  PRIORITIES We rarely have enough time, energy, or resources to do everything that we need to do or that we would like to do. To achieve teamwork, you must evaluate demands to ensure the most important ones receive the most attention. That will keep you from bogging down in details  and  routines  that  leave  little  time  for  the important tasks. COMPROMISING It has been said that a wise man isn’t as stubborn about anything as a fool is about everything. Not only are we unable to do everything we want to do, we often cannot do things our way. Contending with opposing points of view is just part of life—and of achieving teamwork. Compromise may be seen as a dirty word because the idea of individualism gets mixed up with personal preference. Compromise is not defeat; it is recognizing that there might be a better way to do something and being mature enough to explore it. In  chapter  3,  we  discussed  the  importance  of knowing your limitations. One such time is when the problem exceeds your knowledge or ability to handle it. That frequently happens since most contact points have a wide range of responsibilities and few members know all  the  answers.  One  of  the  main  advantages  of teamwork is that help is normally available when you need it. Taking advantage of that help prevents risking an error that could result in unnecessary hardship or inconvenience for the customer. Whether to ask for advice or assistance or to refer the customer to someone else depends largely on the nature of the problem and the complexity of its solution. If the situation permits, you can often ask questions that will help you decide whether you should handle the problem  yourself. If your questions fail to gain enough information to solve the problem, don’t expect the customer to know automatically where to go for help. Instead, provide the customer with that information yourself. If you are unsure of the contact point to which you should refer the customer, take the needed steps to find out. Be courteous to all customers when trying to solve their problems. But be especially courteous to those who are relatively inexperienced and new to the Navy. For example, suppose you need to refer a customer to a contact point in the immediate area of your building. You might  escort  the  customer  to  that  contact  point, introduce  the  customer,  and  explain  the  problem. However, when you make the referral, your manner should assure the customer that you are NOT “passing the buck,” but that the other contact point can best provide the service. The following scenario is a good example of how asking  for  help  can  result  in  teamwork  to  solve  a problem: The ship’s crew had just completed an UNREP and was settling back into the underway routine. Mail call, one of the more pleasant aspects of UNREP, had been passed and everyone was eagerly catching up on the news  from  home.  The  personnel  office  was  no different—the members were engrossed in their letters and occasionally sharing stories about what their loved ones had said or done. PNSN Frost looked up as ET2 Door rushed into the office, “May I help you?” “I hope so! I’ve got a problem!” 4-3

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