UNDERSTAND THE REASON
  • Knowing why it is I am doing what I am doing
  • Recognizing how the interaction of underlying factors and assumptions impacts our work
  • Asking questions to clarify “the why” beneath a request

COMMENTARY
I think we are all probably familiar with the phrase “it’s like talking to a wall.” No matter how much you contribute to the conversation, you get almost nothing back in return. 

At my house, I don’t have that problem. In fact, it’s the opposite. 
 
My 4 year old daughter talks almost non-stop. She’s either telling us a story, making up songs, or just off in her own world as she plays around the house. And if we try to ask her questions about it, she often just keeps going without giving a response. It’s like living with the singing bush (any 3 Amigos fans in the house?)
 
We usually get to have conversations with her at the dinner table though. Maybe about what she’s learning in Pre-K, or maybe explaining to her why she’s about to get in trouble. You know, parenting type things. And sometimes I feel like she’s even listening. I’ll get to the end of the explanation and say, “Ok, do you understand?”
 
:blank stare: …… “Hey have you heard about the letter F?
 
Yeah, I have. Like in the word “frustrating.” 
 
If you’ve ever had to call or email with USAC, it can feel a bit similar. I can’t tell you how many times we answer the same review questions over and over. Pointing to previous responses or simply having to repeat the exact same thing because the reviewer clearly didn’t read (or understand) it. 
 
“This has already been answered!”
 
It’s like when my daughter asks me a question. I’ll give her an answer, but then 2 minutes later she asks her mom the same question. Was my answer not good enough? Or did she just forget what I said? Maybe she didn’t even hear a word I said. 
 
With USAC, sometimes giving a quick response seems like the best (or easiest) approach. But there are times when we should try to avoid the back-and-forth with a reviewer. They don’t typically provide a lot of detail or reasoning behind their inquiries. So, we need to dig a little deeper and figure out why the questions are being asked in the first place. 
 
And not just with application reviews. This is the same for application preparations and other forms as well. There is a lot of E-rate knowledge and experience in our office. We can almost always find someone who has successfully orchestrated their way through a minefield of E-rate “gotchas” and come out on the other side victorious.
 
It may take a little extra time to put together, but if we can literally save weeks, or even months, towards getting an application funded, it is all worth it. 
 
Now, for those of you who aren’t familiar with the singing bush, search for “singing bush three amigos” on YouTube.com. Please enjoy this re-enactment of a 60 second conversation with my daughter...
 
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Key words and phrases
Comprehend the information; Insight into the circumstance; Discern the meaning; Realize the importance; Grasp the significance; Perceive the implications; Make sense of the facts; Realize the situation
 
Opposite terms
Ignorance; Lack of understanding; Failure to comprehend; Miss the point
 
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