Chief’s Corner – week of April 9
By Chief Master Sgt. James Herkel, 50th Security Forces Squadron
/ Published April 07, 2015
SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- As we push forward through a vastly revised enlisted evaluation system, I wonder how many Airmen are really prepared for the next evolution. Sometime in the near future, new evaluation forms will be published that will limit the number of Airmen, commanders are able to, recommend for promotion in each grade. This new policy of forced distribution and stratification restrictions will effectively "recalibrate" our current inflated evaluation system and force leaders to more closely analyze and determine who is "truly among the best." As I peruse the multitude of Enlisted Performance Reports waiting for my coordination in EMS, I estimate approximately 60-70 percent of them are overall 5 EPRs. Evaluations closing out in the next cycle will be a shock to many.
In the interest of motivating Airmen and setting them up for future success, I wanted to pass along a few nuggets of advice I think many will find useful as they strive to earn one of their commander's limited promotion recommendations.
1. There is simply no substitute for a positive attitude and hard work. I hear a lot of feedback and recommendations from Airmen who seek to make our processes more efficient or effective. I also hear some whining. Know the difference. We all have to earn our paychecks and we all have to earn the respect of the nation we serve. Just remember we are here to serve. If you're struggling with motivation, get involved with things that help you refocus on the mission. Tell your leadership chain, I guarantee they can get you re-motivated. What we do here is pretty special and you're a part of that.
2. If you're not crystal clear on performance expectations, your supervisor is failing you. Ask the question. Ratee-requested feedback can occur any time. Chances are, you have a pretty good idea where you stack up against your peers. If you're not at, or near, the top, see number 1 (positive attitude and hard work).
3. Get fit, stay fit. If you are not making time to stay fit, frankly, you will not thrive in today's Air Force. Appropriately so - it's one aspect of Airmanship that is uniquely required for service in the profession of arms. Some of you can live on soda and pizza and still pass your physical fitness test. That luck will eventually run out. Establish good habits. If you're not sure how to do that, hang out with some fit, healthy people and do what they do. I can think of few controllable things that disqualify Airmen from career growth opportunities more than a failed PT test.
4. Seek and track learning opportunities, especially Professional Military Education. Another area where Airmen disqualify themselves is by not attaining their Community College of the Air Force degree, and not completing PME when they have the opportunity to do so. I have found the workload continues to increase as my time in the Air Force does Don't make the mistake of thinking that when you acquire that next stripe, you'll be able to delegate more work and therefore have more time for your education and professional development. You will never have more time than you have right now. Don't procrastinate.
5. Last but not least (repeat item from a previous commentary), ace the test. Whether it's your end of course exam, duty position certification test, PT test, check ride, college exam... whatever - just ace the test. If you must do it, do it well.
Thank you all for being part of an awesome team.