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Thread: Air Force does away with promotion test for senior NCOs

  1. #31
    Senior Member Bos Mutus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LogDog View Post
    Sounds like a quota system to me. I've been in flights where there were a couple of people of the same rank who were outstanding and to choose which one of them should be a "Must Promote" would hurt morale.
    Yes, it is a quota system, more or less.

    Not everyone gets to be #1...shouldn't hurt morale, I don't think. The inflated system hurt morale for the best performers.

    It's true someone could get 'screwed' a year or two if they are in a shop of hotshots...but, I think as this system continues for a few years, it will be easy to see who consistently rises to the top over time. You don't need a MP every year to be outstanding if over the course of your career you get them more often than not, you are clearly and outstanding performer.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bos Mutus View Post
    Yes, it is a quota system, more or less.

    Not everyone gets to be #1...shouldn't hurt morale, I don't think. The inflated system hurt morale for the best performers.

    It's true someone could get 'screwed' a year or two if they are in a shop of hotshots...but, I think as this system continues for a few years, it will be easy to see who consistently rises to the top over time. You don't need a MP every year to be outstanding if over the course of your career you get them more often than not, you are clearly and outstanding performer.
    And actually with fewer people getting 5s, the 4s aren't going to "hurt" like they did in the previous system. The majority of those promoted will be 4s.

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    Administrator Mjölnir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bos Mutus View Post
    Not everyone gets to be #1...shouldn't hurt morale, I don't think. The inflated system hurt morale for the best performers.
    I have only been an evaluator on a couple of USAF EPRs. I completely agree, you can only have 1 #1. The Navy also has a 'forced distribution' system where I can only have 25% of those evaluated as an 'Early Promote', 25% as a 'Must Promote" and the rest are 'Promotable', no quotas on 'Progressing' (after someone has had a documented disciplinary issue / NJP etc. which would result in) 'Significant Problems'. Eseentially, an EP highly increases the liklihood of promotion.
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    Administrator Mjölnir's Avatar
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    I have only been an evaluator on a couple of USAF EPRs; I do think the USAF system is confusing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bos Mutus View Post
    Not everyone gets to be #1...shouldn't hurt morale, I don't think. The inflated system hurt morale for the best performers.
    I completely agree, you can only have 1 #1. The Navy also has a 'forced distribution' system where I can only have 25% of those evaluated as an 'Early Promote', 25% as a 'Must Promote" and the rest are 'Promotable', no quotas on 'Progressing' (after someone has had a documented disciplinary issue / NJP etc. which would result in) 'Significant Problems'. Essentially, an EP highly increases the likelihood of promotion.
    The most important six inches on the battlefield ... is between your ears.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mjölnir View Post
    I have only been an evaluator on a couple of USAF EPRs. I completely agree, you can only have 1 #1.
    Not in a squadron with 8 different career fields. I can see only having 1 #1 when you get into senior NCOs, because there are much fewer of those, but in a squadron with 50 or 60 NCOs, 10 or so per career field, you can easily have several "#1s". There is no possible way for a senior leader to discern between the top guy in each shop, because the senior leader doesn't have the day to day interaction, and of course each shop lead is going to have his/her #1 guy. After that it's all subjective which, again, leads us back to the original problem trying to be fixed.

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    Administrator Mjölnir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AF sgt View Post
    Not in a squadron with 8 different career fields. I can see only having 1 #1 when you get into senior NCOs, because there are much fewer of those, but in a squadron with 50 or 60 NCOs, 10 or so per career field, you can easily have several "#1s". There is no possible way for a senior leader to discern between the top guy in each shop, because the senior leader doesn't have the day to day interaction, and of course each shop lead is going to have his/her #1 guy. After that it's all subjective which, again, leads us back to the original problem trying to be fixed.
    If you have a unit with 8 different career fields, you can do a soft break out ("My #1 of 10 [insert career field] and #3 of 60 NCO's", but yes, I do believe if asked to rank people, you can only have 1 #1 ... is kind of how ranking works. I think where a lot of people get heartburn is that when you start evaluating people for more senior positions (officer and enlisted), being a superstar in your MOS, AFSC or rating is great but may not translate into being a good senior NCO, Chief Petty Officer, Field Grade Officer etc. Things like leadership & management become a factor, working all the bake sales in the world do not overcome being incompetent ... but at the point where everyone is good at their job ... you have to look at their ability to do things beyond just their job and be adaptable ... promotion is not about what you have done in the past, but what you need to be doing at the next level.

    That said, you are right, no Reporting Senior can have day to day interaction with all the people in their unit; you have to rely on whatever ranking system that Reporting Senior delegates to the mid & junior leaders and hold them accountable for good recommendations. Frankly, it would be really hard to establish some sort of rating system that doesn't have some level of subjectivity unless the task evaluated is a simple or binary type task; the Reporting Senior has a responsibility to disseminate what they use / include in their decision making.
    The most important six inches on the battlefield ... is between your ears.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mjölnir View Post
    If you have a unit with 8 different career fields, you can do a soft break out ("My #1 of 10 [insert career field] and #3 of 60 NCO's", but yes, I do believe if asked to rank people, you can only have 1 #1 ... is kind of how ranking works. I think where a lot of people get heartburn is that when you start evaluating people for more senior positions (officer and enlisted), being a superstar in your MOS, AFSC or rating is great but may not translate into being a good senior NCO, Chief Petty Officer, Field Grade Officer etc. Things like leadership & management become a factor, working all the bake sales in the world do not overcome being incompetent ... but at the point where everyone is good at their job ... you have to look at their ability to do things beyond just their job and be adaptable ... promotion is not about what you have done in the past, but what you need to be doing at the next level.

    That said, you are right, no Reporting Senior can have day to day interaction with all the people in their unit; you have to rely on whatever ranking system that Reporting Senior delegates to the mid & junior leaders and hold them accountable for good recommendations. Frankly, it would be really hard to establish some sort of rating system that doesn't have some level of subjectivity unless the task evaluated is a simple or binary type task; the Reporting Senior has a responsibility to disseminate what they use / include in their decision making.
    Unfortunately, there's a difference between ideal and reality. I've found there are 3 ways to be the #1. Be a PTL, be visible/cook at all squadron BBQs, and be good at softball (or bowling, if the 1st Sgt is on the bowling team). If you can do those 3 things, and be average at your job, you've got the keys to the kingdom, especially if you respond to a fire alarm at the base Burger King.

    This is where the SKT/PDG testing gives everyone a chance, even if they aren't "visible" in the squadron. Unfortunately, though (back to the main topic), it looks as though that won't even play a part in becoming a SNCO.

  8. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by AF sgt View Post
    Unfortunately, there's a difference between ideal and reality. I've found there are 3 ways to be the #1. Be a PTL, be visible/cook at all squadron BBQs, and be good at softball (or bowling, if the 1st Sgt is on the bowling team). If you can do those 3 things, and be average at your job, you've got the keys to the kingdom, especially if you respond to a fire alarm at the base Burger King.

    This is where the SKT/PDG testing gives everyone a chance, even if they aren't "visible" in the squadron. Unfortunately, though (back to the main topic), it looks as though that won't even play a part in becoming a SNCO.

    So basically, when it comes down to getting a good stratification (my #1 guy), as a bare minimum your rater and senior rater should both a) Know you, and b) Like you. Assuming a & b had anything to do with being a good workerbee, you then choose to give the strat to the one who also is the PTL, cooks at the BBQ, and participates in Sq sports. Pretty straight forward process!
    Last edited by FLAPS; 02-09-2019 at 01:39 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AF sgt View Post
    Unfortunately, there's a difference between ideal and reality. I've found there are 3 ways to be the #1. Be a PTL, be visible/cook at all squadron BBQs, and be good at softball (or bowling, if the 1st Sgt is on the bowling team). If you can do those 3 things, and be average at your job, you've got the keys to the kingdom, especially if you respond to a fire alarm at the base Burger King.

    This is where the SKT/PDG testing gives everyone a chance, even if they aren't "visible" in the squadron. Unfortunately, though (back to the main topic), it looks as though that won't even play a part in becoming a SNCO.
    -Doing well on a test does not correlate to being a top performer, it isn’t exclusive of that ... but the smartest people are not always the best at the practical application and again ... being a SNCO / senior enlisted is more than what is in the study guide.

    -If the boss is using being a PT Leader, cooking at picnics etc. to choose the #1 while ignoring performance, I don’t agree with that. At the same time, if two people are performing equally / near equally than collateral duties are a factor, something that honestly I have never seen that. More often than not, even going back to when I was an NCO and SNCO, people used the “collaterals override job performance” as an excuse for wanting to do the bare minimum or an inability to accept someone was a better performer than themselves.
    The most important six inches on the battlefield ... is between your ears.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mjölnir View Post
    -Doing well on a test does not correlate to being a top performer, it isn’t exclusive of that ... but the smartest people are not always the best at the practical application and again ... being a SNCO / senior enlisted is more than what is in the study guide.

    -If the boss is using being a PT Leader, cooking at picnics etc. to choose the #1 while ignoring performance, I don’t agree with that. At the same time, if two people are performing equally / near equally than collateral duties are a factor, something that honestly I have never seen that. More often than not, even going back to when I was an NCO and SNCO, people used the “collaterals override job performance” as an excuse for wanting to do the bare minimum or an inability to accept someone was a better performer than themselves.
    You're absolutely right. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), the Air Force would rather have SNCOs who are more willing to give up time with their families in order to do more of those "collateral's". It is the military. "If they wanted you to have a (happy) family, they would have issued you one".

    Of course, being retired, I'm soooooo happy I didn't make those "sacrifices" to climb the ladder. It's funny how once you're done with it, you realize how petty all of those little things actually are, and how un-mission related those things actually are.

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