Posted on Oct 29, 2015
SFC Section Chief
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I would like to get some honest feedback from other Senior NCO's about how they, one, plan to manage their Senior Rater profile, and two, how they feel about competing directly with their peers for those top blocks?
Posted in these groups: Army-usa-or-07.svg SFCArmy-usa-or-08b.svg MSGArmy-usa-or-08a.svg 1SG1efa5058 NCOER5f4d5dbb NCOPD
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SFC Senior Human Resources Sergeant
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SFC (Join to see) in my opinion, this is long overdue. The system has been inflated for years, seriously how can a board accurately select people for promotion when over 92% of the candidates receive 1/1 ratings?! I believe it will be very effective in future promotions as we will start to see only the truly cream of the crop receive ACOMs (above center of mass) and the meat of the NCOER will now be in the paragraph your Senior Rater writes about you instead of being limited to 3-4 bullets. That paragraph will carry more weight than anything else on the NCOER, even if you don't receive an ACOM. How will I manage my profile? Very carefully, because we an opportunity here. This is the ground floor of a new system, let's not jack it up by continuing to overinflate. Be honest and forthcoming with our junior NCOs and rate them accordingly. How do I feel about competing with my peers? Haven't we already been competing? Seriously though, there will be some who try to politic and backstab others but in the end, I feel that if I focus on doing my job to the best of my ability, training my Soldiers and getting the mission accomplished should carry me to where I need to be. As the BN S1 NCOIC, my peer is really only the BN S4 NCOIC. The S2 is a SSG slot, the S3 is a MSG slot. It won't always be that way, but like I just stated, I'm focused on doing my job and let the cards fall where they may. CSM Michael J. Uhlig , your thoughts?
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SFC Senior Human Resources Sergeant
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5 y
MAJ (Join to see) - You are entitled to express your own opinion in this forum. However, with all due respect, I expect more from a field grade officer and Senior Rater. Every system will always have flaws, but historically, the data shows even with the overpopulation of 1/1 ratings, only 24% (in the aggregate) are selected for promotion. So yes, timing for the top block is a critical factor. However, we (people in positions like you and I) have an opportunity to effect real and tangible change in the evaluation system. Just because you have a top block to give, don't use it. Reserve it for those that are truly deserving. Try to actually conduct some counseling with your senior NCOs and ensure your vision is being understood. Too often in my career, I have had to force an officer to do their job. I have had to mentor them as to way I need their vision, so that I can execute a plan of action. How can I develop training for the troops if you as the senior don't provide the goals we are to achieve? Rate me on how well I communicate with you and how well I execute the mission. The top block versus verbiage will work itself out if we are honest with the system now. This is our chance to hit the rest button on the whole thing. As of 1 Jan, the Evals will no longer be inflated and everyone starts at zero. Try to stay optimistic and embrace the change. If you are critical of the system now, others will see that and they in turn will continue their bad habits. Be the change our NCO Corps needs, not for yourself and not for today but for the future of the Army.

CSM Michael J. Uhlig care to weigh in?
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CSM Michael J. Uhlig
CSM Michael J. Uhlig
5 y
Great discussion and feedback MAJ (Join to see) & SFC (Join to see). I ask you both to take a look at the article where SMA Dailey addresses some of these very challenges you both have been discussing:
http://www.armytimes.com/story/military/careers/army/enlisted/2015/06/25/new-army-ncoer-launches-january/29240325/
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MAJ FAO - Europe
MAJ (Join to see)
5 y
CSM Michael J. Uhlig - Thanks for sharing. The only point I'd disagree with is whether a 2-block will mean NCOs remain competetive for promotion. This statement doesn't logically align with the whole reason for the 24% forced distribution. It'll take a couple years of stats to be sure, but I'm fairly certain top blocks will equate to promotion, and non-top blocks will equal non-promotion.
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MAJ FAO - Europe
MAJ (Join to see)
5 y
SFC (Join to see) Thanks for the response. I hope you're right---that the new NCOER will bring revolutionary change to the Army. I love the new NCOER, especially the forced distribution and counseling requirements. I also think that, as with most things in the Army, counseling will be finger-drilled. What I've seen so far in discussions about the new NCOER is that NCOs don't fully grasp the importance of the top block and the forced distribution, and how this is about to change things for the NCO Corps. This probably stems from statements and explanations about the new NCOER that suggest non-top blocks will remain competetive for promotion. I just really don't see how that will be possible; if that's going to be the case, then we shouldn't have spent all that time and money creating a new NCOER (because essentially what this means is that NCOERs will remain inflated and Boards still won't be able to tell the difference between good and bad NCOs). It probably also stems from decades of inflated NCOERs; in 2016, the vast majority of NCOs are going to receive a non-top block, and for most this will be the first time they've received an evaluation that isn't inflated and doesn't say they are among the best NCOs in the Army.

Regarding your expectations of a field grade and senior rater...I fully agree with you. As a field grade, I've always counseled subordinates, formally and at least monthly. From my time as a company grade officer, I can remember formally counseling those I rated, formally and monthly or quarterly. I highly doubt I counseled those I senior rated as a company grade officer; I certainly don't remember doing so, at least not as much/often as the new NCOER suggests one should. I'm not a senior rater now; not a rater, for that matter; I have no subordinates and won't for at least the next two years....FAO majors are generally the junior person in a given unit.

Regarding counseling in general, I'd note that I recently had face-to-face initial counseling with my senior rater, a two-star. It was the first time I'd been counseled by a senior rater in over 13 years. My take-away: if a two-star has the time to do senior rater counseling, just about everybody else should have time, too. I'll certainly strive to do this right the next time I'm in a position to do so.

As I said earlier, we'll need a few years of data to really assess the new NCOER. perhaps when the Army publishes stats, they'll publish data on counseling, too.

On your overall point, you're spot on: officers don't do this (counseling and evaluation writing) well. I'd suspect this is because our senior officers (say, field grades and above) generally grew up in a system where after their LT time, they've written their own evaluations and haven't been counseled. After my time as a LT, I've rarely been counseled. And at least since completing company commands, I've had to write my own evaluations. This is the norm for officers, and informs how officers view NCOERs and counseling.

Finally, it's not always necessary to "drink the Kool-Aid" regarding Army programs. It's perfectly fine to question the system and be critical of choices the Army makes. While I think the new NCOER is a fantastic change, I question some of the messaging, and think we need folks to question issues and discuss the topics, if only to help inform expectations.
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SFC David McMahon
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I can't offer any relavent comments because I'm "walking out the door" but this approach is a reaction to the common practice of over inflating the old system. If you counsel and mentor like your supposed to and HONESTLY rate, this would have never happened. I fear this may cause unneeded tension within the ranks.
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CSM Command Sergeant Major
CSM (Join to see)
5 y
I would not call it un-needed. I feel the ones that will be "tense" probably should not be there in the first place.
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SFC David McMahon
SFC David McMahon
5 y
CSM (Join to see) - That's probably a more accurate statement. While effective rating (on the old system) could of alleviated this, this new rating system should reflect better who is making a difference in the organization.
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SFC Senior Operations Advisor
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1 mo
It will cause tension. Last I heard we are suppose to be a team, not internally battling eachother over the “top block” Also the real problem is the bogus NCOER, everyone knows it’s who likes you, not what you do however nobody wants to acknowledge that.
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1SG Operations Sergeant
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Over the years, NCOERs have been plagued with overrated evaluations that have promoted many while some of our good NCOs were unable to extend their careers.

Additionally, NCOs, Warrant Officers and Officers at times have failed to properly assess rated NCO quarterly as some NCOs have failed to inquire to be quarterly rated feeling they’ll automatically receive a 1-1 and Among the Best.

It amazes me how many can only recite only the portion to acquire what they want but not know the entire piece or the regulation govern their NCOER. Many are never informed what to do if theirs an issue with their report until it’s past overdue and assume if the First Sergeant and CSM can’t fix, to call IG when they should know to speak with their senior rater and then reviewer if still unresolved before it’s submitted.

No one system is the best but it is a move in the right direction to fix what has been broken to force leaders to accurately assess and evaluate NCOs. This also requires NCOs to seek their raters out to ensure they receive their quarterly counseling, as we should be promoting our best to continue serving.

Some MOSs by virtue of MOS has a hard time making senior ranks, such as 92R, 92W, and 89B to list a few.

To finish off, with many years experience in the S-3, I would at times receive Soldiers that were removed from other companies and had to deal with their situations, making them an effective part of the section and rehabilitating to sustain our mission. I always stated, junk in is junk out.

Many great leaders and countries have collapsed for one reason or another. We must take pride to lead, guide, and help promote Soldiers who not only envision the NCO Creed but also express key words that have meaning when reciting versus saying it fast. Then hold fast to the NCO Charge to remind them their duty and responsibility as we build future leaders to replace us come retirement time.

We are a product of our own success and failure. The regulations never change but if I allow, then I just created a new one (AR 623-23-Williams; example)

I pray you understand my point to your question and hopefully gave light to your question as well.
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1SG Albert Phoenix
1SG Albert Phoenix
5 y
Good post and I agree. A lot of individuals slipped through the ranks with the good old buddy system. NCO's Ave to take care of their own career. At the same time Senior NCO's have to mentor and groom the up and coming ones. Bottom line it's about taking care of soldier's and their well being. No one likes change but a lot of the time change is good.
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SFC Section Chief
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5 y
1SG, I first want to thank you for the great post! You make a great point about over inflation, and holdin our Soldiers accountable. I think if we all took some more time to live up to the standards we uphold, we would not have to be forced to limit our top selections. But in fairness, we all think all our guys are great and that the problem is the other guy, so I welcome this change to help screen out the top performers.
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1SG Operations Sergeant
1SG (Join to see)
5 y
Battle,

I thank you for your response and your views as this helps sharpen our understanding and our ability to learn to incorporate better techniques to improve our future leaders and confident to perform best when duty calls unfortunately unto the ultimate sacrifice.

Many Soldiers perform great their duties and responsibilities but we’re to see the “Whole Soldier” concept. What do they do during and after work-call, remember, we’re Soldiers 24/7. Do we clock out at 1630-1700 and turn our phones off and come in 10-15 minutes before “Fall-In!” with tires screeching making noise louder then the horn. This means Soldiers who don’t have time during duty hours or wanting to be seen can’t reach out to us and so they hold in until it’s too late and we’re mandated by higher to take action or they look elsewhere and we feel butt hurt.

We must get back into the “People” business and learn to take care of our Soldiers by teaching younger NCOs and Officers the importance of our “#1” assets as they’re our future investment and it costs millions to train another to have these skills you need in your formation.

Untrained NCOs who rush through the ranks won’t have these skills or knowledge and this hurts our NCO Corps which is only strong as our weakest link and thus don’t properly develop our newly lieutenants who then dictates and we lose our voice at the table.

In a competing world inside and outside the military, we need strong leaders willing to voice their opinions, take one for the team and develop strong future leaders. Sometimes that means telling Soldiers and NCOs in MOSs that don’t promote to retain their careers to become a Warrant/Officer as they still help to develop great leaders and preserve skills and knowledge for future generations.

I maintained as an enlisted cause my MOS made possible to make it to the senior ranks. Therefore, this helps NCOs when we look at their career maps and state where they can best suit the military.

Finally, remember, they are not really our Soldiers,. We’re blessed to have the honor to continue to develop and watch over them until our next assignment as they’re the Army’s and we should be thankful each time they allow us to lead from out front.

This is why it’s important to advise, develop and give good guidance, which makes those competing to ensure they never forget their #1 responsibility, our Soldiers. Develop them for future missions, leadership and to be equally successful in civilian life when they transition.

Have a bless weekend!
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SFC Observer   Controller/Trainer (Oc/T)
SFC (Join to see)
5 y
The plight of the 89, finally acknowledged :)
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