Archive for October, 2009

NCOER/OERs

I will try to keep this succinct for you all while giving you some ideas to take with you.  First, pay attention to the NCOER class.  We as officers tend not to be strong in writing evaluations for our NCOs.  We don’t teach it well.   Do yourself a favor sit down with your 1SG at your unit and work closely with him or her on this issue.  I was fortunate to have one senior NCO in particular teach me a lot.  Second, accept that amongst the senior NCOs there are some differences in what they want to see on NCOERs.  Mostly it is a styling thing.  The basic concept is the same but some want wording slightly different.  This will mostly be on the CSM level as they will review the NCOERs in the battalion.

My best advice is when it comes time to do your initial counseling do the following prep.  Ask your platoon sergeant for their last NCOER.  Go to the S1 shop and ask  for some examples of NCOERs for like positions.  Get a spread from excellent ones to middle of the road.  Give you adjutant some time to do this as they will need to “sterilize” the personal information.  Then take a blank NCOER form and write in pencil some examples of “excellence” bullets you would like to see from the NCO.  You can change these during the counseling based on NCO feedback.  Now you have goals and a working form to start with when it comes time to write the evaluation.  Unfortunatley, many senior NCOs write their own NCOERs and give them to the rater.  Don’t let this be you.  You expect better from your rater and your NCO should get better from you.  Now, that being said I want to take care of my good NCOs, so I show my draft to them and ask for input.  They often have an idea of what they need and want on their evals.  As long as I don’t have a moral issue with their input I make the changes.  If you want to write an “excellent” NCOER you must have data.  Unlike our evaluations the NCOER requires quantification to support excellence.  I’m sure your instructor will cover this.

OERs are much easier to write and you will see many before you have to write them.  The same idea applies about getting examples from the S1.  This becomes extremely helpful when you have a warrant officer performing a duty which you haven’t really evaluated before.  You can gain an idea of useful metrics for that position and tailor them to your evaluation.  I am not going to spend much time here as you will not write many, unless you are aviation branch, and will get a lot of exposure on writing them.

Your support form on the other hand is up to you.  If your rater does not provide you copies of their support form and your senior raters support they are wrong.  That being said, not all will provide it.  And, often you won’t be asked for your support form until its time to write you evaluation.  Again, this is wrong.  Leaders have gotten much better about this than when I was a LT but you still might see it.  Your S1 can give you their forms if they don’t provide it.  Tailor the front (goals) so your goals are nested with their goals.  Format it the way they do.  What I did with my LTs is give them my support form at their initial counseling and asked them for theirs at our next counseling so I could see it and give them feedback.

During your rated period keep a word document or hard copy of your support form and write down things you do when they happen.  If you wait until your form is due, which could be a year, you will forget many great things you do.  Also, you are not restricted to the back of that form.  You can attach an addendum.  Usually this is just a word document with your bullets continued.  Be concise and whenever possible quantify your achievements.  Often you will find your rater has written your OER without your support form.  Generally they will know what they want to say about you.  However, if you have achievements you want included in the OER tell them.  They can’t fit them all in so pick one or two if you feel strongly about them.

Remember it is your evalution.  If there is something you want it to say you need to let your rater and senior rater know.  If there are specific programs you want to compete for or jobs you are interested in ask them to put it on your OER.  If you are doing your job right they will support you and often they won’t know unless you tell them.  You are the only advocate for what you want.

My last note, don’t work for you OER and don’t believe what you read.  Do your job and take care of your soldiers.  Sometimes you’ll get the recognition you deserve and sometimes you won’t.  But, your Soldiers will let you know if you are a good leader.  Other side of the coin is don’t get enamored with what your OER says about you.  Don’t worry, a good NCO will let you know where you stand.

I hope this helps you and look forward to answering any questions I can.  I am an aviation officer so if anyone has any question in that field please send them as well.

MAJ Randy Smith

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Counseling

Future Lieutenants,

The counseling itself is a really broad topic. Today I’ll mention mostly from FM 6-22, Army Leadership. FM 6-22 says, “Counseling is the process used by leaders to review with a subordinate the subordinate’s demonstrated performance and potential.”

Counseling occurs when a leader, who serves as a subordinate’s designated rater, reviews with the subordinate his demonstrated performance and potential, often in relation to a programmed performance evaluation.

There are three types of counseling; event counseling, performance counseling, and professional growth counseling. Event counseling covers a specific event or situation. Performance counseling is the review of a subordinate’s duty performance during a specified period. You will use DA Forms, such as, The officer evaluation report (OER) (DA form 67-9), OER Support Form (DA Form 67-9-1), and The Developmental Support Form (DA form 67-9-1A). Professional Growth Counseling includes planning for the accomplishment of individual and professional goals. You will use The Developmental Counseling Form, DA Form 4856.
There are three types of approaches to counseling; nondirective approach, directive approach, and combined approach. The nondirective approach is preferred for most counseling sessions. Leaders use their experiences, insight and judgment to assist subordinates in developing solutions. The directive approach works best to correct simple problems, make on-the-spot corrections, and correct aspects of duty performance. The combined approach emphasizes the subordinate’s planning and decision-making responsibilities.

In a unit, you will find at least 5 % trouble makers or bad Soldiers. They will take a lot of your time if you are not careful. You need to take care of them. At the same time, you need to take care of other 95 % good Soldiers. The balance is your call.

When necessary, refer a subordinate to the agency more qualified to help. Get to know with your unit chaplains. Then you don’t have to worry about pastoral counseling (marital, pre-marital, grief, drug, alcohol, spiritual, sexual harassment, depression, moral, family, discharge, reassignment, legal, stress, etc.).

Blessings,
Chaplain (MAJ) Kim, Sungjean Peter

How to Conduct a Company Training Meeting

Hello Cadets! I am currently a student at the Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth Kansas and am honored to have this opportunity to present you with information that I have found to be helpful in my career and hope it willI you will find this discussion helpful in preparing yourself for a training meeting either as a platoon leader or company commander.
There are three essential parts to a company level training meeting. They are
completed training, near term training, and short range training. The meetings follow this agenda and should not last more than one hour. Time is a precious resource and something we do not seem to have enough of. Being organized can help to achieve this effectiveness.
     Begin the meeting with completed training.  Here the platoon leader and platoon sergeant present an assessment of training since the last meeting. A method of assessment can be formal using an Army Training and Evaluation
Program (ARTEP) checklist for evaluating a task or less formal such as an After Action Review (AAR).  For instance, if a METL task were being assessed  the platoon leader or platoon sergeant would use the Training and Evaluation Outline (TEO) for evaluating the METL task.  Based on the evaluation the
platoon leader will present an assessment of the evaluated task.  It is important to identify the overall rating as either a “go” or “no go” and identify any shortcomings as well.  As the platoon leader reviews conducted
training and any training that was planned and not conducted must be addressed. There will be times this happens but leaders are still
responsible to complete training and must present a plan to make up the missed training. Commanders use the assessment to update METL task assessments for future training and input for training guidance as well as for the quarterly training brief (QTB).
     Next, commanders provide guidance for new or unscheduled training . This step involves looking out six weeks and uses a training model to conduct pre-execution checks. An example of conducting pre-execution checks
for an APFT may be: “Has the gym been reserved?” or “Where will the run be?”
The training is briefed beginning with the furthest week out, T+6 (week 6) to the present training week, T week. Training closest should be briefed with more details than furthest out to help identify any “show stoppers” and ensure training is well rehearsed and planned.
     Finally, a review of the battalion calendar is done and events from here or training guidance are placed on the company training calendar. Once this is done “white space” on the calendar is visible and can be used for company training events. Platoon leaders and platoon sergeants provide the
company commander with training events for the commander to review and draft a training schedule. The information platoon leaders provide should focus on the training guidance and METL tasks in order to accomplish the
mission.
Again, thank you for this opportunity and I looking forward to further discussion with you.
MAJ Abi-Nader

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