This is the statement we are all looking for on our EPR each year. Many feel it is reserved for the brown-nosers or those who have William Shakespeare as a rater. Most of those who I saw earn this rating truly deserved it. Here is how they do it.
- Solve Problems. Every single day as a SNCO, multiple people came to me with a problem. Many of these problems are things that could be fixed at any level, but they were still brought to me. Very few people came to me and said here is a problem and my suggested solution. Those people stood out for sure. It is such a relief to not have another problem dumped on my lap. When opportunities came around, these people were top of mind. Who would you rather lead one of your teams: someone who solves problems or someone who simply identifies them? Look for the small problems that plague your day-to-day and those around you.
- Document Stuff. Write down the problems you solve or other things you take part in. You all do great things every day and then let it drift away. EPR time comes around and you try to recall all the great things you have done over the past year. When you go to the grocery store, you don’t shop from memory…so don’t try to recall 365 days of effort. What ends up happening is that we ask others for what they did and alter the facts to make them true for us or we one-up ourselves from last year’s EPR. I could actually group EPRs to what office or shift a person worked by how similar they were. You can’t stand out when you’re literally blending into the crowd. The fix for this is to document what you do at the end of the shift or even the end of the week. I still do this in my civilian job.
- Measure the Impact. We all know that EPR bullets are the action; the impact of that action – and the result. Basically, what we did, how we did it and how did we make the mission happen. We either undersell our effort or WAY oversell it. For example, I was reviewing an EPR bullet where my troop did something I recalled. He said the result was an on-time mission. However, this mission happened to have major international significance that he did not capture. Follow up on the things you do to see their impacts. One way to do this is to ask for a copy of the squadron or group awards packages. Leadership usually doesn’t mind sharing them and you can see how things you have done impact the bigger picture. If you can’t get a copy, explain what you’re looking to your supervisor and see if they can get some more information for you. What ever you do…follow up on all of your hard work to see what impact it had and capture that!
This is not a perfect system when you have percentages and forced distributions working against you; however, this is a guaranteed way to make you stand out and get you one step closer.