I had the privilege of being what we call a Performance Enhancement Platoon (PEP) cadre. It is a one-on-one incentive training session with a swab of the same gender. We take underperforming swabs, openly confront their major discrepancies, and give them tools to hopefully make them want to turn around and perform better. A lot of the time when people hear about PEP, they think big and scary people yelling at an underperforming swab the entire time. It is more of like a horrible hour and 15 minutes. For me that is not why I wanted to do it. I put in for it because I was intent on being part of someone’s improvement, rather than see them continue to fail and eventually give up. At the end of the day I can say that I was able to motivate someone to want to stay here. The hours leading up to PEP, I kept thinking to myself I hope I don’t say the wrong thing that pushes them to the limit that makes them quit. I am not one for quitting at all. I didn’t want it riding on me that I could have influenced their decision and ended their career. I thought carefully about what I would say that could break them down mentally but only enough that I still had time to bring them back up by the end.
What was most motivating for me was that I got to see that breaking point for them. All I had been asking for them do was sound off why they wanted to be here, what motivated them, and the Coast Guard Core values. Something clicked in their mind at that point. I saw tears, which to me did not mean “poor me, I’m getting yelled at” but instead that they were ready to start changing. That was when I knew that I could begin to build them back up, and start motivating them to want to start performing better. For their sake, I am hoping some of the things I said to them will stick in their mind as they finish out the summer strong, and end up being a strong link in the class of 2017.
More about Cameo.