As a young Air Force officer reading and re-writing hundreds of performance reports, I discovered that my “helpful improvements” to said reports were de-motivating my non-commissioned officers (NCOs), tasked with evaluating their subordinates.

One trusted NCO revealed the reasoning of some while explaining why the reports coming to me had not improved: “Why spend a lot of effort if the officer in charge (ME) was just going to change the words?”


So I vowed to make NO changes to grammatically correct reports that accurately reflected the performance being evaluated; no “happy” to “glad”, no “lasting” to “enduring”… no changes that dismissed the effort of the writer because of my personal preference.

As difficult as that was sometimes, I worked hard to keep my word.

Inhale Motivate, Exhale De-Motivate…
Inhale Motivate, Exhale Discourage…
Inhale Motivate, Exhale De-Incentivize…
Just Breathe


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