Sean Heritage

Connecting The Dots



Defining Success

We all define success differently. The cynic in me acknowledges that some measure their success by their bank account, their job title, or their perceived superiority over their friends, neighbors, and coworkers. The people I enjoy most are those who… Continue Reading →

Subject to Change (Guest Post)

Petty Officer David Hennessy is a 29 year old, single with no dependents, American Sailor, who hails from the great city of Chicago. Taking a varied path that did not directly lead to service in our Navy, but did lead directly… Continue Reading →

Culture Clash (Guest Post)

Ensign Lukas Dwelly was commissioned as an Intelligence Officer last fall through the Navy Reserve Direct Commissioning Program. Enlisting in the Marines in 1995, he obtained the rank of Sergeant and deployed as an infantry squad leader aboard the USS… Continue Reading →

Leadership AND Followership

It’s no secret that I am both passionate about leadership and appreciative of the opportunity to follow those who truly lead. I believe effective followership is the path to effective leadership. In fact, I would go so far as to… Continue Reading →

Flattening your Tree of Monkeys – Observations on Leadership (Guest Post)

CTR2 Willoughby is a 23-year-old first-term Sailor with a driving passion for learning and understanding; a rational, positive outlook on life; a distaste for the superflous; and, if not uncensored, a tongue which expresses his distaste. Since enlisting in 2009… Continue Reading →

Has the Term Shipmate Shipwrecked? (Guest Post)

LT Jim Legg is an Information Warfare Officer. He enlisted in the Navy in 1994.  After completing boot camp, Jim reported to Pensacola, FL for Cryptologic Technician Administrative “A” School.  He was commissioned in 2006 through the Seaman to Admiral-21st… Continue Reading →

Mentors: “Being” and “Doing”

Of late and as a result of recent posts, I have enjoyed the pleasure of many conversations on the topic of mentorship.  These conversations have left me believing that there are two kinds of mentors…“Doing” Mentors and “Being” Mentors.  Both… Continue Reading →

Operate Forward (Guest Post)

LTJG Jason Pawlak is an Information Warfare Officer originally from Mason, Ohio.  After graduating from the University of Cincinnati with a degree in Computer Science, he commissioned through Officer Candidate School in October of 2010.  Jason took orders to NIOC… Continue Reading →

Advisors, Actors…Leaders

It’s been three weeks since I started my new position and it happened. The it to which I am referring is the reintroduction to the idea that Actors and Advisors live on different planes. They think differently, they approach problems differently,… Continue Reading →

Expectations of a Mentor (Guest Post)

ENS Zaki Rucker is an Information Warfare Officer. After enlisting in the Navy and attending boot camp in 2004, Zaki attended the Modern Standard Arabic course at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, CA. He then spent six years at… Continue Reading →

Chiefly Expectations: A JO’s Perspective (Guest Post)

LT Ryan Haag is an Information Warfare Officer. After graduating from the University of Michigan, he served onboard the USS Hampton (SSN-767) as the Electrical Officer and Assistant Weapons Officer, at U.S. Second Fleet as a TLAM Senior Mission Planner… Continue Reading →

New and Improved?

Last week, I made my final post on Connecting the Dots (CTD) 1.0 and have migrated to this forum, which I affectionately refer to as CTD 2.0. There is no doubt I will have the need to make incremental tweaks… Continue Reading →

Lidless Leadership

Though I don’t always agree with John Maxwell, I remain a big fan of his teachings. The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership is my favorite of his books and though I believe in each of the laws contained therein, the… Continue Reading →

Sharing The OODA Loop

Anyone who has served in the military understands “The OODA Loop”, and a growing percentage of business leaders in corporate America have studied or even used the same. For those who have not, it’s a four stage decision cycle that… Continue Reading →

Culture: Defined

I recently attended Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) training and can confidently state that much like the training received for the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, it was both extremely well thought out and presented. There were many… Continue Reading →

Making Personal Recommendation Meaningful

Note: I am repeatedly reminded of how fortunate I am to be surrounded by such great people. The below post (my second guest posting) comes from a Shipmate whom I have known since 2005. A leader, a critical thinker, and… Continue Reading →

Player Development

Most of the time I consider the insights I choose to share as doing little more than playing the role of “Master of the Obvious”. I also find it enjoyable to have someone share with me that which should be… Continue Reading →

360 Degree Hiring

I like learning about new ideas, thoroughly enjoy formulating good ideas, and absolutely love executing great ideas.  In a previous post summarizing a short visit at the Google complex, I mentioned five key attributes that were commonplace there that I wanted to… Continue Reading →

Leading Even From Your Desk

Throughout my career, I have heard many people profess that you can’t lead from behind your desk. I’ve thought that to be true, but I must admit that I became less and less convinced each year and now I see how… Continue Reading →

Collective Ownership

Collective Ownership is a rather simple concept founded on the philosophy of a shared commitment to making decisions (and following through on them) based upon the benefit for the greater good. This is not necessarily a democratic model where majority… Continue Reading →

Dr. Maxwell, I Respectfully Disagree

Last week, a little more than 20 of us from the Command were fortunate enough to attend a speaking engagement featuring John Maxwell (Leadership Author) and Chris Gardner (Pursuit of Happyness). Making the time to attend this event was important… Continue Reading →


I must admit that I enjoy “giving high-fives”. That is to say that I enjoy recognizing others for a job well done, and I feel comfortable admitting that doing so is far more satisfying than being on the receiving end…. Continue Reading →

Deciding: To Kill or Create

I must admit that I enjoy making decisions. I enjoy committing to a way ahead. I enjoy turning idle chatter into deliberate action. As much as I enjoy doing those things, I enjoy empowering and observing others doing the same…. Continue Reading →

Team AND Family

Often times, I refer to my family as “Team Heritage” and the team with whom I work as “The NIOC Pensacola Family.” Recently, I spent some time with one of my best friends who happens to be a CEO of… Continue Reading →

Waiting to Lead

Note: I am repeatedly reminded of how fortunate I am to be surrounded by such great people. The below post (my first guest posting) comes from a Shipmate whom I have yet to meet in person. Though we haven’t met,… Continue Reading →

Mine, Mine, Mine

At work, my computer sits on my desk next to my phone in my Office. When I am not there, no one uses in my office, no one dials out on my phone, no one sits at my desk, and… Continue Reading →

Willy Wonka’s Mentorship Factory

It happened again. This time it was my birthday outing to see the live musical Willy Wonka. I’ve seen the movie many times, and yes the Gene Wilder version still scares me. I’ve always enjoyed the story, but just like… Continue Reading →

Please Say "Rats!"

Over the last two months, my son has been preparing for his roles as both a rat and a child in the Pensacola Little Theater’s production of The Pied Piper of Hamelin. The production has since ended, but before it… Continue Reading →

Succession Planning

As I just about reach the midway point in my current tour of duty, I acknowledge I am having a “Mid-tour Crisis”. I assess the progress we have made over the last year and my immediate response is that there… Continue Reading →

Opportunity, Mentorship and…

Each week we welcome new Sailors to our command, and I am impressed by each addition. Monthly, I get the opportunity to meet with the newest Information Warfare Officers to join our community. The high quality of person we continue… Continue Reading →

Experimenting Without Positional Authority

One of the fallacies that too many people believe is that one must have positional authority to lead. I have heard it too often when speaking to protégés, “What do I need to do to set myself up for a… Continue Reading →

Experimenting with 360 Degree Feedback

Life is an adventure and WE have every opportunity to both succeed and fail as WE try new things, experiment with new ideas and create opportunities to both improve ourselves and those around us. Life is easier if WE stay… Continue Reading →

Implementation: We’re Getting Better

Though spending a few days in Orlando (to include “The Happiest Place on Earth”) celebrating my son’s birthday was clearly the highlight of the week, the most surprising was the two hours I spent on Monday before the drive attending… Continue Reading →

True Vacation Requires Delegation

I write this as we fly from Sacramento back to Pensacola after a wonderful time spent with Family and Friends. It was a special adventure for many reasons and the greatest was that it was a true vacation, far more… Continue Reading →

The Delete Button

Last Friday, a great time was had by all at our Command Holiday Party. Our Holiday Party Committee did a great job creating an opportunity for all of us to have some good fun with some great people! It was… Continue Reading →

The Diversity Box

Earlier this week a colleague was kind enough to share some very insightful feedback on a selection process in which few have meaningful visibility. Within his feedback, I was struck by a statement regarding the role of diversity in the… Continue Reading →

Workplace Culture: Google and the Military

It is no secret that Google enjoys a unique corporate culture. Last week, as part of the Information Dominance Corps Senior Leadership Seminar, I had the privilege of witnessing it first hand. The uniqueness is in the extremity with which… Continue Reading →

Mentorship, Sponsorship and Favoritism

Mentorship – A personal developmental relationship in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable person helps a less experienced or less knowledgeable person. The focus of mentorship is on the personal and professional development of the individual, and just about… Continue Reading →

Teams Failing Leaders?

As I look forward to witnessing another good friend realize the career milestone that is Command, I am reminded that it has been less than two weeks since the Navy relieved our 13th Commanding Officer (CO) this year. It stings… Continue Reading →

The “C” Word

Just like every other Weekly Operations Brief at NIOC Pensacola, I witnessed something new. The difference last week was that my observations had little to do with the subject matter and everything to do with the words chosen to communicate… Continue Reading →

Because All Goals Require a Team Effort…

I am in the process of meeting individually with each of the 150+ members of our team to discuss their personal goals, among other things. Given the high caliber of person the Navy continues to attract and the fact that… Continue Reading →


The Navy has been focused on mentorship for longer than I can remember. We have witnessed forced mentorship, where mentors are formally assigned to individuals. We have seen models where mentorship opportunities are facilitated, as we let relationships take shape… Continue Reading →

The Millennial Mindset

It is said that thoughts, moods, and attitudes are contagious. I agree 100% and for that reason, I choose to associate with people who are positive and have a passion for life and continual improvement. I do so in hopes… Continue Reading →

Passion, Purpose, Progress

As leaders, followers and any variation thereof, we find ourselves needing to influence the behavior of others and incentivize them to take specific action. In the role of a Community Manager, we have the charter of shaping community health which… Continue Reading →

AN vs IN Authority

I like to think that each and every one of is an authority on something. Whether it be baseball statistics of yesteryear, automobile repair, medicine, knot tying, 5th-grade trivia, sewing, baking, computers, or you name it, each of us is… Continue Reading →

“Wait Till Your Father Gets Home”

As a child, I rarely heard my mother make the statement, “Wait till your father gets home.” When she did, it was a request for us to demonstrate some patience before doing something we were eager to do. It was… Continue Reading →


As a native of California, fires were a constant on the evening news during the summer season. I remember on many occasions local firefighters traveling long distances to help the cause well outside their assigned jurisdiction. Though neither lives nor… Continue Reading →

Leadership Versus Power

Regardless of our current employment status (executive, individual contributor, stay-at-home spouse, etc.), each of us is presented with opportunities in both our personal and professional lives to lead on a daily basis. Those of us who take such responsibility seriously… Continue Reading →

Fourth Quarter

Another week of the football season is behind us, and as always there was plenty of drama in the fourth quarter of more than a couple of games. As a football fan, I enjoy the last-minute comeback as much as… Continue Reading →

Collaborate, Integrate, and Educate

As one who takes the role of mentor very seriously, I consider myself privileged to be sought out by juniors for career advice. Recently, I was approached by a fellow officer who was fortunate enough to be preparing for his… Continue Reading →

Politics in the Workplace

Many people believe that politics has no place in the workplace. If that is how you feel, think about politics as relationships and your opinion might change. The term “relationships” has a much more positive connotation than “politics,” and at… Continue Reading →


One of the keys to continual improvement is constructive 360-degree feedback. The problem is, we are not accustomed to providing others with honest feedback, nor do we ask others to provide the same to us. Those of us in the… Continue Reading →

Executing as a Team

I have but a few passions in life and at the top of my list is doing just about anything with my son. For this reason, I proudly assume the role of Soccer Coach on a reoccurring basis. Our most… Continue Reading →

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