Sean Heritage

Connecting The Dots

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I Wanna Rock!

I recently stumbled across the music video for Twisted Sister’s song, “I Wanna Rock”. It had been quite some time since I had seen it and watching the preamble to the song where the teacher asks one of the students,… Continue Reading →

Glaciers, Fjords, and Teambuilding

Many of us are surrounded by dichotomies and some of us live in more than one, I find myself a uniformed military officer living in Silicon Valley – two very different cultures (at least on the surface). I also find… Continue Reading →

A Culture of Understanding

One of the things I find most challenging as leader of teams is developing a culture of understanding. Most of the people with whom I have served are wired to execute. They like to get things done. Some slow down… Continue Reading →

Defining Ourselves

Last month, I shared a post about an experiment that I had undertaken to crowdsource the development of the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental Strategic Guidance. I was pleased, though not surprised by the final product. What did surprise me, however,… Continue Reading →

Crowdsourcing Strategy

There are many definitions of strategy. Having served in the military for 25 years and counting, I have seen strategy take many shapes. Of late, I have read the National Security Strategy and the National Defense Strategy. There is a… Continue Reading →

Bread Sunday

Our military housing community enjoys a tradition that is called Bread Sunday. Each week the same gracious volunteer gets up early Sunday morning and makes her way to a local supermarket chain where she picks up baked goods donated for… Continue Reading →

Process

Many a coach is known to have said, “Trust the Process.” The utterance of such a phrase is heard with greater frequency when the outcomes are not favorable. That is to say, a team can be putting forth an optimal effort,… Continue Reading →

(It’s The) Work That Matters

I’ve had many jobs over the course of my career. I may not have enjoyed them all, but I am glad to have had the opportunity to execute the responsibilities associated with each. Each and every job made me feel… Continue Reading →

Thanks for the Lessons…

I am far from fanatical about Christmas and I have never been overly excited about ringing in the New Year at the strike of midnight. But, I do thoroughly enjoy the tradition of winding down and reconnecting with family and… Continue Reading →

Drawing Inspiration

Today is the 30th of the month and as part of my commitment to myself, it marks one of the three days each month I publish a blogpost. I have so many things that I want to write about, but… Continue Reading →

Sharing a Profession

Earlier this week I had the privilege of presenting at Steelcase’s Curious Minds guest speaker series. A longtime friend of mine (We served together as Ensigns at our first duty station) invited me in an effort to give a Veteran’s… Continue Reading →

The Fray

The fray is where the real work takes place. The fray is where action happens. The fray is the part of the organization that the Doers call home. Early in my career I operated in the fray and enjoyed it… Continue Reading →

Missing Career Milestones

Last month, the Information Warfare Community, to which I have been a proud member for 25 years and counting, convened a board to screen officers for their next career milestone. As is true with the posting of the results after… Continue Reading →

The New Guy

I thoroughly enjoy being the new guy on the team. There are zero expectations that you know anything and there is every expectation that you soon will. There are people to meet, things to learn, and opportunities to grow. I… Continue Reading →

Meaningful Differentiation

As a family and though not as leisurely as any of us would have liked, we spent the last week driving across our beautiful country. We started in Chesapeake, Virginia and finished in Mountain View, California. It was my 7th… Continue Reading →

Closing a Chapter

August 02, 2017, may very well go down in my memory bank as the most significant day in my career as a leader. It was the day we turned the Navy Cyber Defense Operations Command Change of Command ceremony into… Continue Reading →

Doing Voids: Responding and Preventing

Earlier this year I wrote about outcomes a team is able to generate because of effective leaders and value a team is able to deliver despite ineffective leaders. Committed leaders can inspire a team to accomplish things they never even dreamt… Continue Reading →

Betting on Horses

I am not a gambler, but some of my proudest moments as a leader come when I bet on the right horse. By “bet on” I mean position or advocate for. And by “horse” I mean teammate. Some horses are… Continue Reading →

Culture Book

Peter Drucker is known to have said, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” Those who know me understand how committed I am to living that statement. That is not to say I don’t see value in strategy, it’s just that I… Continue Reading →

Asking for Directions

Those of us who remember life before our smartphones can recall a day when we didn’t have the answers to most of our questions at our fingertips. We couldn’t ask Siri, Cortana, Alexa, or Google. We would either attempt to… Continue Reading →

Environment and the Norm

Today marks my 591st day as a proud member and the Commanding Officer of Navy Cyber Defense Operations Command. When I joined this team I committed to helping them write an especially meaningful chapter of what continues to be a… Continue Reading →

Capturing Value

No matter our profession or our role within a team, we have a shared responsibly: deliver or create value for the customer. And whether we see it or not, the fact is we all have customers. The teams of which… Continue Reading →

Prioritized Success and Equitable Failure

We are taught early on in life to treat people as we want to be treated. We also have the good fortune of living in a country where we believe that all people are created equal and have certain inalienable rights…. Continue Reading →

Informed Opinions

I just returned from an amazing trip to San Francisco. Though the purpose of the trip was to spend time with future teammates, contribute to the conversation regarding public-private partnership in non-traditional sectors, and begin preparing for our move west,… Continue Reading →

Stop Pretending

There’s lots of talk about goals this time of year, and I know I have been contemplating the same. It’s natural, healthy, and helpful. It happens at the beginning and end of journeys, around birthdays, and the turn of the new… Continue Reading →

Is It Worth It?

Life is full of questions and, clearly, there are far more questions than answers. Some people spend their lives in search of answers and others craft questions as a means of guiding their adventure. One of my favorite questions is,… Continue Reading →

Raising the Floor

I am a big fan of John Maxwell’s teachings. One of my favorite of the ‘laws’ of leadership he espouses is that of the ‘Law of the Lid.’ For those who are not familiar with the ‘Law of the Lid’,… Continue Reading →

What’s Next?

What’s Next? It’s a question that I ask myself dozens of times throughout any given day. You see, I have an addiction. An addiction to progress. In my mind everything on my To Do List (or To Become List) that… Continue Reading →

Unmistakable

I make more mistakes than I care to admit, though I am not afraid to admit them. In fact, last weekend I made a huge mistake when I rear-ended the car in front of me on the freeway. The seatbelts… Continue Reading →

(Un)Constrained by the Past

Last week is a week I’ll remember for quite a while. I engaged the week oriented entirely on the future. It was to start with an exciting decision about our future that we were to make as a team, followed… Continue Reading →

Vacations: Being, Frequency, and Brothers

Vacations don’t come often in our house. Sure I take time off from work and, yes, we take trips away from our home, but rarely do we go on vacation in the truest form: an extended period of recreation, especially… Continue Reading →

Just…

I think we should [insert well articulated opinion here], “just a thought.” I’d love to give [insert new experience here] a try, but I’m “just [insert self-limitation here].” I recommend we [insert well thought out recommendation here], “just an idea.”… Continue Reading →

Fully Invested Leaders

Many people consider themselves leaders, many people are in positions to lead, and many people are neither yet aspire to both. I have been spending some time of late thinking more and more about those who fall into the last… Continue Reading →

Teams and Tribes (Guest Post)

Lieutenant Kristen Wheeler is a proud prior enlisted Surface Warfare Officer. More than that she is a passionate leader and a phenomenal human being. A true talent magnet and multiplier with an eye for opportunity, I am pleased to be a… Continue Reading →

Failing Our Way to Success (Guest Post)

Not too long ago, I asked each Officer on our team to submit a short essay on a topic of their choice. Many good thought pieces were submitted and this one was ideally suited for this particular forum. Though the… Continue Reading →

Red Pill Addiction

The Matrix – “You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.”… Continue Reading →

It Was What It Was

I like to pay close attention to the words others use when they communicate. I am most in tune with prepositions and pronouns, and firmly believe we can tell a great deal about how a person sees himself and the… Continue Reading →

Something Bigger Than Ourself

I have long taken great pride in being a part of something far bigger than myself. For me, that happens to be serving as a proud member of the greatest Navy in the world. It is that very pull of… Continue Reading →

The Value of the Strange Leader (Guest Post)

Dr. Rebecca Siders is a passionate human being with varied interests that center around making the world a better place, inspiring people in her company to reach new heights, and challenging herself to continually live outside her comfort zone. She… Continue Reading →

Leading the Receiver

I’ve never played ice hockey, but I know enough to heed Wayne Gretzky’s advice and “skate to where the puck is going, not to where it has been.” On the flip side, I did play soccer for many years and… Continue Reading →

The Power of Dissent

When it comes to leading a team, there are few things as powerful as consent across the group. It is through a careful combination of unity of effort and unity of purpose that we deliver unity of effect. And no… Continue Reading →

(Don’t) Expect to Win

Each week in anticipation of and during Naval Academy football games I hear local commercials about how Midshipmen ‘Expect to Win’ on and off the field. At my son’s last swimming event, he told me that he expected to win… Continue Reading →

Best or Most Deserving?

I am a college football fan and like many fans, this is the time of year when I am reminded about how flawed the poll (or ranking) system is. Truth is, I am reminded each week about how silly the whole… Continue Reading →

Committed to WHO

Last week, my wife and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary. Our wedding day was a lifetime ago, yet in many respects, it seems like yesterday. A few months from now, I will celebrate 24 years in the Navy. Again,… Continue Reading →

Proactive Driving

Like many of you, I spend a lot of time in my car. Sometimes I drive alone and sometimes with a full car, but there is rarely a time when I am just along for the ride. There are times… Continue Reading →

Don Your Hoodie, Full-speed Ahead

Last week I attended the Athena East Naval Innovation Competition in downtown Norfolk. More specifically, I was part of a “Shark Tank” style board, helping the contestants think through the “so what” of their idea. The ideas were strong, the… Continue Reading →

Stretching

I enjoy physical exercise and fitness has been a significant part of my life for as long as I can remember. Admittedly, like most kids I was not aware that I was making fitness a priority, I was merely chasing… Continue Reading →

Accidentally, On Purpose

I work in a field that is relatively new to the Navy. Truth is when you are part of a team that has been in formal existence for almost 240 years, there are many things that are “relatively” new. The… Continue Reading →

Outside the Pool

This last weekend was the All-City Swim Meet and the culmination of my son’s third year of swimming on the neighborhood team. Three years ago he was unable to muster a legal version of three of the four strokes, this… Continue Reading →

Candy Jar (Guest Post)

LT Jason Knudson is an Information Warfare Officer and member of the Chief of Naval Operations Rapid Innovation Cell. All comments are his and his alone and do not reflect the official position of the U.S. Navy. Sometimes inspiration comes… Continue Reading →

Frozen in History

Though very short in comparison to most other countries, the United States has a proud history. Just as any nation-state, organization, idea, or living being does, each of us has our own history; mine happens to be 44 years short…. Continue Reading →

Boxed In

During the 3.5 hour drive home after recent road trip focused on house hunting, I found myself at the wheel on a long two lane stretch of highway. Though the majority of traffic was heading toward the beach (the opposite… Continue Reading →

Band-Aids

Every morning when I leave my house I drive by this one vehicle. It’s had a broken window for as long as I can remember. Though the condition of the window hasn’t changed in a long time, the color of… Continue Reading →

Solitude: Being Alone Makes You a Better Leader (Guest Post)

CDR Andy Newsome is an Information Warfare Officer, and is passionate about helping others. Andy is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Naval War College and Naval Postgraduate School.  He has served and led in various capacities inside and… Continue Reading →

Howdy, Partner!

Though far from an exhaustive list, the word Partner can be used to describe a relationship between spouses, significant others, parents, friends, teammates, businesses, governmental organizations, or nations. The word speaks to an alliance where two or more partners agree… Continue Reading →

Leading Where We Want

I’m guilty. I didn’t necessarily bring myself up on charges, but as my own personal jury and judge in the self-aware court of law, I found myself guilty as charged. Guilty of spending too much time leading where I wanted… Continue Reading →

Blurred Lines

In most organizations and especially in the military, clearly articulated roles and responsibilities are critical to enabling mission accomplishment. Authority, responsibility, and accountability are easy for all to see based on little more than an organizational chart. In fact, when… Continue Reading →

Anchor Points

While driving with my son last week, we were in need of gas. We neared a gas station selling unleaded for $2.39 a gallon. As we drove right by, he asked why we didn’t stop. When I told him that it… Continue Reading →

Informed Decisions

Last week we took a spontaneous family trip to scout out the area that the Navy has asked us to make our home for two years come August. I am not much for spontaneity and prefer planning to winging it,… Continue Reading →

Lenses

I am not a photographer, but I appreciate a well-framed picture. I am not a painter, but I hang art that inspires me in places that matter. I am not an artist in a traditional sense, but I very much… Continue Reading →

Lift Operators

In a world of scarcity, we often speak of trade-offs, a tit for a tat, a quid for a quo, and finding the right balance. In a world of abundance, we don’t think in terms of or; we look for and…. Continue Reading →

Recruiting Culture

I am a big college football fan. I don’t identify with a specific team or school in part because I enjoy the pageantry and traditions that span campuses across the nation. I’ve had the good fortune of seeing big games… Continue Reading →

Outcomes

Anyone who is familiar with the Star Wars movies is likely even more familiar with the little green Jedi master, Yoda. If you’re anything like me, just the mention of the individual who had a hand in training nearly every… Continue Reading →

I’m A Quid

There are many Latin phrases that are prominent in our language and given the fact that a large part of my job (really any job for that matter) is grounded on relationship building and partnership strengthening, it comes as no… Continue Reading →

Self-Limitation

Have you heard about the experiment done years ago on jumping frogs that were placed in jars with lids?  To refresh your memory, the frogs had plenty of food and water, and due to their natural instincts, they continually tried to… Continue Reading →

(Never)Mind the Gap

Each of us has tried out for teams (sports or otherwise), applied for jobs, and/or extended an invitation to another. There are and always will be times when the result is not to our liking. We don’t always make the… Continue Reading →

Dialoguers and Debaters

I enjoy thoughtful conversations on a wide range of topics and I am fortunate enough to have them with some extremely knowledgeable and passionate people. Because I have a rather diverse set of friends and colleagues, rarely a day goes… Continue Reading →

“About Time” Moments

We’ve all had those moments in life of sudden realization, inspiration, insight, recognition, or comprehension. And most of us aspire to have many more of them. We refer to those moments as “Aha Moments.” I seem to be having quite… Continue Reading →

Get Even Better Tours

I heard it again recently, two relatively senior Naval Officers talking about their personal involvement in helping someone be given the benefit of a “Get Well Tour.” Now those of us who have served or are serving in the Navy (and maybe… Continue Reading →

The Mirror is Telling

I have the pleasure of speaking with and to each new Information Warfare Officer via video-teleconference (VTC). This is an opportunity I was afforded based purely on geography in my last job (I served as the Commanding Officer of a… Continue Reading →

Best Athlete

When a professional sports team drafts athletes to join their team, there are multiple strategies. Some choose to draft the “best athlete” available, others draft a player based on perceived potential, others draft individuals that have a specific talent that will fill… Continue Reading →

Going Home

Two weeks ago I had the pleasure of going back to my hometown, Pleasanton, California. The purpose of the visit was to present a scholarship in my brother’s memory to a deserving member of Amador Valley High School’s Class of… Continue Reading →

Permission to Suck

Last Friday, my wife sent me an e-mail that contained a time, an address, and these words “Guest speaker Megan McArdle will discuss her new book  ‘The Up Side of Down: Why Failing Well is the Key to Success.’ She is… Continue Reading →

Shortcuts

Over the course of our life, we have likely been reminded that there are no shortcuts to meaningful achievement and that those who take shortcuts tend to be lazy (e.g. don’t want to work for what they want) or selfish (e.g…. Continue Reading →

Awards Worth Having

Whether it be a simple thank you, a trophy, monetary compensation, or something else, we all appreciate being recognized for a job well done. Personally, a simple thank you or congratulations is more than ample for me. After all, the… Continue Reading →

Helicopter Leadership

A military is able to project power through mere presence, the police often maintain order and nearly always alter behavior just by being within our field of view, and odds are our children act a little differently when their parents… Continue Reading →

I Hope This Works…

Though my personal interest in video games disappeared long ago, my son considers the time he spends playing them amongst his favorite. As a means of connecting with him and experiencing this aspect of his world, my wife and I… Continue Reading →

The Cooperative Leadership Model

Life continues to be busy in the most pleasant of ways. Lots of WANT TOs and very few HAVE TOs…the way time should be spent. One of the things I did of late that falls squarely into the WANT TO… Continue Reading →

Compelled to Believe

I heard it yet again last week at the tail end of a conversation, “You make a very compelling point.” I did not think the information shared was overly insightful, nor did I believe the argument that sound. Regardless, I… Continue Reading →

Force of Enthusiasm (Guest Post)

LT Austin Henry Rutkowski studied International Security at Stanford and Oregon State University.  He received his commission as a Naval Officer in 2007 and has served in Afghanistan, the Philippines, Japan and the Persian Gulf.  He is currently stationed at… Continue Reading →

Walking Mentorship

I am continually looking for opportunities to learn from others, put ideas into action, and experiment with things that may not work. One of the many ideas I have explored of late is that of the walking meeting, or in… Continue Reading →

Questions

“It is not the answer that enlightens, but the question.” – Eugene Ionesco Many of us like solving problems, pride ourselves in finding the “right” answers and are quick to share our insights with others. I say “us” because I… Continue Reading →

Risk and Responsibility (Guest Post)

LT Will Spears is an active duty submarine officer. After a brief stint as an enlisted Electrician’s Mate, he attended the Naval Academy where he graduated in 2008 with a BS in Mechanical Engineering. He deployed to the Western Pacific… Continue Reading →

From Chosen by Others to Choosing Ourselves

I sincerely enjoy writing, sharing, and experimenting. In all honesty that is the reason this forum even exists. In 2013, I did all three in this very space. The examples of writing and sharing are both obvious and abundant, while… Continue Reading →

It’s Too Hard

I hear it just about every day, “It’s too hard.” The phrase remains the same, yet the context and sentiment varies. One day it’s my son trying to convince himself that his most recent challenge is insurmountable (e.g. “It’s too… Continue Reading →

When People Impede Progress (Guest Post)

LTjg Kevin J. Schmidt is a Senior Manager of Software Engineering and a thought leader in the cyber and threat analysis space. He drills at NIOC GA in Augusta. Kevin is co-author of Essential SNMP, second edition (O’Reilly and Associates, ISBN:… Continue Reading →

Why an MBA? (Guest Post)

LCDR Adrian Arvizo received his commission as a Cryptologic Officer through Officer Candidate School (OCS) in 2002 via the Baccalaureate Degree Completion Program (BDCP). In 2010 he lateral transferred to Information Professional. He currently serves at the Naval Satellite Operations… Continue Reading →

Loss of Confidence

In the Navy we see it all too often, a Commanding Officer relieved for cause. For those not in the military, that is merely a kind way of saying, “You’re fired!”. Whether it is misconduct, a lack of personal integrity,… Continue Reading →

The Political Principle (Guest Post)

Josh Jordan spent 6 years in the Navy as Cryptologic Technician (Collection).  Following his Navy career, he joined the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center to work as an Information Operations Specialist.  Mr. Jordan received a commission in 2011 and… Continue Reading →

The “M” Word

I am often careful of the words I choose to use and one of the many words that I dislike hearing as much as saying is the word “Mandatory”. In fact, I just call it “The “M” Word”. In the… Continue Reading →

Shipped It

Those who follow this forum or know me personally can attest to the fact that I am a big fan of Seth Godin. In fact, it was his book Linchpin and the coaching of a few of my mentors that… Continue Reading →

Realizing Expectations (Guest Post)

LT Matt Caylor began his Navy career as a nuclear-field Electrician’s Mate.  Following four years of enlisted service, he was accepted to the United States Naval Academy where he graduated in 2004 with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering.  After serving… Continue Reading →

The Middle

I like Oreos as much as the next person, maybe more. Those of us who indulge in such junk food have likely experimented with eating them in various ways. We might dip them in milk, we might smash them before… Continue Reading →

Solution Providers

I have heard it said before that there are two kinds of people in this world…Those who believe there are two kinds of people in this world and those who are smart enough to know better. I fall into the… Continue Reading →

Potential Principle

I recently witnessed one of my mentors promote another to the rank of Admiral. It was a wonderful celebration of the shipmates, family, and friends who helped the individual being promoted contribute in ways that so few have. This new… Continue Reading →

Pirates, Passion, Professionals (Guest Post)

Mario Vulcano is a retired Chief Warrant Officer after 23 years and is currently serving as Course Manager and instructor for the Information Warfare Basic Course (IWBC) at Corry Station in Pensacola Florida.  He has served a total of 10… Continue Reading →

“TED-like” Talk

It was late December of 2012 and I had just finished my list of goals for 2013, or so I thought. The week prior to finalizing my list, a mentor had lent me the book How to Deliver A TED Talk…. Continue Reading →

Letting Things Break

I have always enjoyed being a member of a team. Whether it be my family, a team on the athletic field, a command, or an informal group working toward a common goal, I prefer to be an active contributor to… Continue Reading →

Engage. Connect. Grow.

A recent status update on my LinkedIn account resulted in a nice conversation with a Department of Defense (DoD) civilian on the topic of mentoring, networking, and actively engaging with others. He made mention that in his 20+ years working… Continue Reading →

The Vortex (Guest Post)

LTJG Kelly Ryan commissioned in the Navy in 2010 through Officer Candidate School in Newport, RI after a successful career as an equestrian dressage coach and trainer.  After she commissioned, she underwent training at the Navy and Marine Corps Intelligence… Continue Reading →

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