Sean Heritage

Connecting The Dots



Leaders as Connectors

As a leader, I have lived on the creative end of the military spectrum and my most recent (and last) tour in the Navy positioned me on the more disciplined end of the creative spectrum. I have long subscribed to… Continue Reading →

Eat Your Broccoli First

I am certain that I have not been doing it my entire life, but I have eaten this way for as long as I can remember. First I assess the plate of food in front of me. Next, I express… Continue Reading →

Letting Go

Over the years, I have observed many people transition from military service. I did so with great interest because I knew, like everyone else who is called to serve, I would eventually be facing the same challenges. I learned enough by watching… Continue Reading →

Just Being There

I like to win as much as the next guy. To this day, my competitive juices get flowing as I turn most things I do into a game. How fast can I unload the dishwasher? Can I get my son… Continue Reading →

Personal Values

As a reflection tool and in preparation for my upcoming career change, I have been giving deliberate thought to my personal values. Values are the foundation of who we are as human beings and, whether we acknowledge them or not,… Continue Reading →

Far From Alone

Changing careers is one of the most daunting missions I have undertaken in many years. I am excited and nervous. I am confident and hesitant. I am many things, but alone is not one of them. Since focusing my attention… Continue Reading →

Sharing Time

Being a military family means living a nomadic life. Because of the fact that I left home for the Navy just three weeks after high school, the nomadic lifestyle has been all I have known as an adult. The life… Continue Reading →

Experiencing Memories

It’s fun to reminisce with family and friends about shared experiences. At the same time, I find it extremely enjoyable to listen to people tell stories of events past, reliving memories, sharing laughs, and catching up on what has happened… Continue Reading →

Journeys and Adventures

We use the words Journey and Adventure quite often when we talk about life. Some people use them as synonyms but they aren’t. A Journey is an act of traveling from one place to another. An Adventure is an unusual and exciting… Continue Reading →

Choices and Decisions

I enjoy eating at In-N-Out Burger. The service is efficient, the food is high quality, and the menu is simple. When I eat there, it’s not difficult for me to choose what I want to eat – it’s usually a… Continue Reading →

Interim Leadership

It’s that day. It’s the end of my tenure as the Interim Leader of the team to which I am currently assigned. It’s been 201 days and for the first time in my career, I am more than good with… Continue Reading →

Intent to Scratch

I remember the first time my son participated in a swim meet that had preliminaries and finals. It was his first year swimming and the meet was held at the US Naval Academy. During preliminaries he tied for second alternate… Continue Reading →

Parting Clouds

It is often said that we don’t appreciate what we have until it’s gone. I am certain that we have all personally experienced that feeling at one point or another in our life. I know that I have on more… Continue Reading →

It’s Not an Act

Very few things in life go according to the script we wrote. Sometimes a reality that deviates from a plan is extremely disappointing and sometimes lady luck presents a reality that is far more amazing than any plan we could have… Continue Reading →

Enjoyment Enablers

Enjoyment is the state of process of taking pleasure in something. It is also defined as the action of possessing and benefitting from something. Of late, I am increasingly reminded that some people in this world are very focused on and… Continue Reading →

Outside the SCIF

There are many things I am enjoying about my new assignment and among them is the opportunity to live life outside the SCIF. I have spent almost all of my 25 years of naval service working in a Sensitive Compartmented… Continue Reading →

Shaping Memories

It’s that time again. Time for the family to pack up our bags, bid farewell to local friends and teammates, and embrace the nomadic life we live. I am not complaining one bit. Moving every 2-3 years continues to provide… Continue Reading →

Responsible Friction

The health of an organization can often time be measured by the friction within. Friction is defined as (a) the rubbing of one body against another, (b) the force that resists relative motion between two bodies in contact, and (c) the clashing… Continue Reading →

Unfinished By Design

There are few things in life that are as satisfying as finishing something that you started. In my life, the two feats I am most proud of finishing were graduating the US Naval Academy and completing Ironman Austria. I don’t… Continue Reading →

Jumping to Solutions

I am confident that this is not the first time you have read this quote from Albert Einstein: “If I were given one hour to save the planet, I would spend 59 minutes defining the problem and one minute resolving… Continue Reading →

Doing the Opposite

The order of things: the way that life and the world currently are. I have been giving a great deal of thought to the order of things of late. No, that’s not true. I have been giving a great deal… Continue Reading →

Good for Your Career?

Don’t get me wrong, I am “all in” on simultaneously writing the current chapter of my life, as well as contribute to the current chapter of the Navy Cyber Defense Operations Command story. And as the storyline begins to set… Continue Reading →

Just a Job

Note: Those who read this blog regularly know how much I believe passion for our work is a requirement and that if we aren’t fulfilled by our job, we are being unfair to ourselves and our teammates. This is an… Continue Reading →

Reflection: Because, With, & Despite

Reflection is a powerful thing and something I make time for each and every day. Reflection is an activity that ensures we take the time to acknowledge our progress, think deeply about what we continue to learn though life, and… Continue Reading →

Effects: Placebos and Tinkerbell

I don’t know if it makes me weak-minded or strong-minded, but I believe in the power of placebos. Whether it was my Mom kissing my boo boo, the coach telling me to rub some dirt on it, the magic pill… Continue Reading →

Sliding Doors

I thoroughly enjoy making decisions. That might sound egotistical and give the appearance that I am someone consumed with power. To be clear, it’s not so much the act of decision making that excites me, it is the progress enabled… Continue Reading →

Converging Paths: Doing and Being

Two weeks ago I had the privilege of being a member of a board that was charged with selecting our next crop of Commanding Officers. Just being among the team of 17 board members executing that important charter was an… Continue Reading →

Ahead of the Curve

Life as a leader serving in the military is many things and it most definitely is a life of continual change. Truth is that it is this continual change that makes it so enjoyable. The opportunities we create change, the… Continue Reading →

Divide and Partner

Like many, I most certainly enjoy being entertained. My wife finds it funny that one of the quickest ways to grab my attention and inspire a genuine laugh is to show me a video with talking animals. Works every time…simple… Continue Reading →

Sponsoring Opportunities to Lead

Leadership is not a position or title, it is action, choice, and example. Our behaviors may in fact result in leadership opportunity down the road, and while we have complete control over our behavior, opportunity is almost always in the hands of… Continue Reading →

Explaining Inaction

Hello, my name is Sean and I am a Progress-aholic… I am addicted to progress. I am not interested in being busy, but I have an insatiable desire to see forward movement. Properly applied, this addiction can inspire others to… Continue Reading →

Got Game?

“Gamers are hermits.” “Gamers do not effectively navigate reality.” “Gaming is a complete waste of time.” I grew up playing video games, but by today’s standards I am far from a gamer. Admittedly, I have thought the three aforementioned statements… Continue Reading →

History of Originality

Serendipity is one of my favorite words. I don’t use it often, but I enjoy the way it rolls off my tongue. As much as I enjoy saying it, the stories that accompany its use are even better. After all,… Continue Reading →


I thoroughly enjoy being on teams. I grew up playing team sports, and an emphasis on teamwork was a constant in my home throughout and beyond my childhood. At the same time, I am a proud introvert. I enjoy and… Continue Reading →

Don’t Just Change. Evolve!

One of the primary differences between managers and leaders is that managers are asked primarily to maintain the status quo, and leaders are charged with inspiring others to adapt to an ever-changing environment. It is often said that we manage things/processes… Continue Reading →

Unicorns and Fairies

I enjoy many things about being in the Navy. I enjoy the mission, the people, and the opportunity to lead. During the course of my career, I can’t tell you how many times I have been told that my approach… Continue Reading →

Visibly Absent

I have long worked in an environment where presence is vital to meaningful contribution and the number of hours we put in is used as a metric of performance (e.g., if Johnny is here 18 hours a day, he must be vital… Continue Reading →

Capable Decision Makers

Last week, my son told me that in his estimation every day is the same. Each day consists of the same activities within the house and every time he steps outside of the house, he does so to execute a… Continue Reading →

Engagement and Connection

I am writing this on my 73rd day as part of the Navy Cyber Defense Operations Command Team. Each day has been great in its own way. In addition to gaining a solid understanding of the mission, I continue to… Continue Reading →

At Risk of Living

Risk is a part of life. We take risks each and every day. Some risks are calculated, some are deliberate, and some are unintentional. I was watching a documentary on people who love to skydive. They know what they are… Continue Reading →

Chiefs, Officers, and the “White Hat”

Last week, I had the privilege of being the guest speaker at the Chiefs Pinning Ceremony, where we celebrated what will likely serve as the most significant career milestone for 10 leaders from four Commands – Information Dominance Forces Command,… Continue Reading →

Here’s To the Enablers…

Last weekend I ran the Virginia Beach Rock & Roll 1/2 Marathon. I woke up at 0430 and drove with my son to the designated parking area. We got on one of the 85 buses lined up to transport us… Continue Reading →

Falling Short Differently

Last month, I observed a toddler who was attempting to walk. He struggled, yet persisted. He toddled to the right, he wobbled to the left, and he spent more time on his behind than on his feet. Each attempt resulted… Continue Reading →

I’ll Miss You

The military life is not for everyone. It’s nomadic. It’s filled with separation from loved ones. It requires sacrifice by all involved. That is the case for many professions, but these characteristics are shared by all who wear the uniform (and… Continue Reading →

What Would Erik Do?

In three days, many will celebrate my brother Erik’s birthday. Though he passed away on October 21, 2013, he is far from forgotten in the minds of many. My family still receives many cherished notes from his friends and colleagues,… Continue Reading →

Better as a Memory

Last week during what was a wonderful visit from my parents, we enjoyed many adventures – Smithsonian, house hunting for our pending move, and general exploration which often included eating. Near the end of their stay we went out to… Continue Reading →

The Satisfaction Bar

Last weekend was yet another one spent at the swimming pool. I must admit I enjoy weekends like that. My wife and I get to spend time talking with each other and the many other great people supporting those in… Continue Reading →

Who Are You?

I have been a long believer that what we do as a profession and who we are as a person are two separate and distinct things. Sure we can make assumptions about who someone is based upon their chosen profession… Continue Reading →

How Do You Feel?

I feel great! It’s been another wonderful week and I don’t know that I could be more content. I can’t tell you the specifics of everything I did, but I most certainly know how each experience made me feel. Don’t… Continue Reading →

Behind the Scenes

Each of us has a primary duty, a main effort, and a set of responsibilities. Many times we are not the only person executing tasks associated with each, but often times we are. The tasks we execute in support of… Continue Reading →

Incremental Yesses

There are a few words used in today’s work-world that just make me cringe. Five years ago, the default combination of effective and efficient began to really bother me. Our quest for efficiency continues to undermine our effectiveness, as many… Continue Reading →


My current job affords me the opportunity to travel to distant lands, experience new things, and meet lots of interesting people. In fact, last month I had the privilege of bouncing around the west coast, Alaska, Hawaii, and a few stops… Continue Reading →

Finding vs Looking

Earlier this week on my way to work, I found myself singing along with one of my favorite U2 songs.  “I Still Haven’t Found What I am Looking For” starts out as follows: I have climbed highest mountainsI have run… Continue Reading →

Give Yourself Credit

I know many people who are eager to take credit for the contributions they make and I tend to seek out people who are quick to give others credit for the contributions they make. What I don’t see all that often is… Continue Reading →

Just Passing Through

I like to think that there is a reason behind everything we do.  It is true that sometimes I try harder than I should to identify the reason, and sometimes we aren’t able to see the reason until long after the… Continue Reading →


Over Memorial Day Weekend, we went on a rather spontaneous trip to Niagara Falls and a few other places.  It was so spontaneous that I did not bring my passport and therefore, could not go across the border to visit… Continue Reading →


Just as many have inspired me, I continue to encourage others to take permission to do the things they want to in life. To pick themselves instead of waiting for others to select them. Despite my belief in that approach to life,… Continue Reading →

Profiling Normal

Having recently taken a computer network security course, the idea of anomaly detection is fresh in my mind. Security professionals, whether it be in the physical or virtual world are hyper-aware of suspicious behavior. Suspicious behavior by definition is abnormal… Continue Reading →

Means of Communication

Like many others, I look around me for inspiration. Fortunately, with the company I keep, the books I read, and the environment in which I live, I don’t have to look too hard. One of the forums I frequent offered… Continue Reading →

Push and Pull

As leaders, we are charged with inspiring the team with whom we lead to create value, accomplish the mission, and continually improve as both individuals and a team. Many of us attempt to do that by pulling the team along…. Continue Reading →


Early this month I had the pleasure of sharing lunch with a prized friend and mentor. We talked of many things including family, our individual efforts focused on inspiring others, the future of our ongoing personal experiments, updates on some… Continue Reading →


As the year draws to an end, I find myself once again immersed in the annual season of reflection and goal setting. Over the years, I’ve shared plenty of thoughts about my troubled relationship with resolutions many of us make, yet have… Continue Reading →

Leaders and Doers

I recently had the privilege of hosting a mentorship session for a few dozen junior officers here in Maryland. We talked about many things ranging from their specific questions to my books, to different philosophies shared across the group. It… Continue Reading →

Big E’s Big Four

On October 21st, my younger (and only) brother Erik (“Big E”) passed away. The circumstances behind his passing are not important to share, but the way he lived most certainly is.  Over the past few weeks, the memories we shared… Continue Reading →

Swatting at Gnats

In any organization, there are main lines of operations and there are distractions. Sometimes the distractions come in the form of “good ideas” thrust upon the team by seniors. Sometimes the distractions come in the form of sub-par performers. And… Continue Reading →

Opportunities To Fail

It might sound odd, but I will go ahead and admit that I sometimes enjoy watching others struggle, and the highest highs I continue to enjoy in life are experienced on the back end of a personal struggle. I will… Continue Reading →

Creating Firsts

One of the many cool things about being a parent is watching your child experience things for the first time. Odds are most of us went above and beyond to document our child’s first steps, first words, first day of… Continue Reading →

Prepositional Leaders

A senior officer who had recently been made aware of relevant discussion threads and bulletin boards filled with colorful conversation regarding our profession asked me if I thought a visible online presence was worthy of his time. As you might… Continue Reading →

HOW Leaders

Being both a student and practitioner of leadership, I keep my head on a swivel to identify leaders from whom I can learn, peers with whom I want to partner, and juniors who show great promise. I also am on the lookout… Continue Reading →

Are People Truly Our Greatest Assets?

We hear it all the time, “People are our greatest assets.” I used to believe it, but over the years I have grown to believe that claim is both false and misguided. The disconnect between words and actions from various… 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 →

Intoxication is Contagious

Last week I received a note from a junior officer asking me to explain the significance of the piece of art included on my business card. To me, art is just about anything that changes our emotion. This particular piece… Continue Reading →

Change of Command Remarks

It may not have come out exactly as written, but here were my remarks for OUR Change of Command Ceremony conducted at the National Naval Aviation Museum.  On 16 August 2012, Commander Pat Count became the 11th Commanding Officer of 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 →

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 →

Because We Can

There are some things we as human beings can’t do, many that we won’t do, and even more that we don’t do. Rather than focus on those lists, I like to concentrate on what we can do, should do, and want… 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 →

The Coalition of the Doing

In a recent post, I made mention of the fact that I have a list of people that I refer to as “The Coalition of the Doing”.  It evidently struck a chord with at least a few of you who sent… Continue Reading →

Bunting For Singles

I played my fair share of baseball as a child, but I am not a big fan. Each spring, as many of my friends get excited about spring training, I am left scratching my head. That said, I have a… Continue Reading →

It’s The Network, Stupid

I just finished watching “The Social Network” for the second time. I don’t know how much of it is true, but what an amazing story! Makes me think of many things. The first time I watched it, the main takeaway… Continue Reading →

Well-Rounded Mediocrity

As a father, I am interested in doing my part to help my son find his path. As a Navy leader, I take great pride in mentoring others toward realizing their potential. Clearly, there are many similarities between the two… Continue Reading →

Quitters and Winners

“Winners never quit and quitters never win.” -Coach Lombardi Coach Lombardi’s quote about quitters is one that has stuck with me since my childhood. My parents made it clear to us that the merits of seeing things through to the… Continue Reading →

Creating Experiences, Accumulating Memories

The last couple of weeks have been filled with phenomenal experiences that leave me with wonderful memories. In fact, I might go so far as to say that the memories that remain are far better than the experiences themselves. That… 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 →

Biographies – WHO not WHAT

For those of us serving in or directly affiliated with the military, the summer months are filled with retirement and change of command ceremonies. At each, we receive a nice program that includes the schedule of events, some background on… Continue Reading →

Turning The Tables

Just as with any holiday season, I have made the time for thoughtful reflection as I both appreciate the past and consider the future. This year is a little different in that as much as I am enjoying every day… Continue Reading →

Change of Command

I haven’t made the time to post for almost a month now, as I have instead been making the time for other things. Of all the wonderful things I have enjoyed over the past month, by far the most significant… Continue Reading →

Courage to Question Your Convictions

We all know that to have the courage of your convictions means to hold strong to your personal beliefs despite what others are thinking, saying, or doing. There are countless examples of heroism displayed by people having the courage of… Continue Reading →

Employee or Crusader?

It is unfortunate that today’s economy is preventing so many good people from enjoying employment in a traditional sense (i.e. they have a job for which they are compensated monetarily). Even more unfortunate are the individuals who are compensated for… Continue Reading →

Curling: Sweepers, Sweepers Man Your Brooms

A few nights after the Olympics commenced, I stumbled across a broadcast of the curling competition and decided to put the metaphor to the test. My first thought was to not only see how curling might relate to parenting but… Continue Reading →

“Wasting Time” for the Good of the Team

I became a reluctant member of the FaceBook revolution in the early summer of 2008 with the sole intent of using it as a tool to plan our 20th High School Reunion. I had every intention of deleting my account… Continue Reading →

Waterpark, Educational Development and A Wake-up Call

It was snowing just about everywhere this week of our visit to Ohio. I know because I watched the weather channel a bit and I could see the snow pile up outside of our hotel. Yes, we had the good… Continue Reading →

Uniforms…Earned not Purchased

Throughout my youth athletic career and up through college, I thoroughly enjoyed wearing the uniform of the sports team to which I was a member. In fact, uniform issue day was one of my favorite days of the season, as… 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 →


Over the last month, I have spent much time evaluating where I am and where I would like to ultimately go in my professional life. Though the self-evaluation initially focused on the WHAT I want to do with the remainder… Continue Reading →

There is no Status Quo!

It’s the New Year and for many with it comes the annual tradition of establishing New Year’s Resolutions. Being that I am a chronic list maker and goal setter, one might think that I am a fan of resolutions. The… Continue Reading →

Why? I Say Why Not?

As more people stumble across this forum, I am increasingly asked “Why are you doing this?” I am not one to self-promote and though I do not lobby for the spotlight, I am not necessarily one to hide from it…. Continue Reading →

Salaries, Value and Welfare

There are many types of employees, but for the sake of argument let’s bin all of us into three categories…hourly, salaried and commission. Without question, those of us who fall into the hourly employee category recognize that in the most… Continue Reading →

Walking the Walk…

As a college football fan and a Notre Dame supporter (I remain a sucker for tradition), today is a sad day. It is a sad day because a college football program that once stood for so much has become just… Continue Reading →

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