Sean Heritage

Connecting The Dots

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Long-Term Stewardship

It’s no secret that we live in a world where immediate gratification is a growing priority. We want to see results now. Whether it is wins on the athletic field, profitability on our bottom line, or the delivery of our… 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 →

(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 →

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 →

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 →

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 →

The Meaningful Threshold

During my first week in command, I hosted a Command Quarters where I had the opportunity to celebrate some of the talent across the team by awarding various forms of recognition. And because it was my first time in front… 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 →

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 →

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 busses lined up to transport us… 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 →

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 →

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 →

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 →

Newport to Remember

It happened again, the Navy sent me to Newport, Rhode Island. They’ve been doing that every 3-5 years since I was commissioned. Those of you who have visited Newport will likely agree that it is an absolutely beautiful place. But when… 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 →

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 →

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… 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 →

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 →

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 →

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 →

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 →

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 →

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 →

What Will You Command?

Even at the earliest stages in our career, Naval Officers are taught that we should aspire to Command. Joint Pub 1-02 defines Command as… The authority that a Commander in the Military Service lawfully exercises over subordinates by virtue of rank or… Continue Reading →

For the Last Time…

I love flipping the script on others and I thoroughly enjoy it when others do the same for me. Those of you who follow this blog have noticed that I am experimenting with a “Question of the Day” each weekday…. 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 →

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 →

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 →

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 →

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 →

Familiarity

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 →

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 →

THINKers

Having recently had an opportunity to engage with some esteemed academic leaders, I must admit that I am simultaneously envious and grateful. Envious of their opportunity to be a professional THINKer and grateful for the things about which I am… 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 have 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 →

Opportunities Realized

I know that I am far from alone in my sincere belief that life is one giant opportunity.  Whether we care to admit it or not, we all miss more opportunities than we realize…it’s just math.  The key is to minimize the… 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 having many more of them. We refer to those moments as “Aha Moments.” I seem to be having quite… 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 →

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 →

Declaration of Interdependence

We recently celebrated our Nation’s independence last week on the 4th of July. It was a glorious celebration that should remind even the unpatriotic of how fortunate we are to enjoy the freedoms that we do. I took the opportunity to… 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 specific talent that will fill a… Continue Reading →

Going Home

Two weeks ago I had the pleasure of going back to my home town, 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… Continue Reading →

Just Passing Through

I like to think that there is 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 activity…. Continue Reading →

Scaffolding

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 →

Picked

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 →

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 →

Loyalty Down

Loyalty is amongst the most valued characteristics between friends, family, teammates, and co-workers. In fact, I submit that a relationship is virtually meaningless without it. Each of us wants to know that we can count on others when we need… Continue Reading →

Midlife Certainty

The term “midlife crisis” became part of our vocabulary in the mid-1960s as a means of describing a time in life where adults begin to truly realize that we are mortal and that our life may be more than halfway… 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 →

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… 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 →

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 just that by pulling the team… Continue Reading →

Boundaries

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 →

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 →

Promises

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 →

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 →

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 →

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 →

Genuine Conversations

The basis for this post is an e-mail I sent to the team with whom I currently lead. Until recently, we have not made team-building a deliberate focus; we have not made standard enforcement a priority; we have not allowed… 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 Linked-In 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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