CompassUSA is dedicated to helping leaders build great performing organizations, noted for a culture of high character as the foundation for continuing organizational success. CompassUSA provides consulting, mentoring, and facilitating services, plus tools and processes to help build high character in leaders and their teams, helping them to implement corresponding best practices of leadership and management, consequently creating a high performing culture of character.

Tom, since 1999 has been President of CompassUSA, a mentoring practice,Tom Heffner developing character based leaders of organizations helping them focus on building high performance cultures of character. Tom utilizes leadership tools including, UncommonSense©, Performance Management, Benchmarking, Total Quality Management, Strategic Planning, Job Ownership, and “Life Mapping.”

Tom has been mentoring leaders in manufacturing, software development, professional services, medical management, and food retailing. He audits and assesses organizations to define the current culture and recommend changes. He mentors leaders in adopting and establishing an intentional language of character ethics. He mentors leadership teams in their practice of leadership character ethics as a means of leadership development.

To further support and strengthen senior teams, he facilitates and guides leaders in refining and implementing leadership practices that advance a culture of high character and high performance. He targets practices in the broad areas of planning, performance management, and employee development. He focuses on processes and systems that teach and model individual responsibility, accountability, and teamwork.

Tom Heffner holds a B.S. degree in Industrial Management from Purdue University. He has over thirty years in Management, Leadership, Consulting, Sales/Marketing, and Facilitating.

He has held positions including: President, CompassUSA; President, The Magellan Group; COO, American Health Holding; Senior Vice President Franchise Sales, Gosh Enterprises; President, Heffner Consultants; Principle and Senior Vice President Client Services, Management Horizons Division of Price Waterhouse; Branch Sales Manager, Xerox Corporation.

He has additionally been recognized nationally for his work in “Customer Driven Benchmarking” of transportation maintenance activities for state departments of transportation. Mr. Heffner led the development of a software based analytical consultancy and conducted benchmarking projects for commercial clients in banking, food retailing, and in consumer packaged goods marketing.



High performance, agile, cohesive companies/organizations are not created by chance, exceptional talent, or just hard work. The right culture energizes staff to focus on mission, overcome obstacles and grow to meet new challenges. It establishes an environment that positively enables and encourages teams and individuals to excellence, thereby leading to high results. Such a culture attracts and maintains the right staff and certainly extends past the tenure of the current leadership team.

The culture of an organization is determined, first of all, by what leaders expect from themselves and what they expect from others. Secondly, the culture is created and maintained by what leaders do, or do not do, talk about, and do not talk about. In other words, the culture is defined by how leaders relate to everyone else.

Organizations are typically focused upon the competency (knowledge and skill) of leaders and the staff. Yet it is the character of the individual leader that most significantly affects order and trust, the two ingredients that create followers who are free from sub-optimal organizational games and who are dedicated to achieve the organization’s mission and high performance. In our society, the language of character ethics is no longer common; however, clearly defined character ethics resonate with the conscience of most people. They allow individuals to contrast their own or others’ communications and behaviors with true high character and consequently make improvements.

The structure, processes, and systems of leadership and management provide the context for character ethics to be demonstrated within an organization. Together, character and right practices lead to excellence and desired performance. Therefore, to create a high performance culture of character leaders must work both, to advance their own high character and the character of staff members, and to improve the leadership/management processes that provide the context for demonstration of the character of all staff as they strive to achieve results.

Overlooking the Real Issue

Almost all internal business challenges or problems are actually rooted in the character of the people. However, they are almost always treated as competency issues. Customer complaints, inadequate customer service, production delays and errors, technology design errors, development delays, poor training, missed deadlines, even inadequate sales; these are all typically rooted in character, meanwhile, leaders attack such issues targeting competencies … typically with only marginal improvement.

Leaders are themselves trained in functional competencies and have gained experience in “what seems to work” but often lack insight into the dimensions of character and how the character culture of the organization is either a foundation for, at best, mediocrity, or a foundation for continuing success. Many leaders are challenged when trying to create a high character culture, and have no confidence that an individual’s character can change.

The consequence is that they are continually seeking, just the right staff, and too frequently have higher than necessary turnover and/or lack consistent, excellent results. As an owner, CEO, or President, how do you see your role … rooted in a particular function, in setting the direction, tone, and insuring that all are following, or in building the right culture? How is your time allocated? How do you measure your success?

A Leaders Most Important Attribute in 70 Seconds

Contact Tom Heffner