With Martin G. Moore

Episode #17

The Best Episodes of 2018 as chosen by Marty and Em

This week, we’re going to point out the five episodes that we think you should either listen to for the first time, or if you’ve heard them before, go back and review. Hopefully, if you’re in Australia, you’re lying around the pool relaxing! If you’re in the US or the UK, you’ll hopefully be sitting around a fire with a cracking Shiraz. Either way, take some time out over the next few days and review these episodes so that you can ready yourself and reset for the new year.

Em and I will talk through the key points of each episode, and why we think they take the cake! The episodes we cover are:

I hope you get a chance to go through some of these over the holiday break. They’ll hold you in really good stead for the new year. If you want to download the free resources attached to each of these episodes, just go to the episode page (eg. episode #3’s page is www.yourceomentor.com/episode3) or click the links above.

We want to say a big thank you to everyone who’s listened and supported us this year, we absolutely love making this podcast. Our purpose is to improve the quality of leaders globally and this podcast is just one step in making that happen.

If you liked any of these episodes, the best Christmas gift you can give us is rating, reviewing and subscribing to the podcast – and sharing them with a leader who you think would benefit from them! You might completely change someone’s career.

What was YOUR favourite episode of 2018? We’d love to hear from you, so shoot us an email at hello@yourceomentor.com.

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Episode #17 The Best Episodes of 2018 as chosen by Marty and Em


Since it’s Boxing Day, and we’re probably all still full of Turkey and Christmas pudding, we’re going to do something just a little bit different. Emma and I are going to talk through our favorite episodes so far.

We’ve released 16 episodes in 2018 and we think there’s some incredible content there. So, we’re going to point out the five best episodes that we think you should either listen to for the first time, or if you’ve heard them before, go back and review.

Em, since I’ve given the introduction, why don’t you kick off and start talking about your favorite episode?


Sounds good! My first pick is Episode3: Excellence Over Perfection. One of the things that I love most about doing this podcast with you is that I learn as I go. I’m constantly having epiphanies around the way I behaved in the past, or the way I’ve seen bosses or colleagues behave in the past. I’ll start with why I think this episode really is must listen:

It not only gives you permission to drop perfectionist behavior, but it covers why it’s counterproductive to be a perfectionist. I think wrapping your head around this is really important in moving forward in not being a perfectionist or engendering a perfectionist culture.

I really liked the way that you talked through some of the excuses that we make, so as not to deliver “imperfect work”. I definitely related to quite a few, especially things like saying to my boss, “I’m making sure it’s perfect,” instead of “I’m afraid that this won’t be good enough.” It’s kind of turning a negative into a positive. I’d often use perfectionism as a way to hide a fear of failure, which I now know wasn’t healthy for me or for my team.

The final thing I’ll say on this is that it made me realise how damaging perfectionism can be to team morale and team outputs. Being a perfectionist and working in that perfectionist culture, kind of reiterates that nothing’s actually ever going to be good enough – and psychologically this is pretty damaging.

It also messes with the accountability model, which causes a whole host of other issues. Getting a handle on this and living with an excellence over perfection outlook is going to make a huge difference to your team morale as well as work quality and speed.

I also love the Six Strategies to Engender a Culture of Excellence Over Perfection resource because it really reinforces this point. There are so many good ones in there and I’ve definitely gone back over the last few months and just scanned that sheet every now and then to remind me of why I need to not be a perfectionist and just really strive for excellence.


That’s a really good pick. I really enjoyed making that episode because I think the excellence over perfection culture is just so critical in keeping your organization moving. When I was Chief Executive of CS Energy, this was an absolute mantra because everything that happened in the organization was simply too slow – and of course, my immense frustration came through, as it did with my executive team. Getting your organization moving is like unblocking your arteries. It’s awesome to see things move a lot faster than they otherwise would.

At the time my top pick was released, I posted on LinkedIn to say that this was probably the most important bit of content that I was going to release in 2018. That’s Episode #6: The Psychology of Feedback: Stop Avoiding Leadership Work.

I opened up the podcast series with Respect Before Popularity and that’s all about getting over the need to be liked and putting that ahead of the work that you have to do as a leader. But I think The Psychology of Feedback is a really practical way of looking at how to overcome the fear of stepping into difficult conversations. As a first time leader, having those conversations is 90 percent will and 10 percent skill. You’re not going to be good at it out of the blocks – no one is.

And no one could have been more terrible than I was when I first started with these conversations. Fortunately, I’m a little bit dysfunctional and I decided that if I was going to be a leader, I needed to get good at it. So I did more and more and more of it. It’s just like learning how to ski in powder snow: you’ve just got to do enough of it that it starts to feel comfortable.

But what Episode #6 does – which is really important – is unlock the psychology of feedback and actually give you the reasons and the rationale that’s going to push you to overcome your fear, discomfort, and misgivings to actually step in and hold those conversations. Making that positive step and moving into a conversation like that and holding it is the most important thing. The skill will come over time.

For the last many years, I have not had any hesitation – no matter how hard the conversation is, no matter how difficult the circumstances – to walk straight into it and be engaged, empathetic and compassionate, and say the things I need to say.

This is a real key. If you can actually work this out, the earlier in your career, the better. This is going to free you up for everything else that you do because everything involves a hard conversation. If you start with the feedback with your team, it’s really going to take you somewhere.


I loved that episode too, but my second favorite podcast for this year is definitely Episode #7: Working At The Right Level. This one’s a bit funny because when I first heard you using the term “working at level”, I actually had no idea what you were talking about. Then when you started to explain all the symptoms of people working at the wrong level, it made so much sense:

  • Micromanaging

  • Dipping down

  • Doing work below your pay grade

  • Working excessive hours to get work done

Really, just failing to move from technical expert to leader… It became so clear to me that so many people around me suffer from this. It really was one of my biggest epiphany moments.

Just wrapping my head around the fact that the higher up you go, the more you lose your original career identity gave me a real understanding of why – even when people get promoted – it can be really challenging and confronting, especially for those whose identity and worth is wrapped up in their professional expertise.

This episode hits the mark for me because it addresses the transition from a technical expert to a novice leader, which I really don’t think it’s spoken about enough. I’ve actually had a lot of friends and past colleagues call me and say, “Wow, now I understand why my boss micromanages me. They just haven’t transitioned to the next level properly.” Or they’ve said, “Sh!t! I’ve been working at the wrong level for years and it’s obviously why I’ve been overlooked for promotions.” So it’s a pretty big issue that is often overlooked.

We’ve also had quite a few people write in and say how helpful the Five Point Plan for Transitioning to the Next Level resource has been for them.


I’m a big fan of Episode #7 as well because working at the wrong level is what kills many, many careers.

Now, the final two episodes that I think are really important are tied together. The first one is Episode #2: Building A High Performing Team. This is really all about doing what you need to do to put together the best team you possibly can.

In Episode #12: The War For Talent, we talk about how to attract the best people to your organization so you’ve got the best pool to choose from. But Episode #2 is really about taking the difficult steps to make sure that your team excels and you can’t do that unless you have the best individuals you can possibly get.

I think most people in leadership roles look at their team and say, “It is what it is. I’ve got what I’ve got,” and then try and push people to do things they don’t necessarily want to do.

Just remember, it’s a hell of a lot easier to reign in a stallion than it is to flog a donkey. You’ll have some in your team who are good people, but they’re just not going to cut it. And as a leader, you need to set the tone, the pace and the standard for your people and your organization. So this is all about what you need to do to set up your team for success in terms of building the right capability.

I’ll reference Jim Collins, the author of Good To Great, who talks about getting the right people on the bus, and the wrong people off. That’s a critical step before you work out what your strategy is or where you’re going. I’ve talked to a lot of leaders who, late in their career, their one big regret is they didn’t move quickly enough to move on the people who simply were never going to cut it. They gave them too much time, too much latitude, and the result suffered because of that.

So, if you want a high performing team, you need to do that work. If you don’t want to do that work, that’s okay, but don’t kid yourself you’ve got a high performing team – because you’re not going to have it. That’s why Episode #2 is so important – because the higher up you go, the less impact you have individually, and the more you rely on your team for results. So that had better be a pretty decent team.


I totally agree, and going back to the episode that I just spoke about, your whole team needs to be working at the right level for them to be able to work together successfully. So all of these episodes kind of help one another.


They absolutely do, Em. I couldn’t agree more. Now, a fun episode for me is Episode #8: Happy Workers Are Productive Workers a.k.a ‘What really drives your people?’

One of the basic things here is that there’s a whole lot of “conventional wisdom” around leadership. This is stuff that gets pushed out and we all accept it. You have to be looking for ways to challenge that conventional wisdom, and a great book to read if you get the chance is The Halo Effect by Phil Rosenzweig. He critically examines the research methods that underpin books like Good To Great and In Search Of Excellence, which are iconic books, there’s no doubt about it. But Rosenzweig talks about the flaws in their methodology and why it’s not necessarily supported by the empirical evidence that would have us believe.

Always keep questioning because research of late tells us that happy workers are productive workers, but it’s not necessarily the case. In Episode #8, I go through a bunch of examples where you can see why happy workers are sometimes just happy workers.

If you want your workers to be happy and productive, then these people have to have impact. And to enable them to have impact, you have to stretch them, and you have to challenge, coach and confront all of the individuals in your team to give them the ability to be their best. If you don’t have those skills, they simply won’t get there.

This ties back into Episode #2 because first, you’ve got to get the best people who are going to take to being challenged, confronted and coached. And then, you’ve got to bring out the best in them. This is really important.

One of the best listener comments I’ve had all year was from Steen Bisgaard. He actually took this episode, and he likened it to his experience in the military, and he spoke about the morale of a soldier. He said, “Soldiers with high morale are not happy. They are confident, secure, and enabled to perform. They’re not well-fed, rested and kept out of harm’s way.” I think that summarizes it really nicely.


So, that brings us to the end of this episode. I hope you get a chance to go through some of these episodes over the holiday break. They’ll put you in really good stead for the new year.



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