With Martin G. Moore

Episode #18

What will you do as a leader in 2019? Setting yourself up for success

From there, I’ll cover:

  • Why having a great year is all about setting up better habits – I’ll give you some examples of the habits I practice in my life

  • Why paying attention to what you’re doing, is going to make the difference between reaching your goals, and not

  • Some questions to help you reflect on where you’re going, both long term and short term

  • A technique that I use with senior leaders that is extremely powerful in working out what these goals are (this is the gold of this episode, and you’ll want to spend some time on this before you head back to work!)

  • Why modelling what it looks like to take personal accountability for your growth as a leader is so important

  • How you can hold yourself to account and actually achieve the things you have committed to for 2019

  • The free downloadable for this week is the Five Steps for Setting Yourself up for Success in 2019, which you can download below – I encourage you to download this and spend an hour or two with a pen and paper, working through these questions and getting your plan really clear, so that you can deliver on it throughout the year

I also talk about Leadership Beyond the Theory, our 7-week online leadership program that is kicking off in February. If you know that 2019 is your year to accelerate your leadership skills and become a leader who stands out from the pack, I strongly recommend getting on the waitlist for the program. We’re only taking limited entries for the February cohort, and it won’t open again until July, so head to www.yourceomentor.com/program to work out if it’s a good fit for you.

I am really looking forward to 2019. It’s going to be an incredible year. I’m going to be riding shotgun with you on your journey all the way through. Em and I will continue to release a podcast episode every Wednesday morning, and we’re going to continue to deal with the issues that we think are most going to be able to improve your leadership performance – with some help from your fantastic listener questions of course!

As always, if you’re enjoying this podcast series, please share it with your leadership network, because we want to reach as many leaders as possible, and help them through their leadership journey.

I’d love to know what you though of the tips and strategies that I covered in this episode, and if you’ve got any strategies of your own that you use in the new year to get yourself on track for success! Shoot me an email with your feedback at hello@yourceomentor.com.


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Episode #18 What will you do as a leader in 2019? Setting yourself up for success

As the New Year’s hangover subsides, we need to start thinking about what we’re going to make happen in 2019 – and it is absolutely up to us to make it happen. For ourselves, for our team and for our organisations.

It is about setting up better habits. So, I’m going to ask you to pay attention to what you’re doing, where you’re going – both long term and short term. Then I’ll cover how to hold yourself to account, because not everyone can have a coach riding shotgun every day to make sure you’re doing the things you’ve committed to yourself to do. So let’s get into it.


We all know that New Year’s resolutions don’t actually work. I think one of the reasons for that is that we make them for the wrong reasons. We make them out of guilt or frustration, and because the Christmas cheer has got us bogged down a bit, and we feel like we need to reset ourselves. But when we try and make commitments to things that are long-lasting on January 1st, it’s actually really hard to do, because we’re not doing it with a clear head.

This is how the gym membership model used to be based before flexibility came through competition. Gyms would rely on people to walk in there in those first couple of weeks of January, buy a 12 month membership and then not turn up after January 20th – there was only a very small percentage of those memberships that they actually had to service. Of course, it’s not like that today – but I’ve been guilty in the past of doing exactly that.

Maybe you want to set up some better habits for 2019 with a view to the long term. While we’re not really busy at work, this does give us pause to think about what the right things that we should aspire to are. Now, I’m assuming that you all have some sort of long range plan, and you don’t necessarily need to know exactly where that’s going to take you – I still don’t know exactly where my long range plan is going to take me!

But I can say that at any point in time for the last 15 years, I’ve had a view of the next 5 to 10. Even though I many not have known exactly what I wanted to do, I knew that these things were going to take me towards something better and it was going to actually put me in a position where I was doing the things that I was happiest doing. I’d be growing, I’d be having impact, and I would be challenging myself as I went through. It’s only in the last couple of years that I’ve actually worked out what my true life’s purpose is, and that’s what I’m doing now. But prior to that, I was just moving forward doing the things that I knew were going to help.

When you’re going to set your short term plan you really need to have a view to that long range plan, so that you know whether, or not it’s taking you a step in the right direction or not. Steven Pressfield, the famous author once said, “The difference between an amateur and a professional is in their habits. An amateur has amateur habits. A professional has professional habits.” I know that sounds super obvious, but it’s not. If you look at elite levels of anything, whether it’s business or sport, you’ll see that the people who are at the very, very top are simply more professional. They have better habits and more commitment to what they’re doing.

But bad habits are just so easy to form. I ought to know, I have heaps of them and I have to keep them in check all the time. Good habits, not so much. We’re actually the sum of our habits. For example, I at least have the good habit of a daily reflection discipline, which we spoke about all the way back in the very first episode of the No Bullsh!t Leadership podcast. I’m in the habit of reflecting on what I’ve done, and why I’ve done it, every day. Because I’ve done that for a lot of years, it’s really helped me to understand why I’m doing things, and to actually rectify and change where I think I’m not doing the right things, or I’m slipping into my bad habits again.

I’ve evolved this a little over the last few years – particularly thanks to my high performance coach, Rachel Vickery, who is just a fantastic person – and it has made such a big difference to the way I do things. Each day I keep myself more honest than I have in the past, with a very simple spreadsheet of things that I intend to do that day. Every day is the same, and I need to check these things off and look at it over the course of a month, and see how committed I’ve been to the right habits for me to form.

To form any sort of habit takes you about two to three months, and so if you want to change your habits, you have to commit to doing these things for a period of time, and to keep yourself honest doing it. For me, some things are really, really simple. For example: Did I wake up when I planned to wake up (which every day is 4:45am)? Did I exercise after I woke up? Then, through the day there are different things that I commit to doing.

Every night before I leave my office, I leave that spreadsheet open on my computer, so it is the first thing I see when I go to my desk in the morning. When I do that, it reminds me that those are the disciplines that I’ve committed to myself that I’m going to maintain.

So, what I want you to get out of this little diatribe is pay attention. Start paying attention to what you do and why you do it. If you did nothing else, paying attention would make a massive difference to how you are as a leader, and to how you are as a person. We’re going to go a bit beyond this, but that’s the start: pay attention.

What habits would you set given the chance?

The power of knowing yourself

Let’s assume we all want to improve our leadership performance… Having insight and personal awareness is absolutely critical. Knowing yourself is the first step to being a great leader. So, apart from the daily reflection discipline – and perhaps doing something to keep yourself in check and monitor what you’re doing – there’s also a baseline level of knowledge you need about yourself.

A 360 degree feedback mechanism is sometimes pretty useful to find out what the people around you, your performance, and then how that relates to how you think your performance is. This goes into the behavioural side of things as well.

For the executives that I worked with at CS Energy, I made sure that every single one of them – and myself – did a full suite of testing. This testing included all the standard aptitude testing: verbal, numerical and abstract reasoning. It included critical thinking disciplines. It included an emotional intelligence test, and it also had a personality profile. The holistic view of these things gave us an outstanding baseline for where we were as people, and where we might need to move – what things we might need to develop, and what things we might need to take care to not fall into traps, because some bad habits are driven out of our personalities.

Big shout out to Frances Avenell, who used to run that testing for us. The way she would be able to brief us on these findings was so valuable, I can’t even begin to tell you. Having that knowledge, and being armed with that information, we could really move forward and help ourselves to develop. I’ve never seen a team work harder on its own self development as leaders than I saw this team work.

where are you going?

Any good organisation will set a purpose and a strategy, and they’ll support those things with tactical and operational plans that look at different time frames. Why would you not do this for your personal career and your own direction?

The first step is the work out what you’re trying to head towards. As they say in the classics, “If you don’t know where you’re going, then any path will do.” I also like the old Irish joke about the man that stopped for directions in the countryside of Ireland, and the gentleman he asked said, “If you’re trying to get to Dublin, I certainly wouldn’t start from here,” and that’s really what it’s all about. Know where you are now, know where you’re trying to head, and then you’ll actually work out whether the signposts along the way are taking you in the right direction, or not.

But working out what you want longer term, is not a simple thing to do. And, believe it or not, it’s not an intellectual process. It’s not about sitting down and setting goals. This is about really searching yourself. Whether you do meditation, or something else to clear your head, it’s about getting that visceral feeling inside when something resonates with you as being the direction you want to head – the things you really want to do with your life. I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, but I have to tell you, I’m getting a hell of lot closer in understanding my purpose.

So, being able to do that, and working out what your long range plan is really, really important. There will be a lot of material stuff, but don’t let that distract you. There’s nothing wrong with that, absolutely nothing at all. But, if it was about money and power, then why would we see children who are heirs to fortunes, who have unlimited wealth and power, committing suicide? My view is that it’s clearly about more than that, and it’s fine to have the trophies along the way, but you really have to be looking for something that’s going to give you more as a person.

This stuff doesn’t come naturally, but I encourage you to spend some time each day trying to conjure that feeling, trying to get that resonance of what you’re actually thinking about doing, and whether that resonates with you in your core as your true purpose. And if it doesn’t, keep working at it.

But once you have that overall plan for where you want to go, the question is: what do you do right now? Because here we are, on January 2nd 2019, looking into the new year, and you want to have a cracking year regardless of anything else. So, the first step is to project forward, and imagine what it looks like on December 31st 2019. When you look back, did you achieve the things that tell you that you’ve had your best year ever?

There’s a little technique that I use with senior leaders that I’m going to share with you, and this is extremely powerful. What I say to them is:

“Imagine that in 12 months time, you had to leave this organisation and find another job. You only have 12 months left here, in this role. What are the one or two – maybe three at the most – really big things that you want to have on your resumé when you step into the market in 12 months? What are the things that as achievements, would really set you apart from the field when you’re trying to secure your next role? That focuses people on what you are really doing? Are you just mucking around cranking the handle? Are you just turning over day-to-day business as usual, or are you making a really big difference and adding value?”

That’s going to give some cues as to where you should be.

Leadership Beyond the Theory

I just want to step back for a minute, just to talk about Leadership Beyond The Theory, which is a program we’re going to be releasing in late February. If you never did anything else other than listen to these podcasts, and they really help you to become a better leader, then that’s fantastic! I’m so happy for you and that’s why we’re here, to create that sort of impact.

But for those of you who want to go to the next level, Leadership Beyond The Theory brings all of this stuff together in a way that’s going to help you drive forward, and turbo charge your career. More on this later but for those of you who are interested, I’d encourage you to go over to our website and register your interest, so that you don’t miss out.


How are you now going to hold yourself to account? Once you work out what the one to three big things you wanted to do this year are, you have to find a way of getting yourself into the habits that are going to deliver those.

What we have to remember is that great teams and great organisations are underpinned by a very strong accountability culture, and this starts with you as the leader. So, if you’re a leader who holds herself to account, then your people are going to see that and know that you’re actually working on stuff, going through the habits, trying and failing – but getting better as you move forward and not looking back. And if you’re modelling that sort of behaviour, it’s much more likely that your team’s going to do that as well.

You have to eat your own dog food. I don’t know how many times I’ve said that, but you have to be the exemplar for your organisation. What you’re really trying to do is to model what it looks like to take personal accountability for your growth as a leader. When you do that, some surprising things are going to happen to the people around you.

If you need to get a bit of baseline position for where you are so that you understand where you’re starting from, you don’t necessarily have to go through the gruelling four hours that Frances Avenell administers, that gives you a full suite of tests. But at least get some sort of 360 degree feedback so that you can see the way you’re perceived by other people around you, both in terms of how you perform and how you behave. Get that done, if you haven’t done it already. Awareness is so important.

Once you’ve done that, you’ll get some insights and for those: pay attention. Start to pay attention to what you do. Incorporate that daily reflection discipline, if you haven’t already, so that each day you’re asking yourself the questions about how you’re behaving, and how you’re performing in those areas that you know you’re weak or that you know you need to improve. Beyond that, it’s just a matter of setting up your daily spreadsheet.

So, list the habits that you want to form, and that are going to give you a better chance at success. You want professional habits, not amateur habits.


  • Ep. #25: The Roadmap to Exceptional Leadership Part 1 – Listen Here

  • Ep. #26: The Roadmap to Exceptional Leadership Part 2 – Listen Here

  • Ep. #28: Your Peers Are Really Smart Too – Listen Here

  • Ep. #47: Common Leadership Misconceptions – Listen Here

  • Ep. #70: Crush Your Career in 2020 – Listen Here

  • Ep. #122: Crush Your Career in 2021 – Listen Here

  • Ep. #175: Crush Your Career in 2022 – Listen Here

  • Ep. #186: Your Personal Leadership Audit – Listen Here

  • Ep. #201: Finding Your Purpose – Listen Here

  • Ep. #208: Breaking into the C-Suite – Listen Here

  • Ep. #209: The New Leaders’ Playbook – Listen Here

  • Ep. #212: Your Professional Development Roadmap – Listen Here

  • Ep. #214: Lessons From Leaders Who Grow – Listen Here

  • Explore other podcast episode – Here

  • Take our FREE Level Up Leadership Masterclass – Enrol Now

  • Leadership Beyond the Theory – Learn More


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