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Dr. Jeremy Sharp Transcripts Leave a Comment

[00:00:00] Hello, everyone. Welcome to The Testing Psychologist podcast, the podcast where we talk all about the business and practice of psychological and neuropsychological assessment. I’m your host, Dr. Jeremy Sharp, licensed psychologist, group practice owner, and private practice coach.

Okay, y’all, I’m glad to be back with you for another business episode. Today’s topic is all about adopting a CEO mindset in your practice. So we’re going to dive deep into things like what is a CEO mindset? What do I even mean when I say that? Why is a CEO mindset important in a practice or a business like ours? How do you learn to employ a CEO mindset? And then I’m going to talk through some concrete examples of CEO mindset behaviors, and how that might show up in your practice.

So stick around. This is an important topic that has been somewhat [00:01:00] transformational for me over the years. So the hope is that you will take a lot away from this and be able to have some actionable steps after the episode.

Now, this is right up the alley of things that we talk about in the Advanced Practice Mastermind. The next cohort of the Advanced Practice Mastermind will be starting in September. So that is just 2 to 3 weeks away. And I would love to have any of you advanced practice owners reach out if you’re interested in this group.

So this is a mastermind group where there will be 5 or 6 psychologists all in the advanced stages of practice supporting one another, holding each other accountable, and really just leveling up their practices together. So, we’ll talk about things like delegating, hiring, streamlining, being more efficient in your work, how to stop trading time for money, [00:02:00] possibly passive income streams or additional income streams. All of these things have come up in the past cohorts of the group. We do have two spots left. I would love it if you reach out for a pre-group call. I have not sent the announcement out to my email list yet, still just advertising here on the podcast. So, I imagine when I start sending those emails here in a week or so, it will fill up quickly, but for now, jump on to thetestingpsychologists.com/advanced and you can schedule a pre-group call there to see if it’s a good fit.

Okay, let’s jump in to this episode and talk all about the CEO Mindset.

[00:03:00] All right, y’all, here we are talking all about a CEO mindset in your testing practice.  Let’s dive right into it. Like I said in the introduction, making this transition from a clinician or a practitioner to thinking more like a business owner, and even more specifically like a CEO, has been transformational in my business growth.

Let me tell you a little bit about what I even mean by CEO mindset. First of all, as I jump into this, I’m even aware of a little self-consciousness. Using the term CEO mindset feels like there’s a bit of imposter syndrome there. I’m certainly not a “CEO.” That’s not my title. And some of you may be experiencing similar things or having similar thoughts as we [00:04:00] jump into it. So, I just want to acknowledge and validate that and give you permission at least for the next 20 minutes to imagine yourself as the CEO of whatever company you’re running. It could be a very small practice. It might even be just you right now. It might be a larger group practice or somewhere in between, but just for the next 20 minutes, I’m giving you permission to envision yourself as the CEO of whatever practice you are running. So hang with me here.

When I think about a CEO mindset, there’s a lot that is entailed in that term. I’m going to keep it pretty simple. Generally speaking, for me, it’s really all about making the shift from simply being a practitioner who happens to be in business to being a business owner who is also a practitioner.

[00:05:00] This is a huge mistake I think that that a lot of us innocently stumble into because there’s very little discussion about being a business owner in Graduate school. And for most of us, at least in my experience, we don’t talk about being a business owner. We don’t talk about how to own a business. There may be some talk of going into private practice. There’s usually very little talk about money and how to make it or manage it or talk about it or think about it. And there is certainly nothing on hiring, managing people, knowing your finances, balancing the books, strategizing, visioning for a business.

So when I say CEO mindset, I just mean making that shift to include in your [00:06:00] professional identity the idea that you are truly a business owner and an architect of your practice. No one else was going to do it. That is on you. So, making that shift from, again, just a practitioner who happens to be in private practice running a business to at least an equal amount of identity as a business owner who is also a practitioner.

You can look around. There are several definitions of CEO mindset, but I’ll just keep it very, very general for now and say, we’re really just talking about the thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors that most CEOs would employ as they run their businesses. So, when you think about a CEO mindset, you think about larger companies, but the mindset I think is very important no matter what size business you’re running.

[00:07:00] Now, why is this important? That is a fantastic question. You might be listening and saying, Jeremy, I don’t really care about what you’re talking about. I’m just running my little practice and it’s going fine. I don’t need to incorporate any of these things. That is totally okay if you are content with your practice plateauing or staying right where it’s at. If you have no inclination to iterate or improve or evolve or really change it in any way, that might be just fine.

So if that is the place that you’re in, my hope is that that that means your content and things are going exactly as you would like them to. So, you may not need to employ a CEO mindset. [00:08:00] However, I would guess that if you’ve gotten to the place where you’re completely content and feel like your practice doesn’t need to change, you’ve already done some of these things that I’m going to talk about or you wouldn’t have gotten there.

So, why is it important?  If you are one of those individuals who value growth in any form or fashion, it may not be hiring or having a larger practice, but just growing or evolving or iterating, any of those things, then a CEO mindset can be very important. Otherwise, if you are not employing some of these strategies and behaviors, it’s my belief that your practice will either stagnate or plateau or even start to fail.

There are plenty of statistics out there about many businesses will fail within the [00:09:00] first 1 to 3 years, most will fail within 5 years, and I think the number even climbs to like 70% after 10 years in terms of how many private businesses will fail in that time.

I’m not trying to be a doomsday advocate or anything like that, but I just want to highlight how important it can be to really think of yourself as a business owner. And again, that architect role, and your practice as a business that you have to tend and nurture and work on for it to not just stay the same but to grow and to not fail.

So the other things that I found in my experience were, when I did not think of myself again, as the director of this business, [00:10:00] I was much more burned out. I mean, I was completely burned out. I’m not sure if there are levels to burn out, but I was pretty burned out because if you’re in that role, you’re often trying to do everything for everyone, taking care of all the tasks in your business, you’re doing all of the visionings if you’re doing any at all, everything lives in your mind. Nobody knows what that information is or what to do with it. And you’re likely spending your time on activities that don’t fall in your primary skillset.

So, when you do everything, the likelihood that you’re actually doing what you’re good at and what you love is very low. So, you’re essentially wasting time likely spending time on things that you maybe don’t get paid for. So [00:11:00] there are a lot of advantages to adopting more of a CEO mindset where you really start to think, what am I best at? Where’s my passion. How do I spend my time doing that? And how do I structure my practice so that other people are taking care of the remaining activities in a way that helps the practice continue to evolve?

So, again, it’s important just because you want to keep your practice moving forward, you don’t want it to stagnate, you definitely don’t want it to fail and you don’t want to end up like a crazy person who ends up going out of private practice because you’re so burned out.

Hopefully, by this time you might be thinking, okay, this sounds great. I want to do this and I’m not sure how, and that’s totally okay. Again, this is a foreign concept.

I want to talk [00:12:00] through a few ways of learning how to employ a CEO mindset. The thing that I would absolutely recommend that you prioritize and find a way to do is to get some coaching from someone else who has made that leap. Now, this could be someone within our industry, another private practice owner, it could be someone outside of our industry.

There are plenty of business coaches out there who can help you do this. There are business coaches who specialize in stay-at-home moms who are trying to run their business from home. Now, I don’t know how many practitioners are going to be stay-at-home moms as well, but you get the idea. There are folks who specialize in like high-achieving moms or single [00:13:00] parents or trying to get your business to seven figures or businesses with owners of color. There are all kinds of business coaches out there. So, finding the person who fits best for you is super important.

In my experience, I’ve had great coaches here within our industry who know the mental health side of things as well as coaches and mastermind group experiences outside of our industry. Some of the most valuable advice I’ve gotten has come from folks who are not in the mental health world.

So that’s the first strategy is seriously consider some coaching to have someone who can walk you through these strategies and really hold you accountable. I think that’s a big component of any coaching that you might pursue.

[00:14:00] Now, another idea is to really dive in and start to read and consume information on this topic. So again, there are so many books out there that address leadership and visioning, and delegation. There there are so many out there. I’ve listed a few of my favorites in the show notes, ones that I personally read that I’ve really enjoyed.

Just to throw a few out there, I loved Dare to Lead by Brené Brown. I loved a book called Radical Candor which is all about your leadership style and how you communicate with your employees. For those who may not even have employees, I love the book Insight by Tasha Eurich about self-awareness and the science of self-awareness and how we are really bad at even judging how self-aware we [00:15:00] are. The Best Place to Work was a good one. Rocket Fuel was a great one talking about the roles in a business, how there is typically you need someone who’s a visionary and then someone who is an implementer. Those two don’t often occur in the same person, at least they don’t occur well or effectively. And let’s see what else. Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink was great.

So all of these will be in the show notes for those of you who want to get into books. I like to read these books on my Kindle so that I can take notes and highlight them on the Kindle and then export those to a document where I can organize them and go back to them so I don’t forget. That’s my main thing. I’m not one of those individuals who can [00:16:00] remember everything they read or listen to. So, I have to take notes really explicitly. So reading books, a great place to start and continue.

Another piece related to that is consuming other content. So, podcasts, there are plenty of podcasts out there on leadership and business development, YouTube videos, Ted talks. There’s a ton of content out there. We live in a time when there is absolutely no lack of content. So, I would highly encourage you to go outside our industry a little bit and consume some content from folks who know this stuff better than a lot of our practice owners do.

Another component is practice. When I say practice, I mean, take this information that you might learn through coaching or reading or listening and actually put [00:17:00] it into play in your business. We’re going to talk about some concrete examples of behaviors you might engage in. But this idea of practice is super important. You can’t just consume content without actually trying it out.

The way that we do this in our practice or that I do this is by consulting with my admin team. I have an assistant director, we’re creating a training director role and then my billing specialists and admin specialist. We have regular meetings. I’m constantly seeking feedback from them and trying to put these ideas in place as we continue to grow.

Now, if you don’t have a team like that, that’s totally fine. You can seek feedback from [00:18:00] your family, your partner, even close friends, of course. You can seek feedback from a coach if you’re working with a coach, but you have to put the rubber to the road at some point and start to learn what that’s like and learn what works and what doesn’t work.

So let’s talk about some actual behaviors that exemplify a CEO mindset and how we might put these things into play.

The first one that I run across and doing some research for this podcast is that CEOs often have the quality of… Jocko Willink wrote a book called Extreme Ownership, and that really cuts across the information that I found on common CEO [00:19:00] traits. So taking personal responsibility for everything. This means everything in your practice.

In my mind, if something is going wrong in our practice, my reflexive action is to look at myself and say, where have I not communicated clearly? How have I not trained this person effectively? How did I create this gap in our services? So, turning the mirror back on yourself and immediately thinking, how can I improve this and what did I do to create this situation in the first place. So that could be an unhappy client. It could be an inefficient process. It could be a lack of referrals. It could be anything, but as the business owner, you’re the one that shoulders that burden.

Another characteristic or behavior that you can put into place is [00:20:00] actually setting aside time to do this deep work or this visioning that is necessary for your practice. There are stories upon stories of CEOs who frankly are not at the office as much as their employees because they have it really dialed it in and they know exactly what they should be doing at the office when they’re there. And more importantly, they are taking time away from the office to engage in self-care, which we’ll talk about, but also to do the visioning work and the deep work that’s really necessary to keep moving the practice forward.

I talked about this in my episode on planning a retreat and the importance of retreats, which I’ll link to in the show notes. But that is one characteristic that CEOs often employ is they are creating the time to do this deep work that they need to [00:21:00] do.

Another behavior that I think it’s particularly important in our practices is not to be afraid of measurement and particularly numbers in our practice. So a good CEO owner is going to be tracking the appropriate variables and measuring the key factors in your practice. A few examples of that would be, your referral sources. So, tracking where your referrals are coming from and whether they convert. If you’re an insurance-based practice, that means keeping track of your insurance rates and what percentage of your practice each of the panels occupies. Keeping track of the average time you’re spending on evaluations and the amount you’re getting reimbursed for each, tracking the cost per evaluation [00:22:00] to you- how much does it actually cost you to conduct an evaluation? So, that gets into expenses and overhead. And then of course, how much of your billing you’re actually collecting. So, keeping track of which insurance companies are paying and which bills are outstanding and things like that.

So these are just a few numbers and a few metrics that you might want to track. The general theme here is that you are not afraid to track and measure. There’s a saying out there that I’m going to paraphrase and totally butcher, of course, but it’s something along the lines of, what doesn’t get measured gets ignored. And I think that’s absolutely true. So, not being afraid to measure and really have a close relationship with [00:23:00] numbers and metrics in your practice.

If you do have that relationship, you can see the behavior that follows is that you can then use those numbers to predict growth, when to hire, when to fire, profit, of course, financial planning, there are all sorts of visioning and planning that can come from knowing your numbers really well.

Another behavior is making sure that you’re really zeroed in on your zone of ideal activity. I really liked the way that Michael Hyatt lays this out in his book, Free to Focus, which I will link to as well. He breaks it into four quadrants. There are basically the tasks that you [00:24:00] don’t like to do and you are not good at, there are the tasks that you love to do and you’re really good at, and then there are the two areas where we mix those qualities. So tasks that you don’t like to do but you happen to be really good at them or tasks that you really like to do but you’re not very good at them.

So, the idea is that you are spending as much time as possible doing the tasks that you love and you are really good at. Again, if you want to walk through a concrete exercise to figure that out, his book Free to Focus has that exercise. And it was very helpful for me realizing that… I think for a lot of us, it’s really easy for me too to do a lot of things because of the illusion that I should be doing them. I’m pretty good at most tasks, [00:25:00] but I don’t like doing all those tasks and I’m definitely not the most efficient at doing some of those tasks.

It was really eye-opening to just take a week or two and literally list out all of the tasks that I’m doing on a spreadsheet and then categorize them according to these four quadrants. And it was kind of amazing how few fit in that quadrant of things I’m passionate about and things that I’m good at that benefit the practice.

So general theme, zeroing in and only doing what you’re supposed to be doing and what you like to do.

Another quality or behavior that cuts across CEOs is having this mix of a humble, yet driven leadership style. So being able to employ this growth mindset like, always wanting to be better, being optimistic, seeing the best in things, seeing [00:26:00] things as problems to solve instead of catastrophic events, and catastrophizing each of those things I think comes into the personality of a CEO, but pairing those things with being humble. I think it was in Good to Great by Jim Collins, he talks about the relationship between the number of times a CEO will refer to their business or their staff as we versus I and how that’s strongly correlated with the success of the business. So that I think really plays into the humility that I’m talking about here.

Okay. Now the last couple of things here are I think easier to really put into play. So one is just taking care [00:27:00] of yourself. So self-care is a huge component. Again, when I was doing research for this episode, just realizing that the majority of CEOs are relentless about self-care. So that means eating well, sleeping well, exercising, meditating, consistent morning routines, taking time away, all of those components that are necessary to really bring your best self to your work.

Related to that, relentlessly pursuing self-awareness is hugely important for a CEO. So knowing yourself is only going to help you in this process. And this is an ongoing journey, of course. I feel like I have a long way to go with self-awareness. My wife would probably agree with that and my employees would probably agree with that. But just having that relentless pursuit of self-awareness again, [00:28:00] through therapy, coaching, reading, reflection, meditation, all those pieces. Seeking feedback from others who are close to you, that can all be helpful.

And then finally, a trait or behavior that goes along with the CEO mindset is looking to the future. Again, if you don’t plan to hire or grow your business, that’s totally fine. But having that habit of always looking at least one year out. Have this be a constant evolving process where you are checking in, where will I be in a year? Where will this practice be in a year? You can try to push it to three years. Anything beyond that I think is just hallucination, to be honest because we have so little control over it what’s going on and what’s going to happen this year is an excellent example of [00:29:00] that. So thinking one year out, what is this going to look like? And then it’s relatively easy to map it back to where you’re currently at and what might need to happen over the course of the year to get there and just constantly re-evaluating.

I said in my episode about retreats that I take retreats twice a year. And those are really times where I’m… it’s like a rolling re-evaluation. I’m always looking ahead. So what’s going to happen in the next year. So that’s happening about twice a year for me.

Okay. So, a quick and dirty episode on CEO mindset. What it is, what it looks like, how to get it, and how to put it into play. This is not meant to be comprehensive by any means. There are, like I said, tons of resources out there on developing a CEO mindset, but the hope is that you take away [00:30:00] a few concrete items that you can work on or books that you can check out and start to move in this direction just to keep your practice moving ahead and really save your own sanity.

Now, if any of this rang true for you and you would like to take a really firm step in moving toward a CEO mindset, I would, again, invite you to check out the Advanced Practice Mastermind group for testing psychologists that’s going to start in about 3 or 4 weeks. So this is a group for those practice owners who’ve made it past the beginning stage, got the basics in place, the practice is running smoothly, but now you’re thinking, what next? Or what do I need to make better? What can be more efficient or how do I hire that person? All those questions are appropriate for the advanced practice group. You can go to thetestingpsychologists.com/advanced [00:31:00] and book a pre-group call to see if it’s a good fit for you.

All right. Thank you as always for listening. If you have not subscribed and or told a friend about this podcast, I would love for you to do either one of those and continue to spread the reach of the show. So everybody, take care. l will talk to you next time.

The information contained in this podcast and on The Testing Psychologists website are intended for informational and educational purposes only. Nothing in this podcast or on the website is intended to be a substitute for professional, psychological, [00:32:00] psychiatric, or medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please note that no doctor-patient relationship is formed here, and similarly, no supervisory or consultative relationship is formed between the host or guests of this podcast and listeners of this podcast. If you need the qualified advice of any mental health practitioner or medical provider, please seek one in your area. Similarly, if you need supervision on clinical matters, please find a supervisor with expertise that fits your needs.

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