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All right y’all. Welcome back to another episode here. This is a business episode, and this is the second episode in my EOS journey series. If you didn’t catch the first one, I would definitely go back and listen to that. These episodes are going to build on one another sequentially.
In the last episode, I talked about the foundations of EOS and why we are embarking on this journey for our practice. Today, I’m going to take it a little further and talk about the next steps in the EOS which were the onboarding meeting or the sales pitch basically, and the Focus Day. So today, I’m really talking about launching with EOS and getting going with the process.
Before I get to the episode, I of course want to invite any practice owners out there who would like some group coaching and accountability to check out the testing psychologist mastermind groups at thetestingpsychologist.com/consulting. You can sign up [00:02:00] for a pre-group call and see if it’s a good fit.
All right, let’s talk about EOS.
All right. Y’all let’s dig in here. Again, if you didn’t listen to the first episode on EOS, I would definitely go back and check that out because I lay a lot of the groundwork about the model and what it includes.
EOS- Entrepreneurial Operating System is a business framework that is meant to guide you in running your business. We have started to implement EOS in our practice and this is near real-time documentation of that process. Today, I’m talking about the first two steps that we took to onboard with EOS.
Right off the bat, the first thing that happens is that you get into their sales funnel, of course. I’m trying to think. I went to the EOS website and signed up for an initial consultation. So this is a 15-minute call with an EOS representative that is just meant to gauge whether you’re a good fit for EOS. This is a pretty brief phone call. I’m curious whether anyone has actually screened out. I’m guessing it happens at some point, but for most small businesses with less than 250 employees, it’s really pitched as a good system.
So, that was a 15-minute phone call. And from there, I was connected with a local implementer. An EOS implementer is a facilitator. It’s the person who helps you implement EOS in your business. So after that first 15-minute phone [00:04:00] call, I was connected with a local implementer and I spoke with that person on the phone. His name is Jake. I will talk about Jake a lot over these episodes.
I talked with Jake for a few minutes and he talked to me about how the first real step in EOS is a complimentary 90-minute meeting which is basically an orientation to the framework for your business. And he used these words too, it is essentially a sales pitch. It’s a complimentary sales pitch where they come in and give you a bunch of information about EOS, orient you to the model, talk with your leadership team about the model, and basically just try to try to sell it. I’ll talk about that more in just a moment.
I ran into my first hiccup with dos during this initial phone call with Jake before we had done any meetings. And that hiccup was, he said, bring your leadership team to this meeting. For me, I knew right away that I didn’t really have a leadership team. I have an assistant director, I have an office lead/ an office manager, but beyond that, we had folks who had been in informal positions who were playing pretty important roles in the practice, but we did not have a formal “leadership team.”
I certainly, at that point, wasn’t sharing any, say financial information with anyone else on the team or vision for the business, or anything like that, profit and loss, budgeting, hiring and firing. There was a lot that I was still holding in my mind. Now granted, you all know I’ve been working to delegate over the years, I had done that relatively well up [00:06:00] until our last stage of growth. But this is where a formal leadership team I think would be very helpful. But when Jake asked who my leadership team was, I didn’t really know.
So I had a conversation with him about, well, who do I even start to pick as the leadership team? And he just suggested thinking about folks who could be a good fit for the leadership team, folks who were playing important roles in the practice, or who I thought had the potential to be leaders in the practice.
This was a very hard process. I will say that right off the bat. A very hard process because I have a number of people on my team or in our practice, which is relatively large at this point, that could be leaders. And I had a very, very hard time even picking folks to be potential leaders because I have so many folks who are frankly just awesome in our practice. So that was one thing I had to really wrestle with right off the bat. Jake suggested no more than seven people and I had a very hard time even getting it down to that number. Eventually, I did do that and was able to make peace with that.
Other things though to consider as we were preparing for this complimentary 90-minute meeting were, I had to get over the fear, I guess, or trust issues and share more detailed business information. I’ve never really done that before. I know some practices have different models, but at least for us, I had not shared a lot of financial information or visioning or anything like that.
The other piece was I had to temper my own excitement around EOS and let the team come to their own decision about getting on board with it.[00:08:00] I’d read Traction and a number of other resources. I had talked to other practice owners who have used the EOS. And so, I was pretty excited about the process and had the really dial that back and recognize that my team needed to come to this on their own. I couldn’t necessarily sell them on.
So we did this 90-minute meeting. And during that meeting again, it was just an introduction to the framework, the key concepts, and what working in the EOS model would look like. Very practically, Jake did a little section on how to run a more effective meeting. So we did walk away with a concrete strategy or tool, which I thought was helpful. And he also answered a lot of questions.
For folks who had not heard anything about EOS, which was all of my team, to be honest, there were a number of concerns. I would guess that these will be pretty consistent with other practices. So I’ll share some of those. This is just some of the feedback that my team had immediately after that meeting.
The biggest one was that it would be “too corporate” It was too business-y. It was too numbers-driven. It was too data-driven. It would depersonalize our employees. Other concerns were that, if we move to a framework like this, it would not be personalized to our practice. It would be a one-size-fits-all business model that was not applicable to mental health practices. There was some concern that we would lose our cohesiveness and our culture and that we would end up measuring people instead of measuring data, that sort of thing.
So there were a [00:10:00] few things that helped with that. One big one was consulting with another mental health practice that was using EOS. My leadership team and their leadership team got together and we had a meeting, we got to ask a lot of questions and I think my folks walked away from that feeling a lot more confident that this could work in a mental health practice.
Another part was having the team mess around on the EOS website and just get more information about it, but there was certainly a selling process. At the end of the process though, I think folks were basically just desperate to have some change in our practice. And we got to the point where someone asked, well, if it’s not this, then what is it? I thought that was a fantastic question. And that was really something that helped move us forward.
So after that 90-minute meeting, we committed then to participating in what’s called the Focus Day. The Focus Day is really the first in-depth experience with EOS. This is the kickoff. This is the big investment of time and energy up front to get the model going.
So the Focus Day is an eight-hour leadership team retreat, or in my case, a retreat for leadership team candidates. And the primary goals for this are to, as the EOS model says, gain traction. So this included building out our accountability chart, which is EOS speak for your organizational chart. So, identifying the positions that you need in the practice and getting people into those positions.
We had to identify our rocks, which are as EOS speaks for [00:12:00] 90-day priorities. So we identified the most important things that we are going to work on over the next three months. We dove deep into how to run meetings efficiently and successfully. And we developed what’s called a scorecard, which is a list of 10 to 15 metrics or data points that we are going to measure every single week that would give us a snapshot of the practice. And if we glance at that scorecard, it would tell us exactly how the practice was doing in just a few seconds.
So, the intent of the retreat, we were supposed to be “off-grid.” There were no phones, no computers. We had lunch delivered. We were working hard all day. We started at 9 am and we ended at 5:30 pm. We worked all day.
So as far as the emotions going into this, my team I think was excited and a little nervous. I was also excited and quite nervous. I did not sleep well the night before. Just being honest. I was really interested to see how things would shake out with our leadership team.
My biggest concern was how our accountability chart would look because again, I had an assistant director I had for years who is great and we had other kinds of informal positions. We did have an office manager. I knew that we needed other positions. I just wasn’t sure what those would look like. And I was also not sure, Jake made it pretty clear before starting, that I needed to communicate with the attendees that not everyone would likely make it onto the leadership team. And so, I was also very curious who would be put into those positions.
So we spent, I would say the majority of [00:14:00] the day working on this accountability chart, and this is how we did that. We started with the idea of positions and not people. So we got people off the board entirely, and we just brainstormed all of the major roles that need to happen in a practice. Now, most businesses have some form of marketing, sales, operations, and finance.
So that’s the very basic framework that we started with. And then from there, we crafted roles, responsibilities, and tasks that actually fit our practice. So marketing is pretty simple. That’s getting leads. How do you get people to call you? Sales for a practice like ours is more like the intake or scheduling process. So how do you actually book people into appointments and get the commitment to pay for or engage in your services? Operations is the clinical work. Finance is the backend. So collections, office management, inventory, things like that.
So, we identified the positions we needed. We did a lot of brainstorming. Our practice is relatively complex. We have therapists, we have psychologists, we have testing, we have counseling, and we have a lot of training both on master’s, doctoral and undergrad sides. So we had to sort through all of that, but eventually, we came to the place where we got to five leadership seats. We have a marketing team. We have a client care team. We have a senior staff or clinical lead. We have a training lead. And then we have a back-office [00:16:00] lead.
On top of those, EOS advises that you have an integrator and sometimes a visionary that sit on top of those positions. The integrator is typically traditional, what you might think of as like a COO or chief operating officer. Basically, someone that helps all the other departments talk to one another and make sure they’re getting things done. They’re staying on track. Integrator often handles financial stuff, profit and loss, and big picture finances.
And then the visionary is not always present in a business. In our case, we did arrive at a visionary and I was put into the visionary role. This is the individual who really thinks about big picture planning, culture, community partnerships, vision and growth for the practice, and things like that. So, this was quite a process and I would love to walk you through what that process looked like.
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All right, let’s get back to the podcast.
So as I said, this process started with identifying the right positions. Once we had the positions defined, then we started the whole process of selecting the right people. So this was where things got super interesting. We took each position intern.
For example, we started with the marketing lead, and knowing what that position entailed, it was an open nomination. So we could nominate anyone in the room or not in the room for that position. So we got a list of nominees and then we went through each nominee and we rated them as a group in three areas. The three areas are: gets it, wants it, and has the capacity for it. So GWC: gets it, wants it, capacity. The idea behind these is that you have to have the right person in the right seat. And these three elements are pretty key in figuring that out.
So gets it is the skill component. Do they have the skills to do it? Is it a natural talent? Are they made for this position? Wants it is, well, do they want it? Do they actually want to do the job? Has the capacity for it is, do they have the training, the capability, the time, the desire, [00:20:00] that sort of thing. I think of gets it as nature. Is this naturally in their skillset? Wants it is straightforward. And then capacity is more like nurture. So have they learned the skills that are necessary and do they have the time for it.
So we went through and we voted as a leadership team on each of the nominees for each of the positions. It was either a yes or no gets it, wants it, has the capacity for it. Yes, yes, yes, yes, no, yes. You get the idea. And it was very illuminating. It sounds dry and overly simple. And there was some discussion. We had to discuss a little bit about, oh, does this person really want it? Does this person really have the capacity for it? Some of that discussion was happening amongst ourselves about people in the room who could potentially be on the leadership team and we are questioning one another, like, do you really want this? Do you actually have the capacity for this, that sort of thing?
So this is probably one of the hardest parts of the day. It was tense at times, and it was hard being the practice owner, wanting everyone to be happy, and, of course, I had preconceived notions about who should be in which seats and just kind of forcing myself to be honest and go through the process and really question like, does this person get it, want it and have the capacity for it?
So this was one of the toughest, but best parts of the day. We ended up with five leadership seats. Not everyone got a leadership position. In our case, that turned out okay because the folks that were not on the leadership team didn’t actually want to be there. [00:22:00] They are going to have other roles in our practice, but a very helpful part of the process was having someone else facilitate this whole process.
I think I said in the first episode on EOS, it was like we pulled everything out of the house, all the tasks in our practice, put them on the driveway, reorganized them, threw some way, created some new ones, and then figured out where to put them back in the house. And we picked the people that fit in those seats. It was nice to have that outsourced. I have a lot of experience in group facilitation. I trust my team and we have great relationships and this would have been a very difficult process to facilitate as an internal person.
For me as the practice owner, it was so meaningful to go through this process for a number of reasons. One was, just so validating to see all of the tasks that have been required to keep our practice running. It was extremely validating to hear my team vote me into the visionary role. I didn’t necessarily see myself as a visionary, but it was pretty clear from talking with them that that’s how they saw me. That was so meaningful. And it was also just incredibly relieving as the owner to be able to let go and really start to trust that I now have this well-defined leadership team composed of the folks who genuinely want to do it and truly have the capacity for it.
I am not a person who trusts others easily. I think a lot of business owners can probably relate to that that it’s hard to let go [00:24:00] of certain tasks. Going through this process was actually very moving. I do not get to the point of tears much in my work life or much of my life in general, but this was close. Just to go through that process and, and to be able to see the board laid out and see that I could let go a little bit and not have to hold all the plates. So, this is an incredible process.
We continued the day… As intense as that sounds, that was just two hours in the day, 2 or 3 hours. And then we moved on to brainstorming our burning issues that needed to be solved in the next 90 days. So these are our rocks. This was so illuminating to me to hear my team’s thoughts because they definitely did not match my own. I came in with an idea of what we going to do. And so I certainly had some ideas on the rocks and the most important factors to focus on, and my team had many other thoughts, which were super interesting.
So we had some discussion around, okay, which of these are truly burning issues that we really have to solve, which are things that we can drop down and focus on later. And again, this is a facilitated discussion and it was super helpful to have that happen.
So we walked away with four company Rocks and then each of us had to define individual Rocks. So individual tasks that we were going to be responsible for over the next 90 days. Very clear. I don’t know if this happens in your practice, but in our practice, we would often talk about things that need to get done, but we had a hard time prioritizing and then hard time delegating and hard time following up. So this process cut through all of those problems and it was awesome.[00:26:00] The next piece we did was identifying metrics to track in our practice. You may have heard that phrase, what’s measured gets managed or what’s measured is what matters or something like that. And the whole idea is that you pick specific metrics that you want to focus on to really gauge the health of your practice basically real-time. So if you were to look at these numbers, you would have a really good idea of what’s happening in your practice.
Again, we brainstormed which metrics we would like to focus on, and which things are most important to help us get a snapshot of the practice. In other language, these things are called KPIs- key performance indicators. There are different terms, but it was basically the numbers that you need to pay attention to.
For us, these are things like number of incoming phone calls, the conversion rate for phone calls, and monthly revenue to date. Let’s see what were some other ones. We have about 10 of them. Oh, the number of clients who bounce after three sessions or less, percentage of openings among clinicians, number of notes that are more than a week old, things like that. Important metrics in your practice.
Again, super interesting and relieving to know that I wouldn’t have to monitor all these things myself, which I had been doing for the past, well forever. So other people are responsible for some of these numbers. We put these onto a scorecard and we check that scorecard every week during our leadership team meeting.
So at the end of the day, we learned or [00:28:00] reviewed how to lead a leadership meeting. We identified a meeting facilitator. Again, another point of relief that I was not that person. One of our staff is the meeting facilitator. There’s a very clear structure.
We do a 90-minute meeting with the leadership team every week. Same time. It starts on time, ends on time, and the structure is exactly the same. We spend a few minutes on check-in, spend a few minutes on our to-do list, spend a few minutes on reviewing our Rocks and our scorecard, and then we spend the bulk of the meeting identifying, discussing, and solving issues. And as we move to solve issues, that creates to-do list items, which we check in on the next time. It’s really cool.
We’ve had a few of these now at this point because I’m lagging here two weeks as I’m doing the podcast and it’s revolutionary. One of our staff yesterday said, these are the best meetings I’ve ever been to. I think she said that they were completely dope. That was actually the phrasing if that tells you anything. So, it’s been great.
So this was the Focus Day. It was eight hours. We walked away super tired and exhausted, but also excited, hopeful and optimistic.
A little more of a peek into this EOS process. I’m hoping that some of y’all are intrigued. And again, there’s no like affiliate relationship. There’s no commercial. This is just an experiment on my part to document this process as we go through it in real-time in our practice.
There are some resources in the show notes as far as EOS resources, books, and a podcast episode I did with my brother-in-law whose software business implemented EOS 5 or 6 years ago. We talk about values and getting the right people in the right seast. [00:30:00] The next episode, I’m going to be talking about implementing these first steps- really getting into the meetings and gaining some traction in our business.
As I said at the beginning, if you’re a practice owner and you would like some group accountability and group coaching, I am facilitating three tiers of mastermind groups; beginner, intermediate, and advanced. They are all enrolling for the next cohort. I’d love to chat with you. If you’re interested in that, you can go to thetestingpsychologist.com/consulting and book a pre-group call.
All right y’all. I will be with you next time. Take care.
The information contained in this podcast and on The Testing Psychologist website is intended for informational and educational purposes only. Nothing in this podcast or on the website is intended to be a substitute for professional, psychological, 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.