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Hey everyone. I am back here today with episode 3 in the EOS Journey Series. Just as a reminder, this is a series that I’m doing where I’m trying to document in near real-time our journey through implementing the Entrepreneurial Operating System.
If you haven’t listened to the first two episodes, I think those are pretty crucial to understanding the process and will provide a lot of background that is helpful. So go back and check those out if you haven’t already. If you have, well, welcome back for episode 3. Today, I’m talking about gaining traction as we try to implement some of the tools that we learned on our Focus Day.
Before I get to the conversation, if you are a practice owner or a soon-to-be practice owner and you’d like some support in building your practice, I am enrolling folks for all levels of my mastermind groups right now; beginner, intermediate, and advanced. It’s group coaching and accountability. Really powerful. I love seeing these groups run and see people join with one another, hold each other accountable and reach their goals. If that sounds interesting, you can schedule a pre-group call at thetestingpsychologist.com/consulting.[00:02:11] Okay, y’all, welcome back. Today, I’m diving into the implementation of the EOS model. The name of this episode is Gaining Traction. It’s not a coincidence. The book Traction is one of the more well-known books in the EOS library, and Traction is one of the first things that we work on here on the EOS model.
The rationale behind that is that you have to know how to get things done in your business before you can set long-term goals and truly work toward that vision. A lot of people want to start with the vision- that’s great, but I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase vision without execution is hallucination, and the EOS model really follows that. So the rationale here is that we work on how to gain traction, how to actually do good work, run efficient meetings and set appropriate goals before we do any long-term visioning.
Today I’m talking about what it’s like to implement some of these traction tools. You might recall from the last episode that we had finished our Focus Day which included building an accountability chart, which was defined by positions and not people, identifying our Rocks which are quarterly or 90-day priorities for the business, and learning to run an efficient meeting.
So, how did all of that play out? I’m guessing some of you have been in team-building exercises or leadership retreats or something like that where everybody’s fired up when it’s actually happening, but [00:04:00] when you leave and have to implement it in real life, it doesn’t quite go according to plan.
This is how it played out for us. First and foremost, it made me recognize that having a great integrator is a key part of this process. Now, if you don’t remember from the last episode, the integrator is the person in your business who is in charge of basically holding all the departments together, keeping other folks accountable, making sure they’re getting their things done, and helping departments talk to one another.
In a traditional business, the integrator role is something like a COO or Chief Operating Officer. In our case, our integrator was amazing. She took fantastic detailed notes. She put together a digital accountability chart and a digital template for our L-10 leadership meetings. Having all of those things in play when we went to implement the EOS tools was absolutely crucial. If she hadn’t been so organized, there’s no way that we would have been as successful as we were.
So making the right choice for an integrator is so important. This individual needs to be a detail-oriented, fair, direct communicator, and able to balance many things. If you want to dig into a little bit more around what makes a good integrator and how the integrator and the visionary work together, the book Rocket Fuel really helps to understand those roles. So that’s the first thing. Without our integrator, I have to say that we would have had a really hard time implementing these strategies.
One thing that we did during our Focus Day is that we settled on a regular L10 meeting day and time during that retreat. Our first one [00:06:00] didn’t come up actually until about 10 days after our Focus Day because we just happened to have spring break and everybody was out of town.
So first and foremost, the big tenant of the meeting is that everyone gets to the meeting on time. Well, guess what? I was late for the first meeting and then I was late again for the second one. And we’re not talking like late, late, I mean, like 30 seconds, maybe a minute in one case, and I totally got called out. And so this was already a big shift in the dynamic.
I’m going to be honest. It stung a little bit to have my staff say, “Hey, you were late to this important meeting. What’s going on?” I’m not used to really anybody holding me accountable for better or for worse. We got over that. It was okay. And I really appreciated and respected them for doing that. Long story short, I have not been late since then. So big tenant, get to the meeting on time, starts on time, ends on time, and we enforced that appropriately.
Aside from that, everybody was excited and I think kind of nervous to see how the L10 meeting would go because we were all again, anticipating having a more efficient meeting. Just as a review, the L10 meeting agenda is something that is really important. It holds the whole thing together.
Here’s a little overview of the L10 meeting agenda. It’s an hour and a half. No more, no less. The first five minutes is called a Segue. So we check in with each other. We each get one minute to talk about personal and professional bests or updates. Then we spend [00:08:00] five minutes going over our Scorecard. And again, the scorecard is the 10 to 15 metrics or numbers that we’re tracking from week to week to know how healthy the business is. So we spend five minutes just going over the scorecard, literally just reading the numbers and checking in. If anything comes up that we need to talk about, we drop that issue down to the IDS section, which is identify, discuss, and solve. I’ll talk more about that in a minute.
Then we spend five minutes reading off our Rocks. We have to read the rocks, every single meeting exactly how they are written verbatim. The idea here is that nobody is able to avoid or shirk their responsibility or forget about the Rocks. And it keeps us focused, keeps us on target. And again, if we’re not on target with those Rocks, it drops to the IDS section.
Then we spend five minutes on employee headlines or practice headlines. So this could be like someone getting hired, someone getting fired, any big changes. For instance, we are in the process of, or I’m in the process of buying a building for our practice. So providing updates on that. So that’s another five minutes. Then we check in on our to-do list from the previous week. If it’s done, it gets crossed off. If it’s not, we either keep it as a to-do or drop it to the ideas.
And that’s that. So that’s the first 25 minutes. This goes by very quickly. We’re all just checking in, providing an overview, and a quick summary of what we’re working on. The theme here is that if there are any issues that come up, there’s no discussion during the first 25 minutes, if anything needs to be discussed, we just drop it to the IDS section, which is identify, discuss, and solve.
So this is the bulk of the meeting. This [00:10:00] takes 60 minutes, and this is where we prioritize our issues. We try to identify the root cause of the issues. We discuss or propose solutions, and then we solve. So we spent 60 minutes doing that and then we do a five-minute conclusion where we go back over the to-do list to make sure everybody’s clear on what their assignments are. We talk about what is called cascading messages- what needs to be shared with the rest of the staff. And we rate ourselves on how we did during this meeting. So, as you can see, it’s very structured, which I love.
As far as the way that it worked out for us, again, this is where picking the right person makes a huge difference. You might remember from our Focus Day that we chose a facilitator for this meeting. And again, she was fantastic. She kept us on track throughout all the sections, which is super important. You’ve likely been in meetings where the discussion takes over and there are no decisions made. So we were definitely stuck in this pattern and pretty much all of our meetings across the practice. And that started to shift here because the facilitator was tasked with keeping us on track for discussion and solving so that we don’t just spin out and discuss forever.
I will say though, of all the pieces, this was probably the hardest. It was hard to identify our issues. Actually, I take that back. It wasn’t hard to identify the issues to talk about. We had a lot of them. It was hard to prioritize the issues. We later learned the keep, kill, combine strategy where you either keep the issue, take it off the list or combine multiple issues into the same one [00:12:00] to pair down the list. But for the first two meetings, we just voted on which ones we thought were more important and that worked okay.
We still spent some time discussing each issue, but with the expectation of getting to a solution. We just pushed forward until we had something finalized and then that creates to-dos for the next week. So the solution basically equals to-do items.
The interesting thing here is that philosophy. I’ve read about it in Jeff Bezos’s, it’s not a biography, it’s an unauthorized biography, but the idea that happens at Amazon of basically, once you have a consenting majority, you move forward. So it doesn’t have to be perfect. Everyone doesn’t have to agree, but you do find a solution that everyone is okay trying and it’s progress over perfection. That was, I think, liberating for us, that we can change things in the future, but this is really like, Hey, we’re being agile. We are going to try some solutions and see how they work and then we’ll adapt if we need to.
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All right, let’s get back to the podcast.
General reflections. Having a clear sense of what to do is a complete game-changer that makes intuitive sense [00:14:00] but has been hard to put into practice. I am always pretty clear on what I need to do, but I recognize that I was not communicating that very well to other people. We would have things pop up, and they would work on them, but we didn’t really have a good sense of a timeline or goals or true priorities. So that’s the cool thing about this. It’s really like a trickle-down effect.
We all work together to identify these quarterly priorities or rocks, and then those drive the major to-do items. And so when we get shiny object syndrome and want to do other things, we just look back and say, are these the rocks we identified? And if the answer’s no, then they dropped to the do later list. So it really helped us keep our eyes on the prize.
We have had other issues that rose to important so we put those on the issues list, but we’re also pretty discriminating when it comes to what we’re working on. So again, we got permission to drop some of these issues down to the list for the next quarter so we could really focus on what matters right now. And this clarity was truly remarkable. Maybe you’ve experienced that where you have a lot of great ideas, but it’s hard to know where to start, hard to get your team on board, hard to compete hard to communicate what’s most important, and this process truly clarified that whole dilemma.
Another cool thing is that the L10 agenda is shared so you can see when people complete their to-dos. At this point, I just have my L10 agenda up all the time and I can see in real-time as people are completing their goals and it is very energizing, it puts social pressure on people including myself to complete the goals and get my stuff done because people can see and [00:16:00] that keeps you accountable.
Some of the downsides or issues to work through: One is people putting more time into leadership roles means figuring out how to balance that with clinical work. Everyone on the leadership team is really excited to be there and we jumped into this pretty quickly. It’s not like their caseload’s dropped just because they took on this leadership role. We didn’t really plan it that way. And so, now I’m in the process of figuring out, what does this mean for people’s workload and a work plan? So how are they going to divvy up their hours? And of course, what goes along with that is a pay structure.
So we’re still working through this. Two of us aren’t working, I think more than we want to be and right now we’ve cobbled together a pay structure for the leadership team to make sure that folks are getting compensated, but we need to refine that. So if you have folks who are maintaining a relatively high clinical load of 20 to 30 hours a week, or maybe even more, to add this on it really bumps up to very near a full-time position. So you need to take that into account just financially and whether your practice can handle that.
We are also just working on how to streamline our discussion as therapists. I think we do discuss a lot and we’re going to reach out, I think, for some clarity and help with that from our implementer, Jake, at our next meeting.
Overall though, these meetings are the most efficient meetings I’ve ever been in. We had concerns about it being too robotic, but the general vibe is that it’s refreshing. It is clear. People know exactly what their responsibilities are and we know what the priorities for the practice are because we’ve agreed on them. So thus far, we all have the belief [00:18:00] that we are working toward the greater good, so to speak.
In the next episode, we’re going to be talking about Vision Day and Vision Day 1. So there are two Vision Days in this process. Vision Day 1 is where we define our accountability chart, we define our values, our core focus, and we’re going to take a stab at a 10-year vision for the practice.
Thanks as always for checking this out. I hope that these principles are helpful for you. Like I said at the beginning of the series, I know it’s probably most practical for larger group practice owners, but I think the principles are really helpful for any size practice, honestly. So, I hope you found these helpful. I will continue this series as we continue to implement EOS and let you know how it goes.
If you’re a group, sorry, not just a group practice owner, if you’re any kind of testing practice owner or you’re launching a testing practice, you can check out the mastermind groups through thetestingpsychologist.com. I facilitate all of these groups. There’s a beginner, an intermediate, and an advanced, and we’re getting ready to launch new cohorts within the next few weeks.
I think we particularly have spots in the intermediate group- that is for folks who are in solo practice, not really any vision of hiring, but you’re solo, you’re overwhelmed, you want to work on your systems, your processes, maybe hire some admin staff to outsource or delegate and just feel less overwhelmed, stop trading your time for money and figure out a way to manage all those referrals. If that sounds interesting, you can check out thetestingpsychologist.com/consulting and book a pre-group call.
All right, y’all. Thanks for listening as always. I will catch you next.
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