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Hey, y’all. Welcome back to The Testing Psychologist podcast.
Today is an EOS journey episode. If you haven’t checked out the other EOS journey episodes, I would invite you to do so. This is part 7. So there are six previous episodes. If you are not familiar with the series, the EOS [00:01:00] series is a documentation of our practice’s implementation of the EOS- Entrepreneurial Operating System. It’s a business framework and it’s something that we’ve been pursuing since about February of 2022. I’m trying to document that process in real-time as we implement this framework.
Today is part 7. I’m talking about visioning versus integrating. These are two major roles in the EOS ecosystem. I’ll talk about my own experience bouncing between the two and trying to settle into more of a visionary role for the practice, which is proving more challenging than I might’ve expected.
Before I get into the discussion, as always, I am looking for folks who are interested in group coaching and accountability. I do [00:02:00] 8 or 9 cohorts of Testing Psychologist mastermind groups each year at three different levels, beginner, intermediate, and advanced. I would love to have you, if you’re looking for a group coaching experience where you’ll get homework, you’ll get support, and you’ll get collaboration as you try to reach some of those goals in your practice. If that sounds interesting, you can go to thetestingpsychologist.com/consulting, get a little more info, and schedule a pre-group call if you’re interested.
All right, let’s talk about visioning versus integrating in the EOS system.
All right, let’s dive right into it, [00:03:00] everybody.
Before I totally jump into this discussion, I want to back up and lay a little bit of the groundwork or give a little refresher on the different roles in EOS. EOS, Entrepreneurial Operating System, is a business framework that helps businesses of all kinds get more efficient, run better meetings, set better goals, and keep folks accountable. The roles that I’m talking about today are the visionary versus the integrator.
Now that we’ve had a few weeks to implement EOS, if you’ll recall, if you listened to the last episode, last time we’ve been turned loose into the wild, free of our Implementer/ Consultant for a few months to try to implement EOS on our own. We’ve had a few weeks to do that, and I’m trying to settle into my role as the [00:04:00] visionary for our practice. The only problem is that there is a lot to do in that regard. There’s a lot to do in the practice, and I’m having trouble moving fully into the visionary role.
So let me talk a little bit about the visionary and the integrator in the EOS system.
The book Rocket Fuel, which is linked in the show notes, details the balance or the dance between the visionary and the integrator in a business. You can think of this like a yin and yang or any of those other metaphors that give the image of balance, synthesis, and collaboration. You can’t have one without the other, all of that kind of stuff.
The EOS system would say that a visionary and an integrator are a crucial team to [00:05:00] any successful business reason being that they occupy different roles in the business. You may be able to guess just from the names, but the visionary is typically the individual in the organization who gets into big-picture ideas. This person is always coming up with ideas for what can happen in the business.
There’s a story that our consultant told of a visionary he knew who had so many ideas that he would carry around dry-erase markers in his car. When he stopped at stoplights, he would be writing ideas on the windows because they were just coming so fast and furious.
So having ideas about where the business should go, what should happen in the business, new revenue streams, new processes, new markets, new services, all that kind of stuff.
The visionary [00:06:00] is typically more keyed into the ideas themselves than the implementation of those ideas. So visionaries do not typically like to get tied up in details or minutia or defining the process or anything like that. Visionary individuals typically want to stay up in the clouds a little bit and be the ideal person. These individuals typically are relatively high energy. They seem to often have ADHD, at least anecdotally. I think he writes about that in the book as well. So bouncing from topic to topic.
So visionaries are typically the ones in the business who are driving the business forward in terms of ideas and goals and reaching for the stars and that sort of thing.
On the flip side, the integrator is the individual in [00:07:00] a business who is doing a lot of the implementing of those ideas. You can see already how this is a nice one-two punch in a business. You have the idea person, and then you have the action person, and that is usually the integrator.
So the integrator is the one who enjoys getting their hands dirty, defining processes, putting systems in place, setting goals, defining outcomes, numbers-based kinds of tasks where they’re getting into the details and the minutia of the day-to-day running of the business to make sure that all of these ideas are put into place.
Actually, I misspeak a little bit. It’s actually not all of the ideas. The integrator is often the brakes to the visionary’s [00:08:00] gas pedal. A good integrator is going to challenge a visionary and say, Hey, we need to hold on those ideas and implement these specific ideas. The integrator is the one who’s reigning in the visionary a little bit, keeping everybody’s feet on the ground, and making sure things stay realistic in the business and doable.
Now, integrators also typically take on the role of a CFO- Chief Financial Officer. Integrators will often have big financial roles. They also cross over a lot with a traditional COO or Chief Operating Officer- someone who handles the day-to-day operations and oversees the different departments in the business.
In a mental health practice like ours, I think I detailed in a previous episode that we have five [00:09:00] departments. We have Marketing/Sales. We have Client Care, which is the Frontend Admin Team who’s doing intakes, scheduling, and so forth. We have Finance, which is the Backend Admin that’s billing and collections. We have a Clinical Lead who’s responsible for our licensed clinicians, policies, compliance, and things like that, ethical dilemmas, and supervision for our licensed clinicians. And then we have a Training Lead because we have a pretty robust training program. Not all practices will have a Training Lead but we have several trainees in our practice at different levels, both masters and doctoral. So we have a Training Lead as well.
The integrator is typically overseeing all of those departments and making sure that they are doing their jobs, that the department leads feel supported, and that they’re talking to one another. [00:10:00] So the integrator is doing a lot of boots-on-the-ground communication between departments and overseeing to make sure everyone is doing what they’re supposed to do.
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All right, let’s get back to the podcast.
I’m getting back to a little more of the applied stuff and what’s happening in our practice. What I am noticing is that I am having a really tough time finding visionary time. [00:11:00] Our practice put me into the role of visionary during our initial setup with EOS, and I’m having a hard time finding time to vision.
Visioning is something that does come naturally to me when I have the time and space to do it. The trouble is that I also really enjoy getting into details and implementing systems, researching different software, and defining processes. I enjoy that stuff, and I’ve done that for a long time here in our practice. I’ve been the only one doing that for a long time in our practice, say for our assistant director who did some of that over the last 2 to 3 years.
So I’m feeling pulled in two different directions. With our practice right at this moment, [00:12:00] I am playing more of a hybrid role. Even though I want to just totally step into the visionary role, that’s not what is working or what is most appropriate for our practice right now. The reason being that we, well, for one, I’m still holding our Financial Lead seat as we transition into our new finance person.
I have an intimate working knowledge of our financial situation. I’m playing the role of financial lead and playing the role of CFO at the same time. So I’m managing our billing department and collections. I’m also looking at big-picture finances and tracking the trends in QuickBooks. So I’m still doing a lot of very applied financial work right now. I’m also trying to train a new individual. So [00:13:00] this means not just doing the job, but providing a lot of training and providing a good bit of oversight to make sure that that individual is feeling supported as they transition into the Finance Lead seat.
Another component that’s coming into play here is that, as we implement EOS in the practice, we’re also working on the other 5 individuals on the leadership team getting settled into their seats and then the leadership level below them- the 2nd tier leaders. These would be clinical supervisors or testing lead versus therapy lead, social media website lead. That 2nd tier of leadership is also trying to settle into their seats.
So it’s just a lot of, I don’t want to say chaos because it feels so much more organized than it [00:14:00] has in the previous few months or years. Everyone is finding their seat, figuring out what it’s like to supervise others in not just a clinical sense, but in a business sense, like a managerial sense. And even though we’ve had a few months to practice, this is a long process and folks are just getting comfortable.
I will say this is one place that EOS has been super helpful because we have an accountability chart and we’ve defined what each of these roles should look like. So it’s just a matter of the individual stepping into those roles, assuming those roles, and being comfortable playing those roles.
But like I said, it’s still a long process. Even as I’m sharing right now, I have to think back that it’s only been 3 to 4 months of actually doing this. And that’s [00:15:00] not very long to implement so many different processes and roles. So I’m still the defacto go-to person for questions on the leadership team and within our practice. So again, another hurdle that’s getting in the way of visioning at this point, is because people are coming to me for lots of things.
The reason for this is, I think I’ve mentioned this analogy of EOS being like, you drag everything out of your house, you put it on the street in front of your house, and then you comb through everything to see what needs to stay, what you’re throwing away, and then figuring out if something is going to stay where it goes in the house. So it’s a huge reorganization and evaluation of what’s working and what’s not working. And so we’re doing that a lot. It’s a relentless pursuit of [00:16:00] problems to find inefficiencies and systems that aren’t working and other problems within the practice that need to be resolved- things that have flown under the radar or just been subtle inefficiencies.
So we’re doing all of that. And that’s a lot. As much as I want to jump to the big ideas, moving forward with projects, and leveling up our practice, we are spending the time to dig deep and find the things that aren’t working and it turns out there’s quite a lot. When you open those floodgates and give people permission to identify problems, it turns out there’s a lot. So it can be overwhelming. It’s been a little bit overwhelming, I think, for me and for our leadership team, because it feels like every [00:17:00] week when we meet, there’s a huge list that keeps repopulating that we have to attend to.
So again, I’m feeling very torn between wanting to do the visioning and wanting to do more of the integrating. I’m definitely a productivity junkie. And as much as I’ve researched this stuff and tried to work on it for myself, it is super challenging for me to not get pulled into the short-term reward of crossing things off a to-do list and getting things done. That’s pulling me toward more of an integrator role.
I’m also having a hard time letting go, especially the financial components. I’m doing a lot of, micromanaging has a negative connotation, but [00:18:00] I’m doing a lot of managing and oversight. As much as I want to let the stuff go, it is very hard. I’m scared that things will fall apart if I don’t have my hands and everything despite trusting everyone. That’s the real mind game here is that I do trust my leadership team and the folks in our practice, and I’m still having a really hard time letting things go. I still find myself checking our numbers, checking our billing, checking our notes, and things like that.
I personally am feeling torn and there’s no answer here, I suppose. Again, this is a real-time documentation of what this is like. My hope is that some of you who are leaders or practice owners at least get some validation from this discussion that this process is challenging and I feel both sides. I desperately want time to do [00:19:00] visionary stuff and I have an internal pull to stay involved.
The other component though is that this process is helping me see that I am actually more of a visionary. And there was some question about this.
In the beginning, when we were voting on leadership roles in our practice, the rest of the folks put me into the visionary role. I didn’t know that that was necessarily a good fit for me. I don’t know that I would ever have used the word visionary to describe myself. I don’t see myself as creative exactly. I definitely don’t have ADHD as far as I know. I don’t know that people would say that I have [00:20:00] tons of energy necessarily.
There are a lot of reasons when I read Rocket Fuel and some of these other EOS books, I didn’t 100% identify with the list of traits for a visionary. So this process has been actually validating for me to say, okay, this visionary role does actually make more sense for me because as we work through a lot of these issues, I am very aware of being certainly bored with more of the minutia and the details.
Like when we just start to talk about policies, I have a hard time staying focused. And I’m like, all right, can we just figure this out? Can we just define something and move on and talk about the things [00:21:00] that are “important”, even though, of course, these policies are super important and form the backbone of any business processes and policies and so forth? It’s all super important, but I have a lot harder time focusing on that stuff.
I find myself daydreaming about ideas and projects and all those things I mentioned at the beginning, new service lines, and ways we can capitalize on this or a revenue stream or whatever. So it’s been validating to see that maybe I am a little bit more of a visionary.
All in all, I am super hopeful. I think we’re all totally bought into this process and as we continue to settle into our seats and work out the kinks that have been present for so long, it’s all for the good. I have a fantastic integrator who is really good [00:22:00] at that job. So all the pieces are in place. This is just, I guess I filed under the growing pains of implementing a new system, putting people in new roles, and seeing how it goes.
That’s where we’re at at this point. Stay tuned for more EOS journey episodes.
All right, y’all. Thank you so much for tuning into this episode. Always grateful to have you here. I hope that you take away some information that you can implement in your practice and in your life. Any resources that we mentioned during the episode will be listed in the show notes. So make sure to check those out.
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If you’re a practice owner or aspiring practice owner, I’d invite you to check out The Testing Psychologist Mastermind Groups.[00:23:00] I have mastermind groups at every stage of practice development: Beginner, intermediate, and advanced. We have homework, we have accountability, we have support, we have resources. These groups are amazing. We do a lot of work and a lot of connecting. If that sounds interesting to you, you can check out the details at thetestingpsychologist.com/consulting. You can sign up for a pre-group phone call and we will chat and figure out if a group could be a good fit for you. Thanks so much.
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