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[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.

This episode is brought to you by PAR.

PAR offers the SPECTRA Indices of Psychopathology, a hierarchical dimensional look at adult psychopathology. The SPECTRA is available for paper and pencil assessment or administration and scoring via PARiConnect. Learn more at parinc.com/spectra.

Hey everyone, welcome back to the podcast. I’m glad to be here with you.

Today I am talking about EOS. Today’s episode is another installment in the EOS journey series. If you haven’t listened to the previous episodes on EOS [00:01:00] or Entrepreneurial Operating System, if this just so happens to be your first podcast episode ever, I would highly encourage you to go back and listen to all of the episodes in the EOS journey series. I’m chronicling our path through the Entrepreneurial Operating System and implementing EOS into our practice.

EOS is a business framework that helps run your practice, get it organized, get people in the right seats or positions, and many other things.

Today I am talking about our quarterly #1 in year two. We are in our second year of EOS, and this is our quarterly meeting #1.

As we dive into it, the warning of course is, that this is fairly off the cuff and just meant to be [00:02:00] reflections on the experience. I’m trying to keep it real and share what it’s actually like to go through this process.

Now, as we transition to the episode, if you are a practice owner and you would like any kind of coaching around launching your practice, or streamlining your practice, or growing your practice to include other clinicians and staff, I would love to help you out. You can go to thetestingpsychologist.com/consulting and schedule a pre-consulting call to see if it would be a good fit.

All right. Let’s talk about EOS.

Okay everybody, diving right into it. Quarterly meeting #1 in year 2 of [00:03:00] Entrepreneurial Operating System implementation.

When we left off, it was April 2023 and my leadership team had just completed the first annual two-day retreat for EOS. We’re back now for our regular quarterly pulsing is what they call it, unfortunately, but our first quarterly pulsing is a little bit different for me. I found myself in a different mindset this time than usual. I am typically very excited for these meetings. I’m really jazzed about setting goals and connecting with the team, but this time I found I went into this meeting with a little less energy for a few reasons.

The first one is that our leadership team is a little shaky. I think I mentioned last time that our clinical director had resigned from that position. She’s still with our practice, [00:04:00] but she did resign from that position prior to our annual. But more recently, our office manager also resigned in May to spend more time with her newborn.

I’m going to be honest. This really hit me hard. I really thought of her as a pretty solid team member and never in a million years thought that she would take off. But as I said, she had a newborn. She recognized that she did not want to work and wanted to spend time with the baby. Life happens, right? So our office manager resigned in May and we had not hired a replacement by this quarterly meeting. So the team just felt a little incomplete and a little shaky.

Now, we did hire a new Counseling Director. So there was definitely some excitement about her [00:05:00] being able to participate in her first EOS experience, but there’s also some trepidation about how she would integrate into a close-knit team at this all-day event.

So this is really the first time that our leadership team had someone brand new on it. Someone who’s basically stepping right into a leadership role that we hired externally from our practice. Typically, we’ve elevated internal folks, but for this position, it was an external hire and I was a little nervous, I suppose about being vulnerable.

We’re a pretty vulnerable leadership team and being vulnerable in front of someone new and also concerned for her, like what would that be like to step in? Would she feel lots of pressure and so forth? So that was another reason that I was [00:06:00] maybe a little more reserved during this meeting compared to the past ones.

And the last reason is that I just didn’t hit a couple of my Rocks and I do not like not reaching goals. As you’ll recall, Rocks are the quarterly priorities that we set for ourselves and for the practice. I was responsible for two rocks and did not fully complete them, and I did not like that.

All of that said, I went into the meeting a little bit less enthusiastic, and a little more nervous compared to usual. The agenda was the same as a typical quarterly check-in. We start with a check-in with one another, what we hope to get out of the day, how we’re doing personal and professional best, that sort of thing.

After that, we reviewed our prior quarter. We looked at [00:07:00] our Rocks, we looked at our financials, we looked at our goals, our progress. We combed through our issues list. Issues are items that we need to solve or problems we’re trying to solve in the practice. After that, the agenda called for us to develop new Rocks or new priorities for the upcoming quarter.

Then we dedicated some time to IDSing our issues. IDS stands for, Identify, Discuss, and Solve. So this is how we work through the issues. And then we did a brief wrap-up at the end.

Now as I said, I did not complete some of my rocks from the prior quarter, and the ones that I didn’t complete were deciding on our PracticeQ transition. So we are, as I’ve mentioned, really thinking about transitioning to IntakeQ or PracticeQ for our main EHR. Right now we are split between TherapyNotes [00:08:00] and PracticeQ. We are supposed to make a decision on whether to transition or not. We did not make that decision largely because our office manager took off and she was a big part of that.

The other thing that I did not get done was developing and implementing employee satisfaction surveys. So those are the two things I did not get accomplished.

This is just a note that it’s hard to not reach these goals and some things are out of our control. I had to make peace with the idea that our office manager was gone and it just did not make sense to try to make an EHR change with that. The good news is that our profit was right on point. And that’s always a good thing.

Thoughts about this meeting. This is interesting. We ended up revisiting our core focus. [00:09:00] So if you will recall, a big part of the EOS process in the beginning is developing a core focus for your business or organization.

In our case, our core focus is that we provide research-informed, strengths-based counseling, assessment, and training that truly helps our community thrive. This is the rallying cry, the battle cry, the thing that people in your organization rally around as the central focus. And so we revisited this, which is interesting. I thought we were pretty well set on it, but our new counseling director challenged it a bit and brought up some really good points about whether our core focus truly captured our main focus in the business. So we did discuss that a bit. We did not end up changing it, [00:10:00] but it was a cool exercise just to have an outside perspective and reexamine that.

A big part of this day is that we ended up people analyzing two of our employees. What does that mean? People analyzing is the EOS process of essentially evaluating whether someone is the right person for the position that they are in.

As you’ll recall, there’s this core tenet of EOS called right person, right seat, and it’s the idea that you have to spend a lot of time making sure that you have the right people in the right roles in your practice for things to go well. The people analyzing tool has two components. The main component is that you take your core values for your organization. In our [00:11:00] case, our core values are to get after it, keep it real, balance we with me, and be active allies.

So you take your core values and you rate that employee on the core values using a simple three-point system: You have a plus, a plus minus, or a minus. I’ve also heard people do a check plus, a check, or a check minus. But anyway, you get the idea. It’s basically a 1, 2, 3 rating system. 3 is the best, 2 is great, 1 is not cutting it.

And so, in each of these organizations, you’re encouraged to develop what they call a bar. So the bar is basically how many of those items will you allow to be less than [00:12:00] perfect before you initiate a performance improvement plan or some kind of disciplinary action. For us, our bar is that someone can have 1 plus-minus and absolutely no minuses before we consider some action.

The idea here is essentially that if you get a plus, that means you are completely values-aligned. It’s not perfect, but you are on board. The vast majority of the time you are living up to those values. For us, a plus-minus means that you identify with the value, but you may sometimes have trouble embodying it or living up to it. And then a minus for us is essentially you’re not values aligned. That value does not fit, you don’t believe in it and you aren’t[00:13:00] living up to it.

The second part of people analyzing after you do the plus, plus-minus, minus system for each of the values is to go through the GWC concept. I’ve mentioned this in the past, but a core piece of anyone, any position in the EOS framework is this GWC so gets it, wants it, and has the capacity for it. All of those have to be a yes for a person to be in the right position. And so, we also went through and said yes or no to gets it, wants it, and has the capacity for it.

So in our case, both of these folks turned out to be fine, but the people analyzing tool is really helpful to cut through the discussion and the back and forth about what might be going on with this person, are they a good fit, or should we do a [00:14:00] performance improvement plan, or should we fire them?

You just break it down to your values and it’s just another component of EOS that it all comes back to values. And that’s been really helpful in clarity in what we do with our employees.

Let’s take a quick break to hear from our featured partner.

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All right, let’s get back to the podcast.

All that said, our new counseling director jumped right in. She really contributed to the meeting. It was really nice to have a new perspective.

One of the things that emerged is that we identified a clear disconnect between our staff and the leadership team. This is the feedback that we got from our staff and even further between testing and counseling. So, there’s an emerging feeling in our practice that testing is the “golden child” compared to counseling in our practice.

That was [00:16:00] hard for me to hear. I feel like we’ve done a lot of work to level the playing field, and in my mind, testing is no more valuable than counseling, but clearly, that’s not being communicated or that’s not the vibe that people are getting. And so, I didn’t really sit with that. But when it comes right down to it, the reasons given were pretty compelling.

We do spend a lot more money on assessment in our practice just by virtue of buying testing materials and iPads and test kits and so forth. We are also, I think, more well-known in the community for assessment. I have to remind people frequently that we also do counseling. So there’s some work to do there, but it was good to uncover that gap.

We also talked quite a bit about how we need to be clearer with our EOS objectives and with the vision. We realized that [00:17:00] we weren’t sharing the vision and the core focus as much as we should be, and that was contributing to the disconnect between our leadership team and our staff in that our leadership team was totally on board and we’re all pretty excited and motivated and know where we’re headed, but our staff didn’t necessarily get that message and so they were having a harder time following along and rowing in the same direction, so to speak. So we developed a rock aimed at bridging the gap between counseling and assessment.

Now a big part of this meeting, we continue to just hone our processes. We’re cleaning up our Google Drive folders. We’re streamlining operations. We prioritized setting budgets. We’re really focused on operationalizing everything. So creating these really clear systems and processes.

I think we have clearly moved [00:18:00] from a house-on-fire situation to more of these slow burn issues, which is a double-edged sword for me. The excitement of solving really big problems and making these sweeping changes has definitely diminished, and now it’s just been replaced by this delayed gratification or maybe tempered satisfaction of, it’s really just dialing in standard operating procedures and just steadily working toward our vision.

We are now focused, I think, on the harder stuff, like unifying our staff and getting everyone on board with the vision and tweaking our processes to make sure that we’re running like a well-oiled machine.

I shared with someone a few people over the last several months that I used to come back from conferences or retreats or events with tons of [00:19:00] ideas about what to do in our practice. That was exciting, but I’ve noticed since getting into EOS that has really gone away. I don’t read things online or in Facebook groups, or even in my own accountability group, or talking with other practice owners. There are very few things that are exciting enough or different enough to pull me away from what we’ve already set as our vision in our practice.

 So EOS has taken a lot of the mystery out of running a practice and part and parcel with that, a lot of, not a lot, I don’t want to say that, but it has taken away some of the excitement. There’s no shiny object out there. There’s no unicorn that we’re searching for. We’re not going to find that thing or get distracted by this flashy thing that comes up.

[00:20:00] It’s a little boring in a way. We’ve set goals, we have our rocks, we know what we’re working toward, and now we’re doing it. Now, maybe that will change at some point based on the business model and what we want to do, but for now, we’ve largely removed any distractions and I don’t really need new ideas. My leadership team is functioning really well from that standpoint, and we know what we want to do. So, like I said, double-edged sword.

Our biggest change coming up is that we are moving to a salary model in November and we are working hard to iron that out and roll that out to our staff. So I’ll certainly be doing some kind of episode or multiple episodes on transitioning to salary in the future. From my standpoint, just from a leadership standpoint, I continue to step out of the daily work of our practice. [00:21:00] Right after this meeting, I was essentially gone for a month with very little impact on the day-to-day operations. My team is very solid and people honestly know what to do without me.

This is a huge win. I gotta be honest. This is, I think where a lot of us want to be as practice owners is that freedom to step away and know that the practice is going to run without us. I highly recommend EOS for any leaders looking to get out of the day-to-day operations and just do more visionary work.

So that concludes quarterly #1 of year two. Next time I get back with you, we’ll check back in, in the fall after our annual staff retreat. Our all-staff retreat typically happens in September and it’ll be right before rolling out our salary transition. So our next quarterly I have a feeling is going to [00:22:00] be action-packed. We, in the meantime, have hired a new office manager who is fabulous, and so our leadership team will be back intact, and that’s exciting as well.

Like I said in the beginning, if you have not listened to the rest of the EOS episodes, they do build on one another. I’d encourage you to go back and check those out. There are also several resources in the show notes for learning more about EOS and everything it entails.

Alright, 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. If you like what you hear on the podcast, I would be so grateful if you left a review on iTunes or Spotify, or wherever you listen to your podcast.

And if you’re a practice owner or [00:23:00] aspiring practice owner, I’d invite you to check out The Testing Psychologist mastermind groups. 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.

The information contained in this podcast and on The Testing Psychologist website are intended [00:24:00] 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 an expertise that fits your needs.

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