How To Train Your Team ft. Luci Carrillo

Starting and growing a group practice is hard. Join us as we share with you how you can train your team and grow your practice. Click to listen now!

In This Episode, You'll Learn:

  • How to train your team & set your practice up for success

⬇️ Click for full episode transcript ⬇️

Uriah
Hello! Welcome back to the Productive Therapist Podcast. So glad you're joining us today. I have the privilege of recording this episode with Lucy. Hello. Hello.

Luci
That's a privilege for me too. I am very excited, even though I can't speak, which shows how excited I am.

Uriah
Isn't this the first time we've properly done this together, recorded an episode for the podcast?

Luci
It is.

Uriah
It's the first, but it's not the last. Exactly. For those of you who don't know, Lucy is famous for the intro to this podcast, as well as famous for many other things, including being the Director of Sales and Marketing here at Productive Therapists. Awesome to be talking to you today.

Luci
Yay, you too. Very cool.

Uriah
We are going to talk about a pretty large challenge that group practice owners face and a pretty amazing solution that we have. This is an episode that's specifically talking about a new program that we have that we're going to tell you about. But we're not just going to pitch the whole time. We're going to talk about the challenge. The problem is, and I would love for you to elaborate on this, Lucy, because we both see it, and you maybe even more so because you talk to therapists and specifically group practice owners every week as they are reaching out to us for services and for support. But the pattern that I see is that it's really hard to be a group practice owner and there's so much to take on on so many levels that it can lead to exhaustion and overwhelm. I know that because I've experienced it some months more than others, some years more than others, and it's something that we just notice all the time. I'm curious, what are you hearing from group practice owners as you're talking to them?

Luci
Yeah, that is very true. I think probably the biggest one that comes up for me is just them feeling so overwhelmed because they're supposed to know everything. They're supposed to have the answer for everything. If they have any size of group practice, everyone in the practice is looking to them to be the inspiration, the solution, have all the brilliant ideas, solve everything for them. No human being can do that. It's just impossible. But when you've got all this expectation laid on top of you, you want to rise to the occasion and perform. Plus, this is your business, and so you feel a lot of pressure to bring the money through the door, pay the team, have things set up so they work and make sense. But figuring all that out, I mean, all therapists, unless they're doing some crazy business study on the side, they go to school for therapy. They don't go to business school or there's no extra module in the therapy training modules. I'm assuming those modules, you're right, would know more about that than me. There's no extra training on how to be a business owner or how to grow a practice, how to have employees. And so all practice owners are figuring that out on their own. It's super stressful, and at the same time, everyone expects them to have all the answers. Just that huge umbrella of expectation is a real problem for most practice owners.

Uriah
That's so true. I'm thinking back over about the first couple of years of my group practice, especially, and that sense of pressure only compounds the more therapists you hire, the more you grow, and the more you grow your admin team because there's just always new questions and new problems that are arising on a regular basis. You don't know the right answer, so you try to find the best information you can, consult with people who are smart, and maybe have a little bit more experience. But when you're growing a group practice and your staff is asking you questions about the details about the PTO policy that you just created, and you're like, Oh, no, I didn't think about that. But you don't want to say that to them. It is quite complicated and it does get better. I will tell you that from my own experience. I'm in year eight now and we still have complications and things that come up and I still feel that at times for sure. But now that I've had a solid team for quite a while and I have an extremely amazing and solid support team, life is a lot, lot better. But I have a ton of empathy for my friends at all stages of growth. You might think, Well, if you've done it for a while, then it goes away. Guess what? It doesn't. When you realize, Oh, we're growing so much and we want to add a second location, then you have a whole other stack of things that you have to learn that you don't know. It comes back around for sure.

Luci
Yeah, it grows. It snowballs.

Uriah
Yes.

Luci
One of the challenges I've seen practice owners deal with is they come to us with challenges usually around their intakes or their conversions, because that's ostensibly how people start out with productive therapist. But in the course of the conversation, it becomes apparent that there is so many more issues going on that maybe affect the intakes, maybe they don't, but the practice is suffering in some other way. And usually, it boils down to something as simple as communication or having strategies, having policies in place, communicating those clearly, having roles clearly defined. And when you're in the middle of that, it's hard to see it because... Hard to see the word for the trees. And that's one of the things that PPA, the program that we've created to help group practice owners survive and thrive. The thriving part is important. Productive practice accelerated, that's one of the things that it does. It helps you identify the areas, peel off the mask, identify the areas in the business that are weak, that need looking at. And it's not about you. It's not a referendum on you and your ability as a human being or a business owner, a practice owner. It's just that these things happen and because when we're in the thick of it, we often don't see them as they start to build and then it just becomes part of the fabric of life and you just deal with it. But it doesn't have to be that way. That is one of the things productive practice accelerator helps with.

Uriah
Absolutely. Have you ever heard the quote? I believe it's from Michael Hyatt that says, If your dream doesn't require a team, then your dream is too small. Have I ever shared that with you? Yeah. It's a good one. It's a good one. I like that. The bigger your vision, the bigger your mission, the more you need support and help. Nobody can do it all alone. None of the world leaders over history, none of the most amazing people in our modern time, and certainly not mental health providers. We need to build a team and we need to delegate and spread the work around, so to speak, to accomplish the mission. One of my missions has always been to help teenagers and their parents get along and navigate, survive the trouble of the teenage years. I did that work for many years as a therapist and mostly working with teenage boys. But I live in a city where there's 178,000 people. There's a lot of families here. I quickly found out it didn't take very long for me to realize that I couldn't help all of them. That if I wanted to make a significant impact for families and for teenagers in this city, just this one city, that I would need some help to do that. That's part of the reason why I started the group practice. Then guess what I figured out? I can't take all the calls that are coming in.

Luci
No? Really? It's not possible?

Uriah
No, it's not. That became too much for me. Then I was like, I can't handle all this insurance billing. I just realized pretty quickly that I needed more help, and so I started to build a team and I'm starting to delegate more and it's made a huge difference. When I talk to group practice owners now or people who are interested in starting one, there's a lot of advice and a lot of tips and tricks and tools. But at the end of the day, I tell them one of the most important things is that you think about building a team and that you execute that and that you learn how to delegate. That is where the productive practice accelerator comes in because at a certain level of growth, a practice really does need an intake coordinator. We've learned that and we know that very, very well. It just becomes unsustainable for the practice owner to respond to all the inquiries. They deserve to be responded to within a reasonable amount of time because they're in crisis and they're looking for help.

Luci
Yeah, absolutely. We had a member that we were... That we started working with recently, and they had recognized the need for that to have a team. They brought in an intake coordinator. When the practice owner was on the call with potential clients, she would regularly convert 50 % minimum, which is a decent conversion rate. The new intake coordinator that she hired, I don't know that I've told you this, guess how many she converted in a month?

Uriah
I'm going to guess a higher percentage? Maybe 70? No.

Luci
She converted zero.

Uriah
Okay. I wasn't sure which way this story was going. Oh, no.

Luci
It's the traumatic side, sadly. Oh, darn. Yes. When you're moving from solo into having just one other person work with you, that really doesn't do wonders for your confidence and trust in team members and feeling like you can delegate because if you... Right. There's that saying. If you want a job done, done right, do it yourself. Unfortunately, that's how a lot of business owners feel because they know they can do the job and do it well and trusting somebody else to do it, and then they just fail so miserable. That's really bad for their trust moving forward.

Uriah
It really is.

Luci
Yeah. Being the boss in any company is hard. You started your business likely because you had a personal mission, you wanted to achieve a goal. For most practice owners, that's helping people. So when issues start arising that need a firm guiding hand, like we need to get conversion rates up, how do we do that? Here's some training. Follow it. Do it. Still not working? Okay, what do we do next? It can be really hard to find and use that part of yourself as a boss, as a manager, because you have this mission, this empathetic mission and goal, and it doesn't involve micromanaging people. People should just do.

Uriah
The job. Nobody signs up for that.

Luci
No, exactly. I spoke to one practice owner recently whose practice was failing, just flat out failing because she was giving her clinicians too high of a percentage. We talked about that, talked about ways that she could change that. Profit margins were non-existent. She was losing money at a speed of knots. It was ridiculous. She couldn't cover the overhead for the practice, let alone live herself, all because she was giving too high of a percentage to her clinicians. But she didn't want to change. She didn't want to do the things because she didn't want to upset anyone. I think a lot of practice owners can resonate with that because they're good, kind, empathetic people who want to help others. And so being that hard voice that says, No, you need to do it this way, or, These are the consequences, that is so difficult for so many practice owners. It reminds me of inconsistent parenting. Tell me if this is totally wrong, Yara, you're the parent here, not me. But it seems to me that you ask Mom, she says no. I beg and complain, and I stamp my feet, and Mom gives in, and she gives me all the candy. But then I feel really sick because I ate all the candy. Mom knew what was best for me at the beginning, but she didn't stick to her guns because she wanted to make me happy and I suffered for it, and she most likely suffered for it too.

Uriah
No, that does make sense. I'm not sure how that analogy crosses over to group practice ownership. Like, who's the dad, who's the mom? But in any case, yeah, it's true because we are excellent caretakers... Not caretakers, but not caregivers. What's the word I'm looking for? We're compassionate, empathetic people and.

Luci
We are- Caring people.

Uriah
We're caring people and setting limits and prioritizing something other than just the happiness and wellbeing of the person on the other side, it is challenging. What do you say we get into the details of this program and what it actually is, what it actually does? Because I think people at this point, they're probably like, Well, just please tell me more. I'll give it a shot to summarize it. Honestly, this is one of the first times that we're actually talking about this, and we just publicly shared this week, but it feels like we've been working on it forever. Oh, yeah. Like an artist working on an album for a year and then finally releasing it. It's exciting. Cash in the project. Exactly, yeah. The productive practice accelerator is a training and support program that's designed to provide training and support to the admin and support team. That's too many words. Too many support words.

Luci
Train your team.

Uriah
Train your team. Train your team in half the time. Essentially, it's set up to train people in four different roles and then also the practice owner. That comes down to the intake coordinator, the billing assistant, the practice manager, and the clinical supervisor. Those are the four roles that we've identified are some of the most important ones in a group practice that need to be filled and trained and then overseen for that practice to function really, really well. How's that?

Luci
Yeah, I think that's a pretty good start.

Uriah
I like that. This is all built on the success that we've seen over the last three years of Therapy Intake Pro, which was designed to train intake coordinators first internally. Then we realized this is really good stuff and this is useful. We should let other people use this program and people have been buying it for three years and using it and saying very positive things about it. We're like, Oh, my goodness. This is a good idea.

Luci
It is a good idea. People just absolutely rave about therapy intake pro. They've used it because it's been out now for a while. People have used it with multiple intake coordinators in their practice. And every time they rave about how much time it saves them, how much money as a result, because they can actually be doing sessions where they would be spending hours on training, and the results they see from the intake coordinator they hired through the intake coordinator that actually works on their practice. It's just fantastic. Conversion rates go up, clients are happier, things get done. The clinicians love it. They love working with the intake coordinator. And all of the members of this training, this fantastic training in Therapy Intake Pro. So we wanted to take that same concept and not just keep it hidden away for intake coordinators. We want to make that available to the rest of your team. So as Uriah mentioned, the practice manager, the practice owner, even you need training. Practice owners need training too, as we discussed. Your billing person, the clinical supervisor, if you have one, this really is a training for your whole team. It's structured in a similar way that Therapy Intake Pro is. So you have modules on all kinds of different things that those individual roles need help and training in. We're working on Practice Manager Pro at the moment, and just the sheer number of topics that we're going to be helping practice managers with is really quite thrilling. Jamie and I have been working on that together. Jamie is our Director of Operations. It's just super exciting because we can see the value that's being created and how much that's going to help you or your team member to really level up and get your practice where it needs to be.

Uriah
Yeah, it really is exciting because I think we share this in common that we love empowering therapists and group practice owners to... We say it this way. We say you should be able to... You're going to have to edit that out. We often say it this way, you deserve to change the world and also love your life. When you told me that story just a few minutes ago about the practice owner who was paying too much, most likely stressed out about money, not feeling successful, not able to really focus on making a difference in their community, that is something I do not like to hear and that's something we're trying to help avoid. We're here to provide the support and the training for those folks on your team, whether you already have them hired and working in that role or you're thinking about filling that role in the future. One of the beautiful things about this program is that you buy it once, there's no subscription payments, and you have lifetime access to it, which means if that role turns over, if you get a new intake coordinator in two months, you can use this training and just plug that person into the accelerator program and you're good to go. Of course, you'll still have to do some training, but we will take a really big part of that off of your shoulders and get them up to speed. Not only saving you a ton of time, but also helping that person perform at a high level in that role, which will help your group practice grow significantly. The benefits are just, I think, wonderful.

Luci
Yeah, I agree. If you can indulge me for a minute, I want to go back to that parenting example because there is a connection. There is a connection with group practice owners. If the practice owner is giving into every demand because they're a people pleaser and they just don't want the drama, not only the practice, but even that specific clinician is going to suffer because eventually there's not going to be a job for them to do because they're whittling away at the resources of the company in some way. One of the ways, one of the specific ways that productive practice accelerator, or PPA, as we like to call it, helps practice owners, is it helps them create structure and processes that they can refer to. So if there is a dispute, this takes away the decision fatigue because the decision's already been made. It helps them stick to their guns because the decision's already been made. The policy is written. I can't possibly undo it. Having those policies clearly in place before these issues come up is one really great way that People Pleasers can overcome issues with communication. PPA is also brilliant at helping practice owners identify weaker areas in their practice structure. So maybe that's marketing, technology, training the admin staff, like we talked about, even their personal productivity. It gives them simple solutions for fixing all of these things. So finding simple solutions for communication challenges, that's a big one because it feels like there is no answer, but there are answers. There are strategies that you can use for communicating, and PPA will help you with that as well. And I feel the need to mention at this point, if you're listening to this and you're starting to feel a bit stressed or overwhelmed Oh, my goodness, my practice is even more of a disaster than I thought it was, it doesn't mean you're a terrible boss or a bad practice manager. It just means you're human. Therapy school does not teach you any of this stuff. You have to learn it on your own. None of us is a genius at everything. We have to figure out what our own strengths and weaknesses are. Even just the fact that you're listening to this podcast shows that you recognize you can't do it all. You have strengths, sure, but you also have weaknesses, and you need some help to address those. And that is what productive practice accelerator is going to do for you. It's going to help you cover those weak points and level them all up so the practice gets where you need it to be.

Uriah
Well said. If you think about it, a lot of this stuff is just growing pains and nobody should feel bad about growing pains. It's actually a sign of positive progress. Even though it hurts, it's like you're moving somewhere. We want to help you out with that. I will also add in that the cool thing about this program is that it's actually built on not only my experience of running a group practice over the last eight years. I mean, that's good enough in a sense, but also on our six years of supporting other practices through the productive therapist, virtual assistants. We've been working on these things for a long time. We have. I'm pretty sure this is a unique program and you can't find it anywhere else. If it sounds interesting, definitely check it out. The link is in the description of this podcast. But you can also, of course, go to productivetherapist. Com/ppa, productive practice accelerator, and find out more. We're happy to answer questions, of course, because I know there's a lot of questions that come up before people make a decision. But we've been around for a long time and we love what we do and we would love to support you in this way. Thanks for listening to the podcast today. Lucy, thanks for joining me.

Luci
Pleasure. Bye, guys.

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