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Episode 142 | 5 CEO Mindset Hacks



  • Episode 142 | 5 CEO Mindset Hacks 00:00


5 CEO Mindset Hacks

Hi Group Practice Listeners! In this episode, I’m talking all about 5 hacks to give you a better CEO mindset.

In this episode I cover:

  • not people pleasing
  • hiring out for our non-strengths
  • practicing servant leadership
  • making decisions collaboratively

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Maureen Werrbach

Maureen Werrbach

Do you feel like your mindset as a CEO sucks? It’s something that I have thought a lot about myself, as I’ve mentioned in previous podcast episodes. And those of you that know me know that embracing and stepping into the CEO mindset wasn’t something that came easily for me. It was something that I had to nurture and really work on throughout the course of the past decade of owning businesses. So I wanted to talk a little bit about some of the things that I learned to embrace as a CEO in terms of my mindset. And hopefully, they’re helpful nuggets for you, as a new or established CEO, business owner yourself.

The first mindset is around people pleasing, and not feeling like you’re good enough.

Whether that’s to be a business owner, good enough at specific tasks that you have as a business owner, etc. It was something that I struggled with myself a lot. And really, it took a lot of coaching and work on my own part to get to a point where I was able to acknowledge that a lot of my scarcity mindset, my fear based mindset really came down to people pleasing, and feeling like I wasn’t doing enough, and I wasn’t good enough as a person as a business owner. And that really kind of led how I saw myself as a business owner.

So when I was able to acknowledge that, it made a really big difference. Because I was able to then really constructively look at how I was running my business, how I was presenting myself to my team, to my teammates, to the other leadership members of my group practice and in my other businesses, and really see where there are things that I needed to fix that I could work on and be better at and, where was it about my need to people, please at the expense of my own sanity, at the expense of the success of my business. Looking at that was really helpful.

I see this mindset happening a lot with group practice owners when it comes to compensation.

One of the things that really was helpful for me as a business owner in not having this mindset like I needed to people please on an individual basis, and feeling like I wasn’t doing good enough, or I wasn’t doing enough as a business owner, especially around compensation, was really looking at what we were offering and taking an objective look at the pay the comparison to other businesses in the area. To benefits that we were offering, to other perks outside of benefits, whether it’s, you know, offering snacks or food or meals or allowing telework, when it isn’t COVID time. You know what is the combination of benefits, perks and compensation? And looking at it objectively I was able to say, I feel really good about this. I feel like this is a really fair and competitive compensation package as a whole.

Getting to that point and being able to look at that and really say yeah, this is really fair. I’m doing. I’m doing all I can and this feels really good to me, made it feel easier when the people pleasing part of me would want to come up and offer another benefit, or give something else up.

So I think this is a mindset that a lot of group practice owners and business owners in general struggle with, when it comes to people pleasing. Whether that’s around compensation or other things. And feeling good enough, is, you know, wanting to support each person individually, versus looking at the team as a whole, and making sure that you’re not sacrificing the health of the business.

And so that was that’s my, my first little hack in terms of my mindset as a CEO.

Looking at the people pleasing slash, good enough/not good enough part of my brain and kind of dissecting it. Looking at it and observing it and looking at what I need to do to shift that mindset.

The other mindset shift was: being able to acknowledge my strengths, and hire out for areas that aren’t my strength.

I don’t remember what book it was, but I feel like it’s shifted how I hire. Especially when it comes to leadership, I hire people who can do the work, whether it’s in terms of administrative stuff, or in terms of supervision and leadership. But my goal is to hire people into those positions, who can do that work better than I can. And I know a lot of new business owners, ego is what’s in the front of the brain, whether we’re aware of it or not. As business owners, we feel like we need to be the most important person, when we don’t feel like we’re the most important person, we think that our teams are gonna think, why are they even here? And really, that couldn’t be farther from the truth!

The most successful businesses, and the most successful business owners in terms of just their mental health and the happiest employees are the are the ones that are in businesses where leadership feels confident enough, and has the abundance mindset to be able to really look at their team and say, I’ve hired people who can do this work better than I can.

So they’re supporting the business as a whole in a way that I can’t. I know my strengths, I know where I need support. And that was a really big shift in mindset for me as a CEO. I think it is something that’s really important for every business owner to be able to shift into that mindset of looking at who they hire, and looking at where where their areas of strength lie, and continuing to do that work as a business owner, where where your areas of strength are, but then where you’re not worried. It’s not a strong suit, hire someone who can do that work.

And so, you know, as an example, my clinical director is really just a people person. Although workplace culture and family feel are really important to me, as all of you know, I’m introverted, I’m quiet, I am not the greatest person at implementing that. And she is! That’s one of the big reasons why she’s in the position that she’s in. That’s her strength, she does that better than I do. And that’s why she’s in that position.

I tried to implement that strategy with every hire that I that I bring on. That they’re bringing something to the table that I can’t or that other therapists in the practice so far, aren’t able to bring. And so that’s really a helpful piece of advice to think about when bringing on leadership or administrative team members, along those lines is not making decisions in a silo, and getting other people’s opinions.

If you’re a small business or a small group practice, you might not have a whole leadership team or administrative team to bounce ideas off of.

And so when making decisions, I think it’s totally appropriate to, in some degree, have your therapists that you do have be a part of the process. Now, they might not be the ultimate decision maker, of course, but including them in the decisions around benefits, what benefits to offer, this is a really great example of not making decisions in a silo where it’s just coming from your own head without getting the feedback of your team.

I initially brought on my first benefit being short, not short term disability, retirement matching, because for me, it’s really important that I feel like I can retire at a decent age and not have financial issues. So retirement is just a big, big thing for me, and I assumed that it was important to everyone. And initially, not everyone took the short term disability.

Why do I keep saying Short Term Disability take the retirement matching. Oh my goodness, not everyone took the retirement matching.

And I was really surprised by it. And I thought, why wouldn’t they take it? We’re matching, it’s like free money, it’s going towards retirement. And I realized that people value different things. So in one area as an example of not making decisions in a silo might be in terms of making decisions around what benefits you’re going to offer.

Now, that doesn’t mean you, you know, say, what do you want? And just let everyone kind of, you know, throw out what they want, because it’s likely that everyone wants different things, and it’s not going to be feasible. But it might mean that you put a survey out there and say, you know, you give options of a couple of things that you would be able and willing to offer as benefits, and see what the majority of people gravitate towards the most and offering that one thing, instead of making the assumption that everyone’s going to want, you know, X when really they might want Y.

So not making decisions in a silo is a big mindset shift.

The other thing is accepting that others might not be happy with some decisions that you make. I think that’s a really good mindset thing to work on, because it’s going to happen. It kind of goes along with my first point of, you know, people pleasing and not feeling like you’re good enough.

Even in the decision of not working in a silo, right, let’s go back to the benefits category, it will be very unlikely that every employee will unanimously choose one benefit out of the three options you might give. It’s very likely that it’s going to be distributed among the three options. Some will want the short term disabilities, some might want the retirement matching, and some might want the health insurance. And at the end of the day, you likely will choose the one that got the most votes, but you’re going to make those that didn’t vote for that maybe unhappy, right?

So part of owning a business means accepting and learning to take in that sometimes, your whole team is not going to be completely happy with a decision that you make. And what I do to combat that is to remind myself, and when I make a decision, making sure that I’m doing it this way, that all my decisions are made with not only good intentions, but intentions aren’t enough, right? That I’m doing them in with the idea that it’s in the best interest of my team as a whole and of the business as a whole. That at the end of the day, when I make a decision, I’m making it in the thought process of servant leadership.

If you don’t know what that is, it means that your main goal of a leader is to serve your team.

And when you serve your team, you’re likely making decisions from that viewpoint, then, and so when a team member maybe isn’t happy with a decision that you’re making, you’re able to accept that they’re allowed to not be happy with that. But also, that you can rest secure in the idea that you’ve made that decision to, you know, offer insurance versus the life insurance that they may be wanted, that it was in the best interest of the business as a whole the employees as a whole, and that you took what their opinion, opinions were into consideration when you made your decision. Then ultimately, it wasn’t done in malice. It wasn’t done against the wishes of the business as a whole or in a way that really harms or hurts the employees in your business.

And then last mindset, is just being able to listen, have empathy, have foresight, and be radically candid as a business owner.

I know I’m putting a lot of things into my last of my five CEO mindset hacks! I’ve learned to embrace when I’m able to listen, when I’m able to have empathy, when I’m able to have foresight and see a little bit into the future, or make some good guesstimates about where things are going based off of how things are. And to be able to be radically candid with my team. That my team is also going to listen, they’re also going to have empathy. They’re also going to have some foresight, and they’re also going to be radically candid with me. And all of those things leads to a better workplace environment, a safer workplace environment, and one where every member of your team feels needed, wanted, supported, and included.

So I hope that’s helpful. Five mindset hacks I’ll run through them really quickly again is:

Working through the people pleasing and “not good enough part” that we all go through as business owners and as humans, just in general, to acknowledging our strengths, and hiring out for those things that are our weakness areas or not our strength areas.

And I guess I got to say if it’s a weakness area or a non strength area, but it’s something you want to work on, that’s different. But if you have an area that is not your strong suit, like marketing, hire out for that and hire someone who can do it better than you.

Don’t make decisions in a silo, get other people’s opinions involved, accept that not everyone is always gonna be super happy with decisions that you make. But if you’re making decisions collaboratively, at the end of the day, you’re likely making a good decision on behalf of the business as a whole. And do things with good intentions.

Practice servant leadership, if you’re making decisions, and your main goal as a leader is to serve your team, you’re more likely going to be making decisions that are in the best interest of your business and your team as a whole. And then lastly, listen, have empathy, have foresight, and be radically candid, practice those things, and model those things in your business.

And your CEO mindset is going to be that much better.

Thanks For Listening

Thanks for listening to the group practice exchange podcast. Like what you heard? Give us five stars on whatever platform you’re listening from. Need extra suppor? Join The Exchange, a membership community just for group practice owners with monthly office hours, live webinars, and a library of trainings ready for you to dive into visit www dot members dot the group practice exchange dot com forward slash exchange. See you next week.


Here are the resources and guides we recommend based on this episode

7 Days to Level Up Your Practice

This 7-day challenge is to help you LEVEL UP your group practice-no matter what stage it’s in. I’m a sucker for shaking my business up a tiny bit every once in a while. It keeps me alert, motivated, and not bored.

therapy notes

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Meet your host


Maureen Werrbach is a psychotherapist, group practice owner and group practice coach. Learn more about her coaching services here:


The show

The podcast is structured so that you get practice building tips in small doses, where an episode can be listened to (and a group practice building lesson can be learned) in a single car ride.

Episodes are structured into categories: coaching sessions where I coach a group practice owner on a specific topic, tips of the day by yours truly, real talk where you get to be a fly on the wall while an established group practice owner and I talk about the highs and lows of ownership, and trainings done by experts in the field.

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