Close this search box.
over 200,000 downloads

Episode 197 | Leadership with Shelli Warren


WITH Shelli Warren

  • Episode 197 | Leadership with Shelli Warren 00:00


Hey Group Practice Listeners! When it comes to running your business, it’s ideal that we find the best candidates to work with us. However, finding the best people to work with you can be difficult and intimidating. 

Fortunately, we are joined today by Shelly Warrens, a seasoned entrepreneur who leverages her experience in the corporate world to help small business owners find the best talents to help them grow their businesses!

In this episode, we cover:

  • Shelly’s Flow Fridays
  • Women grappling with their titles
  • What it’s like to hire someone to perform your recent job
  • Why you need to be a marketer to find the best talents
  • The importance of effective team leadership meetings

To connect with Shelly,

BizChix Podcast

This episode is sponsored by TherapyNotes. TherapyNotes is an EHR software that helps behavioral health professionals manage their practice with confidence and efficiency. I use TherapyNotes in my own group practice and love its amazing support team, billing features, and scheduling capabilities. It serves us well as a large group practice owner.

Do you ever wish for a financial therapist who could relieve you from the last few months of bookkeeping, talk you off the edge when you’re running into issues with Quickbooks, or help you work through a profit plan for growth? GreenOak Accounting does just that! GreenOak Accounting is an accounting firm that specializes in working with group practices. Their value goes WAY beyond bookkeeping; they can help you get on track for financial success. Schedule a free consultation by going to


Maureen Werrbach

Hey everyone. Welcome to another episode of the group practice exchange podcast. Today is a really exciting episode because I have someone who I actually have never met before, but came highly recommended by someone on my team. Her name is Shelly Warren, and she is a leadership coach and a host of the podcast stacking your team.

She works at biz chicks and leverages her 26 years of experience leading projects and people at Proctor and gamble to help small business owners hire. Fire and inspire an incredible team of high performers. She is known for her teaching style, and her ability to connect with anyone and say the right thing in very delicate situations, which I know is a very hard thing for a lot of us therapists to do.

She lives in Canada, where she loves supporting women entrepreneurs across the globe and spends time with her daughter, Danielle, and grandbaby, Ellie on flow Fridays. Tell me what that. Well, one of the things that I was really excited about was when I retired from the corporate world. So I retired when I was 52.

I’m now 60. And in between that, what helped me retire as I had my own small business. So that gave me a lot of confidence and the ability to really think about leaving that lucrative career role to go and move into the world of entrepreneurship. So when I closed that business after about four years and join the biz chicks team, one of the things that I really wanted to factor into my next chapter was.

A shorter work week. So what I have now, I’m so blessed now because I have what I like to call flow Fridays and flow Fridays to me mean just that they flow. Flowy. And they can be a full day of, you know, meeting lunch with some girlfriends or doing light shopping or having I’m quite a spa junkie. So I often have spa treatments on Fridays or they are okay.

Oh yes. I’ve classes every Friday at nine o’clock yeah, I’m a huge fan. The self-help self-care treatments like high-quality treatments for your mental wellbeing and just, you know, your skin and everything else. But, so anyway, Fridays to me mean I have choices. It’s really all about choices. I can choose to work and use that day as a catch and spend the afternoon, with my daughter and her husband and Ellie, or I can choose to take the full day and babysit Ellie for the entire day.

Or I can choose that day to really connect with family and friends. But ideally, it’s all about having the choice. Yeah. The choice to be flowy and really lean in and be present on that day in whatever I want it to be. And it leads to my first question for you. When I was first learning about you and your expertise.

I was really excited about just a lot of different questions that I could ask, but because my episodes are very short and bite-sized, I am sticking to just a couple, but I wanted to get your thoughts on something that comes up a lot. In our industry for new group practice owners, but also those that are leaning into really feeling like they are starting to be established.

They might have a small team of people who have been group practice owners for a couple of years now and feel like they’re in this weird middle space in terms of their own identity on your thoughts of business owner versus CEO. Absolutely. So this is a common dilemma for women who happen to own a service-based business.

So these are the clients I work with every single day. And when they first come to start working with me, they do grapple with the actual title of who they are. And then what that meaning is for them. So I like to work with them, to shift from being a practitioner to a CEO, and oftentimes people will push back on the term CEO.

And so once I describe to them what that is, I’ll say to them, you know, if you are not the CEO of your business, who is right, it really is you and oftentimes people have. Like a low-grade idea or they identify with that in a negative way, because they think about CEOs as people that they see in the news.

Right? So it’s all the fabulous people that you hear about in the world, whether you like them or not. That’s really the idea that comes to mind. But what we’re trying to do here in the small business space is really shift that and make sure that more women are seen in these leadership roles. Mm-hmm including owning the business.

Future forecasting, creating an incredible impact in their local communities and having this ripple effect because they’re offering incredible work for these individuals that happen to be within their local communities. So that really is a CEO. And so what we start to do is we help them literally stop.

Providing services. Yeah. So, and we do that gradually where we create, it’s almost like an exit plan from having a full calendar of providing delivering services to moving more into either a V I P. You know, number of very important clients that you would wanna continue to serve. And then we actually, um, reduce that even more because the goal here is to get her out of delivering services every day and into serving her team, being the face of the brand.

Developing strategies to continue to develop the business mm-hmm and then really pouring into what, where is her truest? Highest value work. Yeah, let’s get her over there doing that more often than anything. So it is a journey and it really is a chest and a practice to have those, those women start to let go more and start to trust the people they hired to do what you hired them to do.

I think you touched on a couple of things that tend to be obstacles. And one is really being able to delegate in the true sense, meaning you’re giving them. Ownership of the things that they are in charge of and not micromanaging. And this idea comes up a lot for us because we go to school to be therapists or psychologists.

Um, most of us didn’t go to school to be business owners, or we didn’t go to get our MBAs to be an entrepreneur. And so just that kind of came. And so that point where our business is at a place it’s kind of this crossroads, where we realize that working with clients. Is taking us away from making the business as good as it can be that we get stuck in this middle place of feeling like we’re almost like a sellout because we’re now no longer doing the work ourselves and hiring other people to do it.

And so I see a lot of practice owners struggling with that is like, I went to school to do this really important work. And if I stop doing that work, what does that mean? What does that say about me? And that’s a really big struggle that a lot of us have, I haven’t seen clients for years now and just do all the visionary work for you and have a team of leaders who do everything from managing the business to hire, to leading all of that.

But it was a really long journey and something that’s very similar for a lot of people in my industry of really feeling guilty of not seeing. It’s such a common dilemma. A lot of women lose a lot of sleepovers and I like to disrupt their thinking by considering the fact that they’ve evolved.

Yeah. So that woman that you were when you first. Went to school when you first graduated, when you first welcomed your first paying client into your business, you’re no longer here. You have evolved so much. And in order to make an even bigger impact, you need to have other people around you who can double down on the service delivery, and then let you double down on building out the business and having a bigger impact on your C.

Yeah, yeah. On that note of, you know, stepping out of the role of providing the services and into the role of leading a team, one of the things that have become really difficult in our industry and probably in a lot of other industries since COVID is that hiring is really hard and. Everyone in our industry is sort of scrambling to figure out what are the best ways, best methods these days.

And things have changed with those methods on being able to get a great pool of candidates because. With telehealth, it’s become really easy to open up your own solo practice and do it from home, a very low cost. And so there are not as many applicants looking to work in a group practice when they can do that on their own.

And there’s such a high need right now for like a lot high client need that. It’s relatively easy to just. Sort of set up, let your fellow therapist friends know that you have some openings, and get some clients. And so that’s one of the things that practice owners are struggling with is figuring out a way to really shift on how they look for potential candidates.

Mm-hmm . Do you have any feedback on that? Sure. Well, the first thing that has to happen whenever we have this current race for talent that we’re all living in right now is as the CEO of your private practice, you need to now put on your marketing hat and you’re now going to become a marketer. Who’s positioning your practice and your team culture as this person’s next best career move?

So you really wanna talk to those potential candidates about what it is that you have to. and it’s not about describing, you know, this Google-type atmosphere where there are ping pong tables in the cafeterias, and someone’s coming to get your dry cleaning every week. What you wanna do is really describe what it is that you’re offering and talk about what they are struggling with.

Essentially people who are leaving roles or deciding they wanna start their own it’s because something’s missing in their current employment experience. So let’s talk about it. And I would suggest that all of you like you yourself, Maureen, and your listenership really develop two different job descriptions, like job postings for whatever platforms you’re going to post that jobs on one job posting are going to be targeted at the individual that thinks they wanna start their own group practice and then talk to them about.

How difficult that can be, and that you are here to take all that away from them. They no longer have to worry about opening up their own practice and you no longer have to deal with all the bells and whistles and the heavy lifting that’s required to create that group practice. What you are going to offer them is incredible people to work with internally and then incredible clients to work with.

I really like that one. Yeah. One job posting. For that individual. And then the next job posting is really talking to that individual that may already be working in a group practice. And for whatever reason, they’re not happy with it, or maybe they wanna relocate or maybe they want one of those. Role opportunities that give them a nice hybrid experience.

So they’re going to be in person for a few days of the week and then be able to do some telehealth. So you’re gonna target that and you’re really putting your marketing hat on. And speaking to that individual, both those people about what it is, what’s keeping them up at night. What is it that would help them feel when they come to work?

They’re doing an incredibly worthwhile day and what they would like to be under your leadership. I like that. So for those listening to get even more specific in, our industry, that first one is for those who might be thinking about starting a solo practice, right? Because it’s really easy to have a job description that really speaks to those people on what your group practice removes.

From their plate, because a lot of people who are thinking of starting a solo practice don’t realize the work that’s involved aside from seeing clients mm-hmm website, building, marketing, billing, answering phones, and doing intakes and all that. And so those are all things that every group practice, whether it’s a small practice that maybe doesn’t have funds to offer a ton of benefits or, you know, the highest pay possible, they’re definitely.

From the smallest practice to the most established one is going to be offering things that take away work non-client facing work, all that administrative work. Mm-hmm, that is a solo practitioner. Would have to do that, I think that’s a great one. And then the second one being for someone who either is working somewhere at another group practice or in our industry, it’s a lot of people who are moving from like the nonprofit world or hospital setting and wanting to get in the private practice where there’s more flexibility, less nine to five hours having a separate job description that you’re putting out for that.

I think that’s such a neat trick that way. I hadn’t even thought. Um, we’ll do both. Yeah. Do both collect all of those candidates. Mm-hmm and then I like to say, you know, hashtag always be hiring. So you’re going to be putting those applicants into three piles. Good. Better, best mm-hmm, and then you’re gonna follow through on the best mm-hmm and just keep following through with them being able to stay in contact with them and just really know that.

What you have to offer is incredibly worthwhile. Mm-hmm, it’s really about describing that to those two types of individuals and then welcoming them. I really love that. I wanna ask one more question and then I wanna circle back to how people can reach out to you if they are wanting extra support. So one of the things that you had put in when you were scheduling with me was why effective team meetings matter.

I know it feels a little different from the first two questions, but I wanna touch on it because it’s something that a lot of us are struggling with. I obviously, as you know, have Casey who’s yeah. Integrator. So she has incredible. Yep with that, but I want to actually get even more micro on this for those established group practice owners, listening.

I wanna get your feedback on effective leadership team meetings. So just focusing on the leadership team versus all of our clinicians, because in our industry, we don’t typically have many team meetings that include everyone because the clinicians are usually seeing clients and they might get some supervision meetings.

But these team meetings typically are designated for the leadership team. And oftentimes what I hear is it’s, you know, like those memes, having a meeting about a meeting, it goes nowhere. It’s a lot of talking, but not a lot of action. Talk a little bit about your thoughts on why obviously effective team meetings matter, any sort of feedback you have on making team meetings more effective?

Sure. Well, the first thing I wanna remind us all is that hosting a leadership team meeting is a privilege. Yeah. It’s a privilege that these individuals care enough about the work and the clientele. And they adore you and that’s why they’re staying on the team. Yeah. But we can’t become complacent with that.

Yeah. So we wanna make sure that when we’re hosting these leadership team meetings, there’s always an intention. There’s always a drumbeat of these meetings, meaning they happen on a set. Frequency. And there’s a rhythm to that. And what that does is it helps people know in advance. When is the next leadership team meeting and why should I be there?

And let’s look at the agenda that’s outlined for it. And all agendas for leadership team meetings need to be designed to actually create an outcome. Let’s get something done. Yeah. If you were to calculate how much like what the value is of having your leadership team come together. That is going to be a high number as well.

Why? I think this is such a privilege to host these meetings if you’re pulling those team members away from what you hired them to do. Exactly. So therefore there’s a break in their highest value work. Mm-hmm. And they’re coming, they’re stopping what they’re doing and they’re gonna come and, and spend some time with you as a leadership team meeting.

So, first of all, it’s a privilege to host these team meetings. Second of all, they need to be on a drumbeat. Thirdly, you as a CEO do not need to host all of these leadership team meetings. It’s actually more fun. And beneficial to have set portions of your agenda that are led by other people. And, and the reason why that’s so valuable is everyone gets to see another leader in action.

Yeah. You get to see different styles of leadership. You get to see how this position. How she positions herself or how she’s really guiding us. And it really adds value to the whole leadership team to be able to get a taste of other people’s leadership styles. And then of course it really does build respect and professionalism across the entire leadership team.

So think about how you could take that time that you’re together and really add in some. Add in some transparency, like we really wanna talk about the state of the business. What are the compelling business needs right now for this month and for this quarter? And then my other favorite thing about, you know, what really creates a compelling team meeting is that someone is managing the time someone is facilitating.

Including having multiple facilitators and then someone scribing the notes. But the best thing about the notes is the action planning. Yeah. So I like to call that who’s got the R for that. We oftentimes get in a meeting situation and we’re brainstorming and all these wonderful things are coming out.

And this person’s trying to capture notes, but what we fall down is we don’t put a timeline to it or someone’s name attached. So who’s got the R for that, meaning who’s taking responsibility? Mm-hmm to take that next action step and move it to the next step. And then when are they gonna circle back and give us an update for it?

So when people see. When we come together, we really do make things happen. Mm-hmm in a professional way and we’re not just talking about it. We’re not just brainstorming. We really are putting some action plans into place and someone is going to lead those action plans. Why wouldn’t you wanna go to one of those meetings, right?

Yeah. I’ll end with something that my HR consultant, uh, suggested that it’s been really helpful for our leadership meetings, which is rating them at the end and saying on a scale of one to five, how did you feel about today’s meeting? And I think this is something that could be helpful for anyone, even if they’re not.

Having successful team meetings, cuz it might prompt you to actually look at how to make your team meetings more successful is to have them at the end of it be like, how was today’s meeting for you on a scale of one to five? And if you’re getting a lot of ones and twos, you know that people on your leadership team aren’t valuing the way that team meetings are being run, they might.

Point to a lack of, you know, people taking responsibility for things or accountability or action, and it can be a great way to prompt. Cause a lot of times what we might think is a great meeting isn’t necessarily what everyone else thinks is a great meeting. And so we’ve implemented that and it’s really been a great way to see, okay, anything that’s below a three or three or below, what do we need to do differently?

What’s causing that. And we can use that then to implement change in the following meeting. Sure. And then when you ask for feedback, we need to be open to receiving it. Yes. You need to be that professional. That’s willing to listen to the critique and then put some actions towards it as well. Yeah. Always be just it’s that whole idea of continual improvement.

We wanna make sure that your leadership team. I mean, these are incredible, highly valued people that you have in the business. We need to make time to pour into them, but we wanna pour into them positively. So they feel like they’re growing. They feel like they’re really having an impact with the business and they feel like their point of view really, really does matter.

Yeah, exactly. I really appreciate the feedback that you’ve given to our listeners today. If there is anyone that’s listening that wants to get more information about you, where can they? They can always tune in to the stacking, your team podcast, which airs every Tuesday. I’ve been hosting that now for over four years.

And that’s the sister podcast. To Natalie adults, biz JS podcast, which she’s been hosting for over eight years now, but I know that your listeners are podcast fans. So I would love them to come over and tune into the stacking, your team podcast. And that’s where people really come to learn about how to be that leader, that the business and their team need them to be.

And then, of course, I share lots of mini training and clients from our leadership lab program too. So happy to have you over there, tuning in on Tuesday. Awesome. Thank you so much for joining me today. And it was really nice to meet you. Yeah, you as well, Marie, keep doing what you’re doing. You’re doing an incredible service too.

All. Thank you too. You too. All right, have a good one. You too. Bye now. Bye. 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. Join the exchange, a membership community just for group practice owners with monthly office hours, live webinars, and a library of training.

Ready for you to dive into visit www dot members dot the group. Practice See you next week.

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

* I am an affiliate for some of the businesses I recommend. These are companies that I use in my own group practice, and make recommendations based off of my experience with them. When you use some of these companies through my links, I receive compensation, which helps me continue to offer great free information on my podcast, blog, Facebook group, and website.

Related Episodes

13 MIN

Episode 127 | Tracking New Metrics for the New Year

36 MIN

Episode 46: Getting Quality Notes from Your Staff with Dr. Maelisa Hall

14 MIN

Episode 48: Bringing on Provisionally Licensed Therapists and Interns


Episode 142 | 5 CEO Mindset Hacks

29 MIN

Episode 192 | Dealing with Therapist Burnout with Kelly + Miranda from Zynnyme


Episode 135 | COVID HIPAA Considerations with Person Centered Tech

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.

Don’t miss an episode! Download The Group Practice Exchange Podcast on iTunes, Stitcher or Google Play and don’t forget to subscribe and rate TGPE

* The content of this post is intended to serve as general advice and information. It is not to be taken as legal advice and may not account for all rules and regulations in every jurisdiction. For legal advice, please contact an attorney.

Subscribe To The Podcast

On your favorite player