Dr. Larry Beer is The President of Child and Family Psychological Services which will be celebrating 30 years in 2019. They currently have 43 licensed therapists on staff. He’s also a licensed psychologist licensed professional counselor and sees 25 clients per week. Dr. Beer is an adjunct professor at Western Michigan University and a fellow of two divisions of APA and the former president of division 51.
Things have been going really well for Larry and his group practice but he advises that one of the things that happen when things are going well is to kind of rest on your laurels. And you don’t realize that sometimes unexpected things can happen and an unexpected thing there and it really challenged him on a number of levels.
We’re so focused on just building practices I don’t know if we focus enough on what do we do when what we’re building really takes a hit from one thing or another. How do I recover.
Early last year Larry found out that seven associates were going to be leaving to start their own practice. That was really close to 25 percent of his production in his Kalamazoo office. Larry has the larger offices in Kalamazoo where there are 27 therapy offices and he has a satellite office in Portage where there are six therapy offices. He started questioning why they would leave as he felt that he was really good and tried his best to support them. Larry was feeling really hurt and scared, wondering if everyone was going to be leaving him. It took a while to catch up with himself and renounce himself on an emotional level. There was also the strategic level, he didn’t want this to be happening but what was he going to do about it.
Dealing with The Emotions
Larry had to go through his own grieving process. The people who were leaving were people he really cared for. On the other hand, he also felt a sense of hurt, betrayal, and fear. He started wondering how he had failed them. These were all the emotions Larry had to navigate through with fear being the big one. The people who stayed really supported him and he didn’t know what to expect because he didn’t see the first thing coming.
Keeping Employees Happy
It’s become easier for people to work independently, they don’t need the licensed psychologists like they once did. Part of being a practice owner is constantly evaluating how to make being at this group practice easier or more appealing than going out and starting their own business. With this in mind, Larry tries to not take anything for granted, make people feel appreciated and recognize the efforts. By giving employees opportunities to be connected to the practice and connect with their colleagues.
Larry’s practice was just selected by the local Chamber of Commerce Organization for being one of the outstanding places to work in the whole Kalamazoo area.
Doing Things Differently
The people that are left are really there for the long haul and so sometimes I think when people leave it’s a chance to really continue to double down on the environment we’re trying to create here.
Larry had to be really transparent by letting the other associates know what was happening and that he appreciated their loyalty. Now he is also finding really cool opportunities for the practice to participate in, they also have had a picnic that everyone’s families are invited to.
Larry said he wanted to do the best he could with what he could control and he put out advertisements about the opportunity to bring new people on board. He told some of the associates who reached out to some of their friends, they went through the interviewing process where he met people and unfortunately couldn’t select everybody.
Finding People That Are The Best Fit
These were the things that were really important to look for when Larry was hiring new people:
- Community oriented
If someone can produce a lot of money but they’re toxic to be around, that’s going to outweigh the production. Larry also developed an orientation manual to get them oriented with the practice, he provided mentoring and encouraging them to find mentors.
Advice Larry would Give Himself
Trust in yourself, we don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow but know that you’re resilient and you’re resourceful. You have the ability if things go wrong, to go and find ways through it, and possibly even in some ways may make your place better. Just trust in yourself.
Importance of Time Outside of Work
We have great work, there’s a lot of meaning in terms of people coming in and talking to us and us being there to help guide them to have better lives. It’s just a really special work that we’re in, but it’s really important to remember that our work is there to support our life outside of work.
Larry has always believed this and values family time highly.
Joseph R. Sanok, MA, LLP, LPC, NCC
Joe Sanok is an ambitious results expert. He is a private practice business consultant and counselor that helps small businesses and counselors in private practice to increase revenue and have more fun! He helps owners with website design, vision, growth, and using their time to create income through being a private practice consultant. Joe was frustrated with his lack of business and marketing skills when he left graduate school. He loved helping people through counseling but felt that often people couldn’t find him. Over the past few years, he has grown his skills, income, and ability to lead others, while still maintaining an active private practice in Traverse City, MI. To link to Joe’s Google+.