Kathryn Taccone, founder of OpenPixel Studios, shares how she and her team have thrived through working with a business therapist, and advocates for other business owners to consider the same. OpenPixel Studios is a WBENC-Certified WBE that creates innovative animation and motion graphics services for brands.
Building a business with a team comes with its fair share of challenges and victories. Many of those challenges come from the need for constant, clear communication. However, we’re all people with individual challenges and stressors that impact our daily lives. Our conversational skills require consistent work to keep the communication channels clear.
Sometimes we seek outside, professional help from a therapist to address our personal challenges, for our mental health and well-being. With countless resources for how to identify the best therapist for your individual needs, it begs the question: If we seek professional help for ourselves, can’t we also seek help for our businesses?
As owners, managers, and leaders, we have a responsibility to our teams to address our feelings and ideas effectively. Oftentimes, pushing through an issue quickly can create more problems than solutions. This is where outside help, specifically from a business therapist, can be your greatest asset.
As our own therapist, Suzanne Slater tells us, “Business therapy is a new and evolving practice within businesses, which bridges a gap between traditional business consultants and a personal therapist.”
Business therapy offers to address unique group challenges, including:
- Communication between colleagues
- Understanding the roles and relationships each individual has and shares with one another
- Joint decision making
- Managing disagreements
- Choosing and maintaining the tone of the work environment
In this practice, you are actively committing to embrace moments of vulnerability with your team. This in turn, “..creates paths for growth both for the individual business leaders and for the organization as an entity.” – Suzanne Slater.
What does a typical therapy session look like?
The therapist may first assess with each participant the individual challenges they face within the company, to identify key areas for the team’s improvement. While establishing topics of conversation are up to the team, your therapist can help assist and guide you through them. It’s important to know that unlike personal therapy, discussions focus less on exploring origins of personal challenges. Instead, they lean towards conversations around work-based problem solving.
According to Slater, “It is important to give the activity enough clarity so that participants know what to expect, what they are agreeing to engage in, and what outcomes are being offered. This gives the consultant a clear enough idea in this unique role to know what to offer, promise, and lead the participants through as well.”
A few example topics include:
- Feeling unheard in meetings
- Navigating unexpected challenges within the company
- Trying to create an process that everyone can agree on
How does therapy bring return on investment (ROI)?
The time you invest in therapy has daily applications. You’ll learn new techniques throughout your sessions, allowing you to solve business problems faster because the team has gained understanding and perspective on what others are feeling and caring about in real time. This can cause a chain reaction of good decisions and conversations that make daily work more enjoyable and often more productive!
Imagine that you’re at a work meeting that takes a bad turn because of an unforeseen conflict. You have, at that moment, a new set of options: Help navigate the conversation to resolve the issue in the moment, or acknowledge that the conflict needs more time to address. There’s power in knowing when a conflict is more appropriately solved with an outside party.
Business therapy can be difficult. Teammates need to be open to potential change. However, the benefits can not be understated. You’re uncovering hidden productivity costs and gaining new knowledge about yourself and your team to help improve behaviors, communications, and overall company morale.
This is what ultimately increases productivity, and no software, automation system, or personal health app can give you the same results!