Do you have a regular morning meeting with the team each day? I know some dentists who have tried it and given up on the idea, saying they didn’t find it a productive use of time. There are others who continue to do it every day, but if they were being honest with themselves would admit that they are really going through the motions and not getting much out of it.
But when it is done right, a morning huddle meeting can be a very effective and useful tool – one that is essential to the smooth operation of a thriving dental practice. Here’s why:
It helps you focus on the now. And it’s by focusing diligently on the now that you build the right future. That’s true when it comes to things like saving for retirement, and it’s true in the practice. The actions you take in today’s schedule with today’s patients will determine the kind of patient success – and the kind of schedule – you will have tomorrow. And making sure you are taking those right actions today starts with having a strategically focused team meeting.
It provides important context for the team. Dental practices live and die by the schedule, and this leads to what I call the “compartment mindset.” The day starts, the first patient arrives, and everybody goes to their corners and is nose-down, doing what they need to do to keep things moving and on schedule. A morning meeting is your opportunity for everyone to have a heads-up before they put their heads down and get to work. It gives the team context and helps them see how their work fits into the bigger perspective.
It’s where you share timely intelligence. Patients don’t just deal with the dentist, or the hygienist, or any one person on the team individually. Multiple people interact with the patient at each visit, so everyone needs to be on the same page. If there are any issues with a patient, everyone needs to know that. And they need to know it before the patient arrives. Often there isn’t opportunity to discuss sensitive concerns about a patient while the patient is in the practice. (Click the link to learn about the five types of patients in every dental practice.)
It keeps you on target with practice goals. Every vision-based practice has goals. Many of those goals are intermediate or long-term goals, but they all need attention on a daily basis to the strategies that are going to drive them. It’s too late at the end of the day to think about what you should have done to influence case acceptance or patient retention or economic goals – you need to have a plan of attack going in so you can course-correct on the fly if necessary.
So those are the key reasons you should be huddling with your team every morning. This is why teams huddle before a game: to get their heads in the right space, to reinforce strategy and to instill that winning mindset. Coaches and other team leaders know the importance of this. As a leader of your own team, you should, too. As for how your huddle meetings should be conducted, I’ll have more to say on that in upcoming article.
(If you enjoyed this practice management article, click here for more by Imtiaz Manji.)