I have always been a big proponent of morning meetings in the practice, but I have to admit that I have developed an even greater appreciation for just how valuable they are since I have been working on material for our Spear Practice Solutions platform. In particular, we have developed a series of video lessons centered around what we call the Perfect Day.

dental practice team meetings

Most dentists have up days and down days, and tend to feel that which one they’re going to get when they come through the door in the morning is largely a matter of luck. Our Perfect Day scenario is designed to show that great days can be predictably created and consistently achieved - that your future is always curated in the now through your effective use of scheduling, through the actions you take with your “court sense” throughout the day, and yes, by having well-executed morning meetings.

When it’s done right, a 15-minute morning huddle meeting can be a very powerful team alignment tool. An effective morning meeting helps you focus on the now and provide important context for the team about the day ahead. It’s where you share timely intelligence and get aligned on the actions that drive your performance goals.

To make your morning meeting all those things, you need to know three things:

Know what to leave out

Let’s start with what a morning meeting should not be. It's not about “verifying” today’s schedule, and it’s not about double-checking that people are going to do their jobs - that should all be understood already.

Neither is it about discussing every patient who is coming in that day. If you do that, your morning meeting will be an hour long.

Also, a morning meeting is not about the team showing up and listening to one person talk. A great morning meeting requires everyone to prepare in advance and share information with the rest of the team. This is about full participation; nobody has a backseat role here.

In other words, it's about sharing and compounding the knowledge you all have, in order to add more value to the patient visit.

Know what to focus on

conducting productive dental team meetings

So what do you cover in the morning meeting? That can be boiled down to two words: exceptions and opportunities.

Exceptions are things you and the team need to be aware of in advance so you can deal with them appropriately. It could be a lab case that was promised for first thing today but has not arrived (you don’t want the patient showing up only to be rescheduled).

It could be a patient with special needs, or a patient who hasn’t been in for hygiene in over two years but is coming in today because they’re in pain. This is a patient whose behaviors need to be influenced so they come in regularly and concerns can be diagnosed before they become urgencies. Identifying exceptions is about proactively dealing with potential roadblocks.

Opportunities are the other side of this coin. An opportunity might be knowing that there is open time for the doctor in the afternoon, so the team should look for patients with unaccepted treatment needs to re-communicate and possibly schedule to begin today.

It could be talking to a patient about clinical esthetic dentistry because they expressed an interest in whitening when they last scheduled their hygiene appointment. Or maybe it’s a patient who needs significant treatment but has resisted going ahead in the past. What if today is the day they decide to move forward?

A big part of seizing opportunities is preparing to be ready for when the patient is ready.

Once you learn what to look for in terms of exceptions and opportunities, it’s actually quite easy to prepare and conduct a great meeting of no longer than 15 minutes where all the necessary information is shared and the team strategizes around specific items or patients where appropriate.

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Know where you go from here

Because of the way it provides this clarity, a good morning meeting gives the doctor and team something really important as you move ahead with the day: peace of mind in knowing that the important areas of patient focus are accounted for. There is a time for looking ahead, and this is it. Once everyone has that focus and sense of direction, it becomes much easier to be in the moment with each patient.

And when you are fully and completely “in the now,” you are far more likely to take advantage of opportunities that present themselves; opportunities that you otherwise might miss in the busyness of a day, such as spending time with that emergency patient who, with the right attention, could become your next great case.

In that sense, the morning meeting has a vital role to play. It helps set the tone for the day by getting everyone quickly briefed, focused and ready to go.

And by giving you the security of knowing what you need to know, it also gives you the freedom to discover the things you don’t know yet. It gives you the freedom to think big.

Of course, putting together a tight 15 minutes of focus requires some preparation, but not as much as you might think. It is usually a matter of simply scanning the daysheet a day in advance with an eye for those exceptions and opportunities.

And if you are a member of a service such as Spear Practice Solutions, that process becomes even easier, as you can quickly and easily pull the data you need to give you this kind of vital direction.

Many of our clients have found this approach to daily meetings - and, indeed, the entire concept of the Perfect Day as we present it in the Practice Solutions platform - to be absolutely transformative when it comes to simplifying their lives and amplifying their success. If you want to find out more about how to program more “perfect days” into your practice, and how a service like Spear Practice Solutions can help you do that, I encourage you to visit our site and see for yourself what is possible.

(Click this link to read more dental practice management articles by Imtiaz Manji.)

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