Why is the morning huddle important? Most of us do it, but why?
Traditionally, the morning huddle for a dental office is a time before the work day begins to review what's on hand for that day. This has worked well for dentists in the past but is it still the best use of your's and your team's time?
A morning huddle should be a time to focus on what's ahead as a team. Going beyond that day but also for the week, month, and quarter. Review your goals, encourage and inspire your team to reach them. Having your entire team together should be something you use to your advantage to help grow your practice.
Re-defining the Morning Huddle
As we said, the morning huddle has been traditionally used to go over what's happening that day. This is not optimizing your time and isn't instilling trust and confidence in your staff. Create a plan and agenda for your morning huddles with a specific goal in mind.
The top 6 things you should be reviewing are:
- Goal progress/deadlines
- What the team is doing well
- Where there is a growth opportunity
Highly trained staff that are appreciated and are invested in the practice don't need a traditional morning huddle. They come in ready to go. This means they've been trained and equipped to perform their duties confidently and without supervision.
Empowerment comes from ownership. Ownership comes from responsibility and the ability to take on more responsibility should come with training.
Morning Huddle Training
If your team is in need of training, your morning huddle is a great opportunity. Begin transitioning from only review to training by reviewing the day and picking a scenario from what's on the schedule.
Morning Huddle Example: You're reviewing the schedule and you see that Sally is coming in the door for a crown that is $1,200. But her insurance is out of contract so it only covers potentially $1,000 of her treatment.
Ask your team: "How are we going to make up the gap of $200?"
Assign roles to different team members, who will play Sally, who will be front office and so on.
Doing this accomplishes the goal of preparing and empowering your staff for these scenarios. It also builds appreciation and encouragement from the rest of the staff. Departments can cross over a lot but it doesn't mean they truly see what the other has to do on a daily basis. This can open up a discussion to see how other departments can help each other out.
Doing a role play allows you, the dentist, to evaluate how your staff handles situations. If more training is needed, a weekend or extended training are other great options.
Task Management For Your Dental Team
It's time to start using task management systems. A task management system is a smart to-do list. Though we do not think tasks should be gone over in your morning huddle, it's valuable for your staff to know what's on task for today.
If your practice is booked out at least 2 weeks in advance, your staff should easily be able to have 2 weeks worth of to-do lists booked out as well.
We understand that things do come up and change throughout the days and weeks that won't be planned. When the schedule gets changed, the office manager should be updating everyone's task lists, if possible, or this can be reviewed in the morning huddle.
Task lists create clearly defined daily goals, and accountability if they are happening or not. As the doctor, it's easy to just look at what's suppose to be happening and see if it's taking place. Your team can also see where there may need to be a change of who is doing what or if it needs to be done at all.
These lists should be reviewed every day before the morning huddle in case there are questions or concerns.
More Ways to Improve your Morning Huddle
Remember to mix it up in your morning. No matter how good a routine is, a routine can still become disinteresting or monotonous. Bring a twist once in a while to bring life into your morning huddle.
Ideas for mixing up your Morning Huddle
- Affirm and encourage employees who are killing it.
- Provide donuts and coffee!
- Do a dental pop quiz with prizes.
- Discuss upcoming bonuses and what your employees are excited for.
- Let individuals or departments lead the huddle.
- Break up the team by the department and let them have their own huddle.
- Remind and inspire your team.
- Pick a weekly theme to focus on.
Increase Daily Productivity
Your morning huddle is setting your team to be proactive, not reactive. The more organized your staff is from your morning huddle, the more likely you will increase practice productivity.
Morning Huddles, if done right, are relevant, short, planned for and compensated. Ensure all meetings have a clear direction and desired outcome. Don't let them drag out or bunny trail away from your initial plan. Have your morning huddle scheduled into the practice's work day. For example: If the practice opens at 9:00am your staff should be in at 8:30am and your huddle is at 8:45am. The time in your morning huddle should be so valuable you are willing to pay for your staff to set aside the additional time investment.
Remember the morning huddle is an opportunity for a positive connection. It's how you start your day...so set a great tone!