A dental practice morning huddle is the single most important meeting you’ll have with your team. It’s essential to the success of your practice. How can you make sure you’re making the most of this powerful tool?

The key to making these quick standup meetings a success starts with understanding why they’re so valuable. 

Why is a dental practice morning huddle so valuable?

The huddle is not to plan your week or projects – that’s what your other meetings are for. The goal in holding a huddle is see what everyone’s day looks like so that performance and morale can be improved. How will you achieve success in your position on the team? Sometimes this is directed by the quarterback and sometimes it’s a team member seeing an opportunity and sharing that with the rest of the team.

3 practice-tested ways to improve your dental practice morning huddle.

  1. Stand. If your team isn’t standing during your huddle, try doing so. Standing will help keep the huddle short, the team more engaged and on point. There’s an urgency that’s created when your team stands instead of sits. The meeting feels more important, more energetic, more focused.

2. Encourage Participation. Who participates in the huddle? EVERYONE. Your huddle isn’t for staff training or a lecture or a “vent” session. It’s a time where everyone comes together for one common purpose: to celebrate and to plan. Some practices only have 1-2 of their team members assigned to lead and direct the huddle. Of course, someone needs to guide the discussion, but when one person does all the talking, generally one person is making all the decisions, one person is following through on all the assignments, one person is trying to solve all the problems – and eventually, that one person is burned out. Wise leaders encourage every team member to participate. Use your tools and have fun with your huddle. Each person should understand their position on the team, understand what they’re going to do that day to ensure that the team reaches its goals, and should have something specific to share about how they’ll contribute.  

3. Be Guided By Discussion Items. What you discuss in your morning huddle will vary based on what your team needs, but the purpose of the morning huddle is always the same: To identify and discuss how you will reach your performance goals for the day.  These goals may be specific metrics, patient care, culture and so forth.  Remember, we huddle to discuss how each team member will do their part and what their part is in accomplishing your goals.   

Review a simple morning huddle process that successful dental practices use

There is absolutely one thing we see in common with highly successful practices across the county – they are all holding an effective daily huddle. Here’s a simple morning huddle process that we’ve seen executed by many of these successful practices. 

Step 1: What did you accomplish yesterday/last week? 

When looking at team and individual performance, it’s important that you take this opportunity to motivate and not to discourage or punish.  Never use numbers as a weapon. Everyone wants to do well. No one wants to fail. Celebrate the good and coach those struggling individually so they can also improve.

Step 2: Review Today’s Performance Opportunity

Are you scheduled to your production goals?  If not, what opportunities are available to help get you there? If you are on track, what needs to occur to ensure you reach those goals? Again, your huddle isn’t the place to solve problems.  Why? There just isn’t time. Identify a problem? Yes. And then, during the next huddle the resolution can be covered. 

Step 3: Review Today’s Schedule. 

This is also not the time to talk about what procedures are going to be done or what needs to be set up in the ops.  This should have already taken place.  Again, this is your opportunity to discover and discuss any unscheduled opportunities. Example: What treatment needs to be completed to get Susan healthy? What family members does she have who are not scheduled to come back into the practice? Use your huddle to review the treatment needs for each patient and decide who will capture those opportunities.

Step 4: Review Tomorrow’s Schedule. 

Very similar process to ‘Today’s Schedule,’ above, except now you can be more proactive in ensuring that tomorrow is scheduled to your goal.  Not there yet? Use your huddle to find out why and what can be done to get there so that when you show up for tomorrow’s huddle you are already scheduled to success.  Remember, trying to resolve issues during this standup meeting is NOT the optimal approach. Problem-solving gets done after the huddle. The meeting simply identifies the roadblock to achieving your goal(s).

Step 5: Motivate & Celebrate. 

Take a minute or two to share something inspiring, something motivational. We all need encouragement in life and especially at work. This may seem optional, but in fact it may be the most important part of all. Team members will remember how they felt when the huddle ended more than how they felt when it began. And make sure to celebrate individual and team successes, no matter how “small.”

Convinced that your dental practice morning huddle can contribute to the success of the practice now?

Once an effective morning huddle is organized, team members will have the opportunity to contribute to the success of the practice. You will move beyond just maintaining the business to experiencing true growth and opportunity. The members on your team come from different backgrounds and each member brings a diverse assortment of experiences. Don’t wait for an office manager or practice owner to give direction. Talk openly with each other, listen to each other, and respect each other’s contributions to the team. 

Now, go and huddle together, discuss together and work together as never before to take ownership of your role in helping your team achieve your goals and vision. You’ll love the impact this will have on your practice, your team, and most importantly, your patients.

If you’d like to learn more about how to hold an effective huddle, Dental Intelligence is here to help!