Top 3 Things for a Successful Morning Huddle

 Bring it in! Huddle up!

I love nothing more than a close game. Whether it’s a buzzer beater or a Hail Mary 40 yard pass to the end zone for a last second touchdown, I love the excitement of those final moments.

Rarely are those moments off the cuff or random. They usually require repetition and execution day in and day out in practice. The Coach’s playbook is full of multiple scenarios and trick plays waiting for the perfect moment when the game gets down to the wire. Next thing you know, the Coach calls a timeout and everyone huddles around to see what the big play is going to be.

In that brief huddle, morale is boosted, excitement is generated and everyone is on the same page.

Morning huddles within your dental practice should be the same.

The goal of the morning huddle is to create a moment of collaboration where the whole team can come together to review the schedule for the day and discuss vital patient information aimed at increasing productivity and overall efficiency within the practice through effective communication. The last thing you want to do is drop the ball or miss out on an opportunity to best serve your patients and your practice.

There are a few vital aspects to a successful morning huddle.

The format of the huddle. The huddle needs to start promptly at the same exact time every morning and last for a designated length of time. Morning huddles are not meant to be office meetings and should not extend beyond 15-20 minutes. They are meant to be brief and to the point. The best way to make sure they remain brief is to have everyone standing. Standing tall creates significant chemical changes within the body that lower stress levels and increase performance. It also prevents the huddle from lingering by creating a sense of urgency. People get antsy when they have to stand around for too long.

The facilitator of the huddle. Whether you decide to take turns or have the same facilitator every morning, the responsibility of the person leading needs to be the same. They need to start the meeting on time, make sure the conversations align with the agenda, and create a sense of team accountability among the practice. Essentially, a good facilitator is dedicated to the regular rhythm of the meeting.

The agenda of the huddle. There needs to be a clear and organized agenda. Your team needs to be reading the same playbook, so to speak, and be able to understand the key points being discussed (Ex: patients coming in, unscheduled treatment, insurance coverage questions, same-day-dentistry opportunities, etc.) and the order in which they are presented. Agendas need to be accessible and completed prior to the morning huddle. This helps create personal accountability for all team members and an opportunity for them to feel heard. Any side conversations or roadblocks should be discussed directly with the person(s) involved AFTER the huddle has concluded. Solving issues typically requires debate, discussion, and a thorough review of all options prior to making a decision. Don’t eat up the morning huddle with big issues. Instead, conclude your huddle with highlights from the previous day. This can help energize your team and make them excited for the day ahead.

Implementing a morning huddle will be a game changer for your practice, if you don’t already have one in place. However, like most great skills, it takes practice and repetition before it becomes a habit. I’ll finish with one last cliché sports quote by Wayne Gretzky, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” What do you have to lose? Take the shot. Implement a morning huddle and watch your practice win.

– Kelly Sullivan, RDH

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