There are a few things, without which, I absolutely cannot have a productive day in dentistry. A morning huddle with my entire team to examine the day that lies ahead is one such thing I could never do without. Where are my morning people at? Raise your Starbucks cup high for me. I may try to be in bed before 9:00 pm most nights (thank you, toddlers), but I’m up before the sun just to enjoy every minute of my morning because it’s when I’m most useful and productive. When it comes to my morning huddle in my practice of dentistry, I’m no less enthusiastic.
If you don’t run a morning huddle yet (don’t worry, you will by the end of this blog post), I’ll catch you up to speed. A morning huddle is a brief fifteen-minute meeting with your team before your first patients arrive at the start of your day. The purpose of a morning huddle is to get your whole team on the same page for the day, work out any potential obstacles to avoid chaotic moments, look for opportunities to add more production to your day, and prepare for tomorrow’s schedule.
You can create any style or flow of morning huddle that fits your team and practice, but I’m giving you my six essentials to a productive morning huddle that played a large role in my practice reaching six-figure months. Consider this a cup of coffee, on the house.
1. Start with “good morning.”
A warm greeting to your team members goes a long way. No yawning, grumbling about the rain, or bad moods allowed at the morning huddle table. You set the tone for this meeting, doctor, and this meeting sets the tone for your entire day. Greet each team member by name, say “good morning,” and look alive- it’s about to be a highly productive day!
2. Celebrate yesterday’s victories.
Whether yesterday was one of your best or not, acknowledge the little wins at the start of huddle. Thank a team member who went out of their way to turn over a room without being asked or stayed late to accommodate a patient who walked in with an emergency at 5:00. Did you unexpectedly start an Invisalign case yesterday and add thousands of dollars in production to your day? That’s fantastic! Celebrate the victories, both big and small to get your team amped up for yet another great day.
3. Share today’s production goal with the team.
Don’t forget that your practice of dentistry is a business, doctor. In order to keep your doors open to help as many patients as you can, your practice will need to bring in revenue. Set a monthly production goal that is challenging yet achievable, and then divide your goal by the number of days you are open to see patients that month to give you a daily goal. Repeat this daily goal at the beginning of huddle every morning- this number should be one that your entire team is aware of and working toward. Every single member of your team is responsible for helping the practice achieve the daily goal, not just the licensed providers.
4. Follow a script.
Do morning huddle the same way, every single day for maximum results. Assistants and hygienists should read through their patients in the same order every day so that everyone knows when it’s their turn to talk (in my practice, my assistant reads my schedule first, followed by the hygienists). It may sound monotonous, but it will become a comforting routine that your team will look forward to.
5. Ask your team to spot potential hiccups and opportunities in the day.
Your hygienist might remember that your last patient of the day always shows up fifteen minutes late. Your assistant may recall a patient who was extra difficult to numb. And Mrs. Jones—she always forgets to take her pre-medication before her appointment. Ask your team to scan the schedule and look for patients who might add a little unneeded chaos to the day. On the flip side, look for opportunities to knock it out of the park, too. Maybe a patient coming in for a cleaning needs a nightguard and you just so happen to have time to take the impressions after her appointment. I’ve found that there are several opportunities each day to make the day better if you take another look.
Bonus: Get a jump start on tomorrow.
Bring printed copies of tomorrow’s schedule to briefly examine tomorrow’s schedule in order to get a head start on making it a productive day. Point out openings in the schedule that may be able to be filled with today’s proposed treatment. Are you scheduled under goal for tomorrow? What can be done to improve the production? For the same reason I lay out my three-year-old’s clothes for preschool the next day and set my coffee maker to go off at 6:00 am before I go to bed, take this step to simply make your day easier tomorrow.
Morning huddle has been a key system that has made my practice of dentistry both easier and more productive over the last six years. It’s the perfect way to encourage team building while also putting together a day that is smooth and free of chaos. Start using these six essentials and it won’t be long before you look forward to your morning huddle as much as that first sip of coffee.