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How’s Your Morning Huddle?

morning huddle

If 2020 stretched you and your team like never before, and you’re ready to experience real growth in the coming year, where should you begin? Making resolutions and setting goals at the beginning of a new year is a common practice for many of us and is certainly a worthwhile effort. But is there a better approach to achieving the results we are hoping for, whether personally or professionally?

According to James Clear, best-selling author of Atomic Habits, “Goals are good for planning your progress and systems are good for actually making progress. Goals can provide direction and even push you forward in the short-term, but eventually a well-designed system will always win. Having a system is what matters. Committing to the process is what makes the difference.” In other words, having goals is good but insufficient. If we want to experience real, sustained growth, we need to look at our systems, i.e., the processes by which we make progress towards a goal or objective. In Clear’s words, “The purpose of setting goals is to win the game. The purpose of building systems is to continue playing the game. True long-term thinking is goal-less thinking. It’s not about any single accomplishment. It is about the cycle of endless refinement and continuous improvement. Ultimately, it is your commitment to the process that will determine your progress.”

With these ideas in mind, let’s talk about one of the most important systems in your dental practice: The morning huddle. It could be argued that a consistent, effective morning huddle (or lack thereof) can make all the difference in your dental practice’s health and performance. As shared in an earlier article here on the Open Dental blog, dental practices who participate daily in a morning huddle, on average, outproduce practices that don’t by 30%! If that statistic isn’t enough to inspire you to hold a daily huddle, then perhaps this will be: Our analysis of thousands of dental practices has also revealed that a morning huddle has a profound impact on the culture and level of job satisfaction experienced by team members. This is especially true when those team members feel they have a meaningful role in the huddle, rather than simply listening passively to an owner or office manager run the meeting.

In his book Drive, The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, author Daniel Pink shares the unexpected results of two studies that reveal the inner workings of what influences our behavior – and it’s not money. “Autonomy, or the desire to be self-directed; Mastery, or the itch to keep improving at something that’s important to us; and Purpose, the sense that what we do produces something transcendent or serves something meaningful beyond than ourselves.” In relation to holding an effective, impactful morning huddle, these three motivators are key to engaging your team. Rather than simply reviewing the schedule and the names and needs of patients coming in that day, taking the time during your huddle to celebrate individual performance and overall progress toward team goals will make a big difference in your success. It’s also vital that they have a meaningful role in the meeting, rather than simply being told what happened the day before and what’s scheduled to happen today or tomorrow.

One other aspect of holding a morning huddle that’s worthy of mention: Identifying same-day dentistry opportunities. Using a solution like Dental Intelligence’s morning huddle can quickly reveal open spots on your schedule and help you fill those holes with the right patients. Additionally, you can also see unscheduled treatment for the patients coming in that day as well as for the incoming patient’s family members. This creates an opportunity to contact the patient prior to their appointment to discuss completing that treatment that day, or at the least enables a provider to discuss it with the patient while they are chairside with them. If your goal is to provide more and better dentistry to your patients, then using your huddle to identify and schedule same-day dentistry is a simple and effective way to achieve that goal.

Again, think about this as a process or system – if a goal is your what, the thing you want to achieve, then the system or process of how you reach an objective is what will make the difference. Morning huddles can be powerful systems within a dental practice if they are used to their full potential. Looking for ways to fully engage your team in your huddle, including encouraging them to look for same-day dentistry opportunities, are both proven ways to get the most out of those fifteen minutes you spend together before a day begins. And don’t forget to celebrate successes! If your team sees your huddle as a fun, positive, engaging experience they look forward to participating in, then incredible things are going to happen in your practice.

At Dental Intelligence, we’re committed to helping your practice grow. We’d love to help you see where you are, so you can achieve the goals that are most important to you. Visit us today to request your free practice analysis. 

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