Dental Consultant | Why Have a Morning Huddle?

Dental Office ConsultantAs a dental coach/consultant, I hear very similar complaints during my first conversation with a potential client. They typically revolve around the “team” is not on the same page. There are various reasons why this occurs, but I frequently respond with this question, “Do you have a morning huddle?” Often, the answer is no. Which leads me to discuss why a morning huddle is important.

The morning huddle is an opportunity for everyone on the team to communicate and to understand their expectations during the day. That is really it in a nutshell. There is nothing magical about it but it needs to be done the correct way so it benefits everyone and sets the tone for the day. It starts with the doctor/leader creating the culture that attendance is expected so your patients receive the best care possible. When your patients are the priority, everything falls into their proper place. Meeting is great, but there must be an agenda to follow, or else you are wasting precious time. Some offices struggle with this step of putting an agenda together. I recommend having a whiteboard or a place for everyone to note any situation that occurred during the day. Some things happen that we cannot predict and these situations are the very items that need to be on the agenda of tomorrow’s huddle.

My suggestion is always to have a system for your huddles so whoever is tasked with an item, you will be able to follow up and make sure accountability has taken place. As you know, this is an area of weakness as well. A simple word document can suffice, it doesn’t need to be fancy but it needs to work for you.

The agenda needs to contain the following each day:

  • Notes about the schedule – Any item that you need to bring to their attention such as which patients need certain paperwork or any money owed.
  • This is your opportunity for every member of the team to communicate with one another – the front office to the back and visa-versa.
  • Any situation that occurred yesterday that needs to be discussed – from the whiteboard

When you have a morning huddle, the team becomes accountable to one another since everything is discussed out in the open. No one can hide from their responsibility. The culture of the practice is also strengthened with this as well. It never ceases to amaze me that many conflicts are due to poor communication. The morning huddle alleviates a lot of potential conflicts as well. When every member of the team understands their role in the schedule that day, it will decrease the surprises that tend to catch us off guard. I think many surprises occur due to a lack of communication and having the morning huddle solves most of these issues.

Some items may be too lengthy to fully resolve during a morning huddle. When this happens, please add that item to your agenda for your next monthly team meeting. Not having those meetings? That will be the topic for a different blog post – stayed tuned.