What’s in a name? Sometimes the title or name that we give things implies so much it is hard to get through the real meaning. For example, football teams huddle on the field. It is a brief meeting where one person calls the play and every yells “break.” Having a morning “huddle,” if they huddle at all, has become much the same in dentistry. The most effective teams we have worked with in dentistry, however, don’t have a morning huddle at all. They have transformed the “get together and call the play of the day” morning “huddle” into something we call the “Morning Opportunity Meeting” or M.O.M. for short.
The primary thing that characterizes the M.O.M. is its middle name: Opportunity. The main focus is uncovering, strategizing, and planning around the day’s opportunities. Done correctly, everyone has a part to play. Here are some examples of those opportunities:
1. What’s the best thing that happened yesterday? If you have attended any of our ToPS seminars or workshops, you’ve heard us talk about this important first topic of any M.O.M. Focus on what worked yesterday that could be duplicated today. What did you say that resulted in a “yes” from a patient? Is there something another team member did, that was particularly helpful, that could be done again today to increase productivity and effectiveness? Practices that build upon daily successes have more successes!
2. Unscheduled treatment – doctor’s schedule. Long before the day begins, like the afternoon before, someone on the team takes responsibility for looking at the next day’s schedule and reviewing the charts of the patients who are going to see the doctor for restorative treatment. Beyond the treatment that is scheduled, what other potential work do these patients have that is not yet scheduled? Even if it has only been a day or two since they accepted the treatment for which they are returning, things can change. They went home. They thought about things you said. Maybe they have additional questions. Maybe they reconsidered and are teetering on the point of doing more than they originally agreed. You don’t know until you ask!
3. Unscheduled treatment – hygiene. Every afternoon before going home, each hygienist reviews his or her schedule and the corresponding charts for the next day. In most cases, those charts are a gold mine of unscheduled treatment. Knowing what is going on with every patient and where the opportunities are to schedule some of that unscheduled treatment is a big part of the M.O.M. Letting everyone on the team know who is a candidate to schedule treatment that has been diagnosed, but not performed, is a critical ingredient for success.
4. Same day treatment. The best type of unscheduled treatment is treatment that you could do today with some minor changes in the schedule. Once you know who has what unscheduled treatment, look at the schedule together as a team to see what could be adjusted in the timing to accommodate existing patients who would like to have it done today.
5. Same day treatment – new patients. A quick review of each new patient’s “New Patient Relationship Form*” will help everyone understand the background and desires of each new patient. Many times the desires that were expressed on the phone when they scheduled will include comments about treatment, problem areas, an interest in whitening, etc. Everyone needs to know where those potential opportunities are in advance.
6. Emergencies. Emergencies can be one of the best opportunities of the day. During your M.O.M., the best time for emergencies should always be identified. A day with no time for emergencies is a day that has not been properly planned. Figure out a way during your M.O.M. to take care of emergency patients, should they call. An emergency planned for is no emergency for you. It’s an opportunity!
7. Openings in the schedule. Everyone has had the experience of looking at the schedule at the morning huddle and seeing holes. Most get that sinking feeling when they see that. Instead, look at them as opportunities. What can be moved around, adjusted, or moved up in order to free up more opportunities?
8. Tomorrow’s opportunities. What is scheduled for tomorrow? Are there any openings in the schedule? If so, today is the time to make sure everyone on the team knows. This way, everyone can be focused on taking advantage of that opportunity in order to schedule patients who say “yes” today for tomorrow’s schedule, while they are eager.
A well-planned Morning Opportunity Meeting will uncover the potential daily opportunities on which you can act.
How do you know if your M.O.M. is effective? The true test is if you consistently produce MORE than you had scheduled at the beginning of the day. If so, you know that you identified the opportunities and acted accordingly.
So, say good-bye to the Morning Huddle, and say hello to M.O.M., your new Morning Opportunity Meeting. It will transform your day and your productivity.
* For tips on designing an effective “New Patient Relationship Form” contact the Total Patient Service Institute at 1-877-399-8677 or Answers@TotalPatientService.com