For over 25 years, I have taught the value of having a morning huddle. We’ve produced agendas. We’ve trained and retrained. We’ve spoken about it at seminars, workshops and on-site visits. Now, in what may sound like a contradictory move, we are officially banning the morning huddle. No more. Don’t do it. Save the time and save the hassle.
What’s in a name? Sometimes the title or name that we give things ends up taking on so much baggage it becomes difficult to remember the real meaning. Yes, teams huddle on the field, but it is a brief meeting where one person calls the play and every yells “break.” Well, dentistry isn’t football. In fact, the most effective teams we have worked with 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 have coined 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 primary focus is uncovering, strategizing, and planning around the day’s opportunities. Done correctly, everyone has a say and everyone has a part to play. Here are just 3 examples of the opportunities we are talking about…
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 an opportunity to duplicate today. Is there something you said 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? Looking every day at the opportunities around duplicating what is working is essential. Practices that build upon daily successes stay true to the effort of “constancy of purpose” on which the best offices focus.
2. Unscheduled treatment – doctor’s schedule. Long before the huddle 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. The exact words you use are not as important as giving the patient the space to say “yes” to more. It all starts with identifying those opportunities every morning in your M.O.M.
Example: Mrs. Jones, just checking in with you about those other teeth we discussed that are in the same area where we are going to do the crown today. Like we discussed, while we are there and close, it would save you a lot of time and potential hassle to just take care of them right now as well. Not pushing here, but I just wanted to double check before we get started. Would you like to take care of the other two teeth as well while we are at it?”
3. Same day treatment – new patients. Another topic of discussion is 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. For example, let’s say a patient mentioned on the phone that they are interested in whitening. In case they are a good candidate to have that done today, are there any adjustments you need to make or can make to help them get that done today? What if they mentioned some problem areas? Look at your schedule in your M.O.M. and see what would have to happen in order to accommodate them today if there is something that needs to be done. For most patients, there is no time like the present to get started. Looking for opportunities to help them do that will help everyone get more of what they want.
I could go on because the daily opportunities that present themselves in most offices are numerous. Do you take advantage of those opportunities by accident or by design? 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 by the end of the day 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 a free sample M.O.M. agenda from the Total Patient Service Institute, call 1-877-399-8677 or e-mail your request to: Answers@TotalPatientService.com.
Steven J. Anderson is a founder of several dental organizations including the Total Patient Service Institute (www.TotalPatientService.com), Crown Council (www.CrownCouncil.com), and Smiles for Life Foundation (www.SmilesForLife.org) and author of the recently released book The Culture of Success – 10 Natural Laws for Creating the Place Where Everyone Wants to Work. Over the last twenty-five years he has worked with thousands of dental teams, conducted hundreds of seminars and spoken at every major dental meeting in North America, the UK, and Australia. * For a FREE sample M.O.M. agenda and weekly case acceptance tips from the Total Patient Service Institute call 1-877-399-TOPS (8677) or e-mail your request to: Answers@TotalPatientService.com.