The power and ritual of the morning meeting

By Dr. Roger P. Levin, DrBicuspid.com contributing writer

October 16, 2020 -- COVID-19 has upended much of our world, and it has thrown quite a few challenges at dental practices. We are facing numerous changes in practice operations, production, scheduling, procedure times, and infection control.

Unfortunately, whenever chaos is thrust upon a business, its employees often give up on the normal rituals that have made them successful in the past. In dentistry, the morning meeting is a ritual that is still critically important and must not be abandoned.

The morning meeting

Dr. Roger Levin
Dr. Roger P. Levin is the executive founder of the Dental Business Study Clubs.

Even though the concept of the 10-minute morning meeting was introduced about 40 years ago, it's still very relevant today. This brief gathering of the doctor and staff helps to bring the team together, organize the day, and address practice concerns such as the schedule, emergencies, treatment plans, patients overdue on treatment, and collections.

What many practices don't understand is that the morning meeting is also a ritual that marks the start of the day. It also serves as an excellent reminder to staff members that they must be ready to perform and treat patients with excellent service.

Keep the ritual going

During the COVID-19 crisis, practices have been sent into a tailspin trying to figure out how to manage infection control, low patient volume, and patient reactivation. It's times like these when many businesses throw their rituals out the window or don't update their rituals to fit the current time. Think of it like this: The morning meeting for dentistry is no different as a ritual than an athlete going through the same stretching routine, warmup, and mental preparation for a game, meet, or match.

I remember being disappointed many years ago when a great athlete was destroyed by an athlete of much lesser talent in an unexpected upset. When I asked the better athlete what happened, he said that he was late and didn't have the opportunity to warm up properly. What he really meant was that he was late and did not have the opportunity to go through his rituals. That one misstep literally and figuratively threw him off his game, and he lost to someone whom he had defeated in 25 previous matchups.

With everything going on now, you have every excuse in the book not to have the morning meeting. You have a multitude of new things to think about. You may have team members who didn't come back and others who are new, or you may think that there just isn't any time to have a morning meeting. Get all those thoughts out of your head and have the morning meeting anyway. Remember, the morning meeting is a big part of what made your practice so successful in the past.

Change the agenda

Now that you're back on board with the morning meeting, the agenda must change. COVID-19 has created a scenario where all dental practices, like most businesses in the U.S., are facing a business turnaround. In a business turnaround, your practice must focus only on those things that are most essential for recovery. This means that, while you may have to work harder, you'll work harder on fewer things.

The agenda items for your morning meeting should focus on production, collections, expenses, the number of new patients, the number of active patients, and the number of patients to be reactivated. These are all part of the essential elements of practice recovery, so this is where your focus should be.

If you want to create an agenda that is right for your practice, ask the following key questions:

  • What is our production goal each day?
  • What is the production number scheduled for today?
  • Did we hit our production goal yesterday?
  • Is there anything to learn or improve from what we did yesterday?
  • When is the next open appointment so that we can fill it in as soon as possible?
  • Which patients coming in today have not completed treatment so that we can focus on them?
  • Are the family members of any of our patients overdue for their appointments so that we can mention it?

Notice that several of the questions focus on production. Production is the single most important factor in a business turnaround or recovery. This is because production creates revenue, revenue creates cash, and cash creates income. If you have production, revenue, cash, and income, then your practice is on its way to recovery. If you don't, you must make immediate course corrections to maintain the viability of the practice.

Summary

While you should change its agenda, the morning meeting is a ritual that must stay on your schedule. It helps to bring the team together and remind everyone to start the day with a positive attitude. Most importantly, it will be a guiding force for your practice recovery.

Dr. Roger P. Levin is the executive founder of the Dental Business Study Clubs. To contact him or to join the 40,000 dental professionals who receive his Practice Production Tip of the Day, visit www.levingroup.com or email rlevin@levingroup.com.

The comments and observations expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of DrBicuspid.com, nor should they be construed as an endorsement or admonishment of any particular idea, vendor, or organization.


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