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431: Is Your Team Aligned?

Tiff is here! She joins Kiera to talk about an incredible important topic: weekly meetings. Now stick with us — we know this isn’t the funnest topic, but these meetings are so important, and provide a really great way to keep your team on track.

First, Kiera walks through the different meetings your team should be having:

Then, Tiff pulls out the key pieces: Keeping the meetings consistent, what the most important part of each meeting is, and what you should absolutely NOT leave these meetings without doing.

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Podcast Transcript:


0:00:05.6 Kiera Dent: Hey, everyone. Welcome to the Dental A Team podcast. I'm your host, Kiera Dent, and I had this crazy idea that maybe I could combine a doctor and a team member's perspective. Because let's face it, dentistry can be a challenging profession with those two perspectives. I've been a dental assistant, treatment coordinator, scheduler, filler, office manager, regional manager, practice owner, and I have a team of traveling consultants where we have travelled to over 165 different offices coaching teams. Yep, we don't just understand you, we are you. Our mission is to positively impact the world of dental, and I believe that this podcast is the greatest way I can help elevate teams, grow VIP experiences, reduce stress, and create A Team. Welcome to the Dental A Team podcast. Hello, Dental A Team listeners. This is Kiera. And guess who's back by popular demand, also by my personal preference. I love podcasting with her. I love her on our team. I love her working with offices. She is one of our top most sought after consultants. Tiffanie Trader, welcome back today. How are you?

0:01:06.6 Tiffanie Trader: Thank you. And I think I want you to follow me around and show me everywhere I go. It makes me feel so good.

0:01:12.8 KD: You got it. I will do that, I'll bring my microphone. Fun story for everybody listening. One time, Ashley Dorn, she used to be a consultant with us. She since moved on to greater awesome things with her... She got married, and they moved far away from us, so she's now working in an office. But I remember one time, Ashley Dorn and I were on a plane, and we decided to do our first ever plane podcast. And I remember holding my microphone, and the flight attendant came out to me, and she's like, "I can't hear you. It's not getting louder." [chuckle] And I was like, "Oh no, no, no. I'm not trying to do that." So Tiff, I'll bring the microphone around, we'll see who stops us with the mic, and I'll intro you all day long.

0:01:47.7 TT: I like it. That's all I can ask. I love it.

0:01:50.6 KD: That's our next adventure. When I come to Arizona, get ready. Microphone, bust it out. We'll film it. It'll be great. It'll be fun.

0:01:56.4 TT: Done.

0:01:57.7 KD: Well, guys, as always, when Tiff and I get on, we're ready to GSD. And today's topic is going to be on something that is not fun to talk about, but something so important and something that we can make fun. And that is the importance of weekly meetings. So weekly meetings, let's just that fall flat for a second. I, actually, in an office didn't know how to run a successful weekly meeting. I didn't even know what type of meetings I should run. I don't know about you, Tiff. How was it for you when you were in a practice as an office manager? 'Cause I was like, "I don't know, I think I'm suppose to have meetings." But I'll be honest, I only did monthly meetings, and then I started adding in monthly one-on-one check-ins with my team. That's all I ever did. I didn't even have doctor OM meetings, if I'm completely honest of what I was doing, of just what I was trained. How about you?

0:02:40.0 TT: So I was trained how to do meetings by our previous office manager, who was fantastic, but it was always an agenda. We did monthly meetings, one time monthly meeting, and it was like two and a half, three hours. Everybody loved it and jotted at the same time. But we had the agenda that was completely filled out by management and was updates, basically. Or things that we felt like the team was doing wrong that we needed to train them on. [chuckle] It just was never exciting. I never looked forward to it. And then I tried my darnedest as office manager to get my doctor nailed-down for an every Thursday. Thursdays, he was done at 3 o'clock. And I said, "Every Thursday at 3 o'clock, we're gonna meet for 30 minutes." And I just can't tell you how many times that man found that backdoor faster than he found me. I love him to death, he's like family to me, but he hated those meetings. And we did quarterly reviews. And I just knew, in my heart, I was like, "There's gotta be a better way to keep my team more aligned to keep them on track." At the end of the month, we review, "This is how we did last month." I'm like, "This is almost two months ago," at this point. I just kept thinking, "There's gotta be a better way, people hate these meetings." They're expensive, because lunch is $300, and it was like... There's just gotta be a better way.

0:04:07.3 TT: And so I started implementing every other... In-between weeks, I would do departmental, I try to do departmental meetings, and those were super helpful, but I still felt like it just wasn't enough. And I know that sounds crazy to many people, because I think a lot of my practices when I'm like, "You gotta do all of these meetings." They're like, "I feel like we just have meetings and have meetings." 'Cause we've gotta get them super dialed-in. So I think that's one thing that we're really good at, is really finding the way to make sure that all of the meetings we tell you you must have are so dialed-in and so exciting. But it's easy to get everything to stand behind them.

0:04:50.2 KD: Yeah, for sure. Well, and I think another piece of it is, I think it's just getting everybody calibrated and aligned like you were mentioning. So are we calibrated? Does everybody know where we're going? So you guys, we've been a huge proponent of it. Traction by Gino Wickman is kind of our mantra on how we do meetings and make them very successful. So if we're gonna break this all the way down, and we'll do another podcast that dives into the monthly meeting. We have quarterly meetings. There's so many meetings you can have, and I'm a big, big, big proponent of, "If your meetings are not productive, don't have them, because they're actually a waste of time." If you're going to have productive meetings, they can actually save you hours of training, hours of time, hours of problems, but they've got to be productive, and it can't just be like a Complain Fest without solving it. And larger practices do it different way, so I think our model is, Morning Huddle daily, so you guys do a quick review, "Where are we at? Where are we at for the month?" Tiff and I did a podcast on Morning Huddles just recently. So check it out if you haven't listened to it. So making sure you've got that dialed-in for you on how to run those. Those morning huddles make them effective.

0:05:51.6 KD: Then once a week, we recommend the leadership team get together. And it should be an hour to an hour and a half. And this is where we're going over our quarterly goals for the quarter. Where are we headed for the quarter? Where are we going? Is everybody on track? What are the issues? And pulling in the leadership team. If you're a small practice, it can be two people. If you're a large practice, it can be up to 10, 15 people. So just making sure you have one person representing each department, each group at the table, and they have to be able to say the uncomfortable. They have to be able to get down and dirty. They have to be highly accountable. Otherwise, this meeting's such a waste of time. And then those people can take it down to their departments. Oftentimes, in larger practices, I recommend a departmental meeting every other week, or at least once a month for departmental training meeting, so your hygienist get calibrated, your dental assistants get calibrated, front office gets calibrated. And there's actual training, "How do we want the phones to be answered?" Don't do that on a one-off quick meeting. Have a set scheduled training time and have topics that people do, have different people train on it.

0:06:49.5 KD: And then you do once a month full team meeting, "Where are we headed? What are our goals?" That's kind of my recommendation for these weekly meetings, who should be a part of them, who shouldn't be a part of them? And I'm also a huge proponent of First thing in the morning. Don't try and do it over lunch. That's, in my opinion, it's like a meeting graveyard, if you try and do it over lunch. They just don't happen. End of day, everybody's cranky, everybody's tired, they're ready to go home, you're not gonna get your best work. So I'm a really big proponent of, say it's Monday or Tuesday morning, yes, you will cut production time. However, if you're super efficient, maybe your associate is working during that time, your other front office is running it, and you could pull in all the leads during that hour every single week is how I found it to be highly beneficial. Tiff, what are your thoughts on that?

0:07:33.5 TT: I think I really like the cadence that you talked about. And I think the things that I wanna pull out of that that I feel are super-duper important, are the fact that you called it the "leadership meeting." So once a week, making sure that the leadership team is meeting. If you're getting the whole team together once a week, it's just not gonna be as effective. You're not gonna get as much done. And they're not gonna be as focused in problem solving. So I think a huge, huge, huge thing to take away is that it's the leadership team. So once a week, for an hour to an hour and a half, I really have to say I like the hour and a half. We did the hour, remember, Kiera? For us, we were doing an hour, and it honestly felt rushed. It just felt like we needed just that little smidge of extra time. So I really do appreciate that we switched that to the hour and a half. And I also agree, beginning of the week, beginning of the day seems to be really, really fantastic for us.

0:08:27.6 KD: Are you guys sick of trying to figure it out on your own? I know I am. When I'm trying to run a business, sometimes I just think, "There's got to be a better way to do this." And so for me, my answer has been to find someone who's done it and does it really, really, really well. I'm talking the best of the best of the best. I want someone who's been in my shoes, somebody who understands what I'm going through. When I was looking for the consulting business, I found a coach who literally has run a consulting business. Well, that seems like the perfect fit. So you guys, right now, we have a few spaces open in our Platinum Consulting. That is in the consulting where we actually come to your practice. We help you get systems implemented. We don't just tell you what systems to implement, we actually implement them with you and for you. You guys, that is one of the best investments I've ever made is to hire a coach who understands the business I'm in, who's lived it, who's done it. And that's what we in the Dental A Team do. We literally, physically fly to you. So if you're sick of trying to figure it out on your own, if you just want somebody who understands you, join our Platinum. I'd love to have you, I'd love to have our consulting team come out and see you, be in your office, be with your team, and truly help you get on to the easy path of dentistry. It doesn't have to be hard. So join us in the Platinum, we'd love to have you.

0:09:47.5 TT: The other option I would say would be maybe the end of the week, maybe on a Friday, beginning of the day, just to set you up for the next week, whichever way you want to do it. We tried mid-week for our company, and it was wonky. Our goals, our action items, I felt went left undone more often than not when we were mid-week, because we already kind of had a cadence set. You know what I mean? It was weird. So I wanna pull those items out. Leadership meeting weekly, make them the same time every week, same time, same day every week. Because I do think that that's super important to be able to have a predictable situation, rather than it popping up. And it should be consistent. It should be reliable. It helps feed into that meeting. I do also believe in training. I do like the cadence that you talked about for those departmental meetings. And I have some offices that do it kind of all over the place. I got some that will do it on the first Monday of every month is dental assistants, Tuesdays is front office. However you wanna run that.

0:10:54.8 TT: I preferred, when I was in practice, and I think I probably would still do the same myself right now, I prefer to have all of my departmental meetings on the same day. So I would just choose a Monday, the first Monday of every month, or whatever, and all of the departments would then split. Because I don't necessarily need to be there. And especially if I've got a leadership team who's meeting weekly, I trust that my leaders are handling it, they're taking care of it. And they're gonna bring anything back to our leadership meeting, our outside meetings. So I just kind of divide it and conquer it, 'cause I truthfully didn't have the time to be in all those meetings, nor did I have the desire. I don't need to be a part of it. So I do like those. And then meeting once a month with the full team is huge. I think the most important piece of those weekly meetings is getting on the same page. Offices, first thing I ever get told every meeting when I say, "What's the biggest thing I can bring to you today?" They say, "Get us on the same page." Every single time, it's the first thing I hear.

0:11:55.6 KD: Yes, communication, communication, communication.

0:12:00.1 TT: Yes. And I'm like, "It's really easy if you guys are talking." Since you're meeting once a week for an hour to an hour and a half, how are you not on the same page? There's really not a lot of wiggle room to leave anyone in the shadows or the unknown. You guys will be on the same page, because you're communicating consistently and constantly, and you're problem-solving together. One big huge note I have, do not leave a leadership meeting or any type of meeting without action items attached. Everyone should have something to do when you leave, and dates. Dates, dates, dates, yes. Which should be, Kiera, actually dialed this in for us many times. But a long time ago, she dialed this in. "Those action items should be able to be completed by the next weekly meeting." So they should be able to be completed within one week. If they're not, they're probably a rock. They're probably something that needs to be more long-term. So Kiera, dialed that one in for us, and that one stuck with me hard, because I'm a procrastinator, so if you give me something that's two to three weeks out, I have so many other things I'm gonna get done before then, he's like, "Okay, this isn't working." So we dialed that in, and it honestly has worked so freaking well for us.

0:13:18.3 KD: Yes. And I love that you brought up of, "You've gotta have actions, you've gotta have dates, and there has to be a follow-through on it." Sometimes it's an awkward conversation to have. Sometimes you have to say, "Hey, Tiff, we talked about this. You said you were gonna get this done. Why didn't you get it done?" I'm big on transparency. And I'm also a chicken at transparency. I like people to like me, so it's highly awkward for me to say these things. But it's an easy way for things to hide in leadership meetings that like, "We need to get this done in four weeks." Well, great. We put it back on the issues list then. We're not gonna give Tiffanie that action item to get done by next week in four weeks, because it gets lost and it's a good way for people to "hide." Those procrastinators love this, 'cause like, "Oh, I don't have to get it done," versus, "No, everything on my action item list, I'm committing to, I'm getting it done." And there does need to be somebody who follows up with those action items. So at the next meeting it's, "Are they done? Or are they not done?" And this is gonna move you guys forward very quickly, very efficiently. And it's going to make sure all departments are inter-communicating with one another, versus not communicating with each other as well.

0:14:20.6 KD: So problems happening in hygiene, they're gonna get solved. Dental assistants problems will get solved. And it just helps clean things up. So guys, if you haven't tried the weekly meetings, we recommend you try them. Try them out. See if you like them. Get the cadence. I would give yourself a good quarter. If you need help, read Gino Wickman's book, Traction. You can also utilize us. We run a lot of these meetings for teams, virtually even. So give us a call, [email protected] That's actually an email, not a call. You are welcome to always call us. Give us a call or email us, we're happy to help you, and try these things out. Tiff brought up some really good points. So I think to recap, have a consistent same time, every time, every week. Next thing, make sure the players coming to the table are truly the people that will lead and guide your company, that you can be open, honest and transparent with, that will follow through on these items. Number three, make sure that you have a cadence of training your team as well. You've gotta get that training in there. And number four, commit to having rocking awesome meetings, so that way that time doesn't feel like lost production time, but actually propelling your company forward.

0:15:20.7 KD: And try it out. Try it out. Let us know. It does seem daunting. I remember the first time I was like, "Oh, okay. An hour and a half weekly meeting every week. Let me just calculate how much money that's costing, how much money I'm losing." But when they're awesome, you will flourish, and everybody now knows what they need to do for the week, everybody's focused, everybody's aligned, and all of you are swimming in the same direction, versus everybody kind of doing their own thing, hoping to get to the same direction without even communicating about it.

0:15:46.4 TT: Yep. I totally agree. That was a full recap. I can't say how much I love this than do recaps. That's all I do.


0:15:52.4 KD: Just makes life easy, bullet points, bam, bam, bam. This is what you gotta do. So guys, try it out, let us know. Tiff, as always, love podcasting with you. Thanks for taking time. I know you're super busy about to head to an office, so thank you for your time today as well.

0:16:04.4 TT: Of course, thank you for having me.

0:16:06.1 KD: Absolutely. Alright, guys. As always, thank you for listening, and we'll catch you next time on the Dental A Team podcast.


0:16:14.4 KD: Alright, Dental A Team listeners, that's a wrap. Thank you so much for listening. And if you love today's podcast, go leave us a review. It takes you five seconds, and your review helps more offices, more practices, more team members just like you find out about the Dental A Team. Thank you guys so much for being a part of my Dental A Team family.



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