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Episode 470: Cross Department Silos Each Morning

dental a team podcast Jan 11, 2022

Kiera and Brittany dive into what makes and breaks morning huddles in your office. These meetings are opportunities to coordinate and work together no matter the different departments. Kiera and Brittany share their favorite ways to kick off these meetings, what team members should know going into a meeting, the best items to include in the meeting, and a ton more!

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0:00:05.6 Kiera Dent: Hey everyone. Welcome to The Dental A Team Podcast. I'm your host, Kiera Dent, and I have 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 in dental treatment coordinator, scheduler, biller, office manager, regional manager, practice owner, and I have a team of travelling consultants, where we have traveled 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 teams. Welcome to The Dental A Team Podcast.

0:00:51.6 KD: Hello, Dental A Team listeners. This is Kiera, and you guys, I hope your day is fantastic, I hope you're loving it, and I hope you're pumped for my [0:00:58.8] ____ topic. I've got Brittany on the podcast today. If you don't know her, you must get to know her, I secretly and not secretly, 'cause I'm putting on a podcast for all to hear, I'm trying to convince Brittany to move to Reno so we can be better friends, but that's how much I love her. You all should love her. She's an incredible consultant. Britt, how're you doing today?

0:01:17.4 Brittany: I'm doing good, I mean, I think highly of Reno, but I don't know if I can make that move right now, we can still be friends though.

0:01:24.5 KD: I don't think you should make the move to Reno. We all know that I'm not the biggest fan of Reno. I just think we should get less space between us. Or maybe I should visit Arizona a bit more, I mean that could be an alternative.

0:01:34.0 Brittany: I like that idea. I like that idea. We've got lots of sunshine, it's warmer than Reno. I'm just saying.

0:01:41.7 KD: It's a valid point, and I know you moved back to Arizona for family and also for sunshine, so are you loving having a winter in Arizona and not being on the East Coast freezing right now, or do you kind of miss it a little bit? Like, how are you doing with it?

0:01:54.4 Brittany: I'm only... This is the first year out of the cold, so I can't say that I miss it yet, I'm perfectly happy to be in the temperature I am here in Arizona.

0:02:03.0 KD: I bet. I love it. Well, guys, today, Britt and I are super jazzed. It's one of our favourite things, actually. It's a topic that I think a lot of you might roll your eyes at, which is totally fine, I roll my eyes when I see it, but it's an important topic, and that is morning huddles. Britt, how do you feel about morning huddles? Give me true, honest feedback. What's your take when I say morning huddles?

0:02:28.0 Brittany: True, honest take when I say a morning huddle is, "They're so important. Why aren't we doing them?" So I am just such a big fan of them, and it's one of those topics, it's such a core thing and so important and so valuable. And we continue to talk about it because it is so important. And so it's just like like, "Hey, how can we, one, make sure we're doing it, and two, help people see how important it is?"

0:02:55.1 KD: Because I've definitely been to a few offices where their morning huddles are tight. I've also been to a few offices where their morning huddles are just a waste of time. And I think it's a matter of what is the outcome? Like, "Why are we even doing morning huddle? What's the purpose of this?" Because if it's just a time like, high five, hang out, sure, maybe it's not worth it, but if you can really have a true solid outcome of morning huddle, and again, I go to sports mode... I grew up with four brothers that played a lot of sports in my life, me, myself, I did not play many sports, played soccer, tennis, and I can reasonably play basketball, but only 'cause I have to. But beyond...

0:03:31.5 Brittany: Those are sports. You played sports, Kiera.

0:03:34.2 KD: I did play sports. I only played tennis for the skirt, guys, like let's be real, I had to make varsity for the outfit. But I think about a huddle and the whole purpose of a huddle is to win the game, and so I think of it of like, How can we maximize our morning huddles to win the day? We're gonna make sure we're looking for those things. So let's kind of break it down of what are the key points, how can you spruce up these morning huddles, because honestly, I will say, if your morning huddle... And I'm going to be real direct, and I hope nobody takes offense to this, I also hope if you're doing this, you listen and you shake it up, if you are solely reading through chart by chart by chart, stop having that morning huddle. That is not worth anybody's time. Everybody should have chart-prepped prior to coming to morning huddle, the point of morning huddle is to huddle to win, to discuss the things that everybody needs to hear, not go chart by chart by chart. So I was real direct on that one. You wanna soften that up, you wanna add anything to that?

[chuckle]

0:04:29.3 Brittany: I think I'm with you on that. It shouldn't be like a boring report, and particularly not just like a report from a doctor, I want everybody to participate in morning huddle. And I think the biggest thing when it goes into making your agenda, having a plan for morning huddle is if you give it in that proactive mode. It should help us to know how to maximize our day, use our time wisely and run as smooth as possible.

0:05:00.8 KD: I love what you just said of like, How can we maximize our day and how can we run as smooth as possible, because I can think of most of my days in the dental practice and 'smooth' and 'ease' were never words to describe my day, it was usually 'busy' and 'chaotic' and 'stressful' and like just pure mayhem. And so I love that you said if we can set that tone to our day, then let's make sure that we do it. So we're gonna kinda walk you guys through a solid morning huddle, we'll give you guys some ideas to spruce it up, but bottom line is like let's have the focus of the outcome is how can we win our day? It is not to recap all the charts, it is not to go through every single patient, it is not to share about all the different family pieces to it, that is for you personally as a provider to know that information, so you have a very customized experience for your patient, so I am very pro every single person on their column on their charts should review, should know those items that are personal, that are intimate, that are about those families.

0:05:58.2 KD: So hygienists, you should know that it's Ms. Sarah's birthday. You should know that this person's having a baby. Yes, read all those personal notes, but that's not something needed to be shared to every single person in the huddle, otherwise those things get very lengthy, people tune out because it's not pertinent to them, and that's not gonna make their day smooth flowing, it's going to... Flow smoothly, there we go. Okay, guys, watch out. End of the day over here. That's why people tune out. So breaking it down, Britt, what's kind of your favourite way to kick off a morning huddle? What are some of the things you've seen that really just make it super effective and fun?

0:06:36.4 Brittany: Yeah. I love kicking it off with something fun to bring everybody together. Input, quality time, I do love it. So something fun to bring us together that doesn't waste much time, so even if it's like shoutout, a quote, something to connect us all and then jump into getting down to business, looking at what went well, what didn't go well yesterday, what can we learn from? And then jumping into our day today and what's going on.

0:07:03.2 KD: I love it. And for our platinum clients, we sent out a gift this year to all of them of 52 Ways to Shake Up Team Meetings. A lot of these things can be used in your morning huddle, so just different fun things that you guys can do, also fun things you can do in your team meetings. So you guys could create something like that. I know, for us, we have a theme of every single day to kind of shake up our morning huddles, so like Monday's Motivation Monday, Tuesday is Testimonial Tuesday, Wednesday's Core Value Shoutout. Sorry guys, I don't know how to tie that to a W. Thursday's Thankful Thursday, and Friday is Fun Friday.

0:07:36.1 KD: So there's always a theme to every single day, that way it's a no-brainer, we don't have to think about how we're kicking the day off and everybody participates on it, so I agree, I think we should celebrate wins because we're setting the tone for our day. So making that short, sweet fun gets everybody in a good mood. We move from coming in from a busy stressful traffic or driving in or home life to we're transitioning into work mode, that's another point of morning huddle. So then after that, diving into our day, everybody should have prepped the night before, and I'm really big on let's talk about our day, where are we at number-wise, and what are the opportunities that we can add on. So if we are above goal or below goal, fantastic, also any of those trouble areas that we're going to be running into. So where are we gonna get bogged down? Also, I love to ask for emergency times for an office, if they have an AM and a PM emergency time, it's gonna make the clinical team's day flow so much smoother because we're not just shoving an emergency patients in there, we actually have some spots for them. Plus also looking for opportunities, I can't tell you how much same-day treatment can come out of morning huddle and make our patient experience that much better just by being proactive.

0:08:44.7 KD: In some of the practices I've coached, I love when they'll actually turn the colour on the screen a different colour for same day treatment opportunities. So for example, if I'm a provider, my colour's pink, but Brittany's coming in and she has an extra filling, maybe turning her colour from pink to red. So all of us can see the red on the schedule, knowing these patients have potential opportunity. It's also a really easy indicator as well, if our schedule falls apart, these are patients who have extra treatment that maybe we could expand our schedule, make that patient's experience even better when our schedules do fall apart, 'cause they're going to. So let's have quick, quick draws of what we can do to fill that schedule quickly and maximize each other's time. So those are some of my key things that I love. Britt, what are some of the things that you love on a morning huddle that you're like, absolutely, yes, make sure you add this to your morning huddle.

0:09:33.5 Brittany: Yeah, so I agree, reviewing numbers is always really important, and it's... Morning huddle, one of the reasons why I just love it so much is because it is a chance to coordinate with the team so that we can all focus on the things that are most important, and that... Like you said, emergency times, where's our day super crazy, that's another good thing to highlight, where do we have a little bit more wiggle room, so front desk can know where they can best maximize our schedule as much as possible. And then they're also not having to run around and come back and ask someone from the clinical team, "Hey, can I put this here? Can I put this there?" It just makes our lives a lot easier. And then on the clinical side of things, as a hygienist, I like knowing a little bit of what's going on and what opportunities we have, so if I know that my doctor has some time at 1 o'clock and I've got a patient coming in at noon that has a potential for treatment, I can start to try to tee up some secondary treatment for them, and really educate the patient, start to fill it out, would they have time to say today, and encourage them to get that taken care of potentially today while we've got the time.

0:10:41.2 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, like 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, it 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.

0:11:40.3 KD: 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 onto the easy path of dentistry, it doesn't have to be hard. So join us in the Platinum. We'd love to have you.

0:12:01.2 KD: Britt is like a gold star hygienist, I hope all hygienists listening heard that, that she's looking not necessarily about her day, but where is the doctor having opportunities so she can be teeing up treatment for a doctor. Same thing on clinical side. Look to see who has cleanings, because if an opening shows up in Britt as a hygienist's schedule, or I have a family member, like I'm married to Jason, and if I'm coming in and Britt happens to have an opening, maybe we could see if my husband join me. So little opportunities like that we're both, like you said, Brittany, of coordinating between the two, that way we can maximize for each other. 'Cause I think sometimes in dental practices we get siloed, so dental assistants are in their world, hygienists are in their world, front office is in their world, doctors are their world, and morning huddle allows us to cross all those lines and look at each other's worlds to see how can I actually help that other world be better and they can help me, so that way the whole day flows and we're able to help as many patients as possible.

0:12:58.7 Brittany: Yeah, and looking for other opportunities as well, just for efficiency sake, sometimes just coordinating between doctor side and hygiene side, if I know doctor has got a big procedure going on and it may be with my patient, I say, "Hey, it's probably better timing if you come in and do my exam first thing." I'm just gonna call for you soon as possible so you can get over to that big treatment and our day can be a lot smoother, so therefore also I'm not waiting for that exam. So it's just such a fun coordination point to where I think the magic really happens in morning huddle to take your day to just be nice and smooth, and it's unbelievable what you can accomplish when everybody's working together.

0:13:39.4 KD: For sure. And to that point, I think going back to winning the day, but what does a win a one day... Is that how we'd say it? If we won the day...

0:13:50.8 Brittany: Won the day...

0:13:52.8 KD: We won the day. What does that actually look like? Let's paint a picture of that. To me, that's we helped as many patients as possible, we added in same day treatment and we stayed on time. The doctor was in and out on time for exams for hygiene, that we all left on time, and for me, on time means 30 minutes at the most after our last patient, that we were able to collect on every single patient, that all of our hygiene patients re-appointed and that we were able to have 100% case acceptance. Like to me, that would be winning a day... Oh, and also that we didn't miss a single lab case like, hallelujah. Thank you, please, and thank you. Do not miss those lab cases. That's the worst. [chuckle]

0:14:27.7 Brittany: No lab cases, no parts missing.

0:14:31.3 KD: No, and everybody got their lunches. To me, that is a won day, if we were to win the day, that's what it would look like to me. So paint that picture of your team, and then that's what we're huddling about, that's what we're strategizing about, that's what we're trying to maximize. So we all get out of here on time. We're all adding same day treatment, 'cause let's save those patients time, it's so much faster. I can't tell you, oh like in hygiene, if we could just set those sealants same day, think about how much time if you could just do the sealants in your chair versus bringing that patient back for a quick minute... Like that 10 minutes that could be in your chair is now taking a 30 to 45-minute spot on doctor's chair where we could have just sealed it there. Or if we could take impressions or a scan for a night guard versus having to bring them back.

0:15:17.9 KD: Like those little tiny moments we don't realize take up bigger blocks and if we could actually maximize and optimize, we would be able to see so many more patients, our days as team members would be much faster, it'd be much easier. Everything would flow smoother. And for front office, it's a lot easier, we're not trying to find these little awkward appointments. And our patients are so much happier, which means we have raving fans of patients. To me, that is a day that I would wanna do over and over and over again, and that's, to me, what I feel a morning huddle can paint and should paint to have more days that are winning versus days that we feel frantic and chaotic and we all just wanna get out of there 'cause it was a psycho day, and at the end of the day, we've got sterilization stacked sky high, nobody's getting out of there on time and we gotta show up tomorrow and do this all over again. Like, let's win our days, but let's make sure we actually know what that looks like as well.

0:16:09.4 Brittany: Yeah, and I think the big piece is it's our opportunity to work together. It's amazing in a dental office, like you said, how we can be kind of siloed, and this is our main communication point to set ourselves up for success, is morning huddle and without it, we all kind of just go and function and try to manage what's in our silo, and you could easily forget about each other.

0:16:30.7 KD: And I think it's just a good time to connect everybody in. Morning huddles, in my opinion, should be no more than 15 minutes. Also, Britt, I'm gonna ask you the question 'cause I've answered it a few times and I'm curious to hear your take, we hear a lot from a lot of offices, that they're like, "Okay, got it. I know morning huddle is important. Now, we understand that it's about winning the day, not about just reading charts, but then the question is, what do you do if you have split shifts, two different practices... Like, people coming in at different times? 'Cause a lot of people are like, "We've got different start times, some people start at 7:00, some people started 8:00, some people start at 9:00, what do you do for morning huddles in those split shift practices?"

0:17:08.7 Brittany: Yeah, if I have a true split where I've got two groups starting at different times, I would just do a huddle with each shift that comes in. And if I've got some stragglers or some people that just come in at a different time then I would say my morning agenda that I'm using and morning huddle, that gets filled out, and then that person who comes in a little bit later is responsible for reviewing it to be aware of the day. That's my take.

0:17:32.7 KD: It's a really easy way to do it. I've even had some offices that will record the morning huddle and then people are responsible for watching it before they come in. There's a lot of ways, get creative on it, but have that be a set time where people are responsible for it. It can just be there, people could initial off that they've read it, they know the day, what are they going to do to maximize. That's also though why I like to have things on there, so we don't have to actually communicate on... Like colour changing on a schedule. Well, now everybody knows who's got same day opportunities, it's on the schedule, we all know what that colour change means. Where we're gonna put those emergency times, having that on there, so people just know versus it needing to be telephoned amongst people. So what can you do within your morning huddle that is a system that people aren't then reliant on one another as well, can really be ways to just elevate, innovate, create... But the point is, the goal is to get together to huddle. You see in sports, like literally think of sports, they all get together, they hear the play, they snap the play, they go to work and they get it done and it's amazing.

0:18:33.3 KD: Or they come back and they revisit, "What didn't go well? What do we need to do differently? This is how we're going to win the day," so thinking of your morning huddles in that sense. And again, something I had never thought of until today's podcast is making sure that there's a clear picture of what does it mean to win the day. Sure, we can hit our production goals, that might be winning, but what about getting out on time? Helping our patients have the best experience, getting raving reviews from patients? To me, that's also incorporated into winning the day, that should be addressed. But keeping that morning huddle very tight, very concise, and then spicing it up, like some offices have had dance parties. Like I get that energy pumping and flowing, you can have... I don't know, you can have dress up days, like just make it fun because that's how you're starting your day, and I often, I believe, and I'm sure Britt believes it too, that the way you start your day is often how your day is gonna play out, so really get it on a super positive upbeat, let's go have the best time and serve as many patients as we can.

0:19:32.8 Brittany: Yep, I'm with you and some of our not so morning people just need to be a little tolerant that we need to get the energy up and other team members can help them. I've had them, I've had co-workers where I get it, you're not a morning person, I'll give you a few minutes and then, let's get ready. Let's get going for the day and get it taken care of.

0:19:53.0 KD: That's true, Britt. I'm not a night person, guys like 7:30, 8 o'clock, I'm old lady out on the couch status, but you better believe at 4:30 AM, I'm ready to dance party. So I think we all have our place. Agreed, some people aren't ready to go. It's totally fair. Let's love them a little. Hand them the coffee and let's go to work. So, I love it, Britt. Thank you for this.

0:20:14.5 KD: So guys, I would say for you with morning huddles, take a look, assess it, ask people like, "Are we winning the day? Are we just reviewing our charts? Is it stale? Is it stagnant?" If it is maybe shake up who runs the morning huddle, it doesn't necessarily need to be a doctor or office manager running the huddle, it can be different people that run it. That way, there's sharing of leadership and opportunity. Shake up your topics for every morning huddle. Maybe do on Fridays, it's gratitude jar day, where we all read notes that we've left one another, of highlighting team members, so many different ways, but remember, it's a time to connect, it's a time to coordinate, and it's a time to win the day. So try it out. We're excited to hear, if you guys need help, I've definitely revamped, oh gosh, hundreds of morning and in my career, I know Britt's done the same, so that's something that we could help you with or...

0:21:03.8 KD: 'Cause I really do believe morning huddles can be very powerful, so if you're wanting help, even if you just wanna talk to us about some ideas, email us, [email protected] Britt and I'd love to chat with you guys. Also Donuts with Dana, Friday, she's always on Facebook Live, so you guys can also ask for help there with the consultant team, but Britt, love having you here, love sharing the morning huddle stories with you and love having you on our team. So thank you for being here today.

0:21:29.1 Brittany: Thanks for having me.

0:21:31.0 KD: Of course. Alright, guys, as always, thank you for listening, I hope to hear from you soon and as always, thanks for listening, and we'll catch you next time on The Dental A Team Podcast. And that wraps it up for another episode of The Dental A Team podcast. Thank you so much for listening and we'll talk to you next time.

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