A few years ago, we stopped having monthly team meetings. It was one of the best decisions I ever made for our practice.
For a long time, I would meet with everyone once a month to review office metrics. I would spend time putting the numbers together and then we would sit for an hour reviewing those numbers, discussing current challenges, and upcoming goals. I would do most of the talking and everyone else would do half of the listening. I dreaded those meetings. I’m sure the rest of the team did, too. Nothing really solid ever came out of those meetings. This really wasn’t the best use of our time. I knew I had to change it up.
One day, my husband and I were listening to a podcast with Dr. Alan Mead, Dr. Tarun Agarwal, and Gary Takacs about dental benefits. The content of that episode was extremely valuable and I realized that my team would benefit by listening to it. That’s when it dawned on me. I needed to expose my team to other dental professionals-outside of our own practice walls. Even though there were a lot of things in that podcast that at some point I had said to my own front desk, I knew it would be helpful if they heard it from someone else. Although my husband and I were avid listeners of dental podcasts, none of our employees even knew they existed.
I got to work on this concept. In order for my team to get the most out of their podcast experience, I created an outline of questions that corresponded with and highlighted key points of the podcast conversation. I wanted all of my team members to listen, to learn, and to take away the same new information from the podcast. I really liked this idea! My team members would come together and do some actual learning!
The ideas began flowing. There were tons of YouTube videos of procedures and various practice management videos that I could share with them, too. We could do demonstrations to improve certain skills. We could physically get up and do some real learning. We could learn from each other. I could put a team member in charge of teaching something to the rest of us. All of this was so exciting to me!
I knew I had to get my team on board, so I decided to rebrand our meetings altogether by calling them “in-service” meetings. I explained that we were no longer going to sit around and listen to me spout off metrics. We were going to increase our own knowledge and skills every month because those things have a MUCH GREATER IMPACT on increasing our practice’s production numbers than just sitting around and talking about it. As a dental practice owner, it is my job to understand our metrics and the state of our business. It is also my job to make business adjustments based on those numbers. In other words, if our numbers are down, it is up to me to increase marketing and/or give my team more training tools in which to be successful. Sitting around in a meeting and just telling my team that our numbers are down isn’t effective.
I remember being SO proud of my team during their first in-service as they filled out the outline that I made for them. They really enjoyed listening to someone other than me. I can’t fault them for that, sometimes I get annoyed with my own voice, too. After the podcast, we reviewed the outline and they asked really good questions. They had never been so engaged in a meeting before. It was a very productive hour. I could not have been happier. This was what we had been missing.
My team LOVES these meetings. They come up with ideas for them all the time. We try to hold an in-service once a month. Sometimes I put other team members in charge of presenting information they learned at a recent dental course. Sometimes we listen to podcasts or watch dental procedures. Sometimes we see a dental colleague give a talk on a video. Sometimes we move the in-service to a treatment room to practice a skill. Sometimes we pretend to be a patient and experience something from his point of view.
But, we are always learning. I want us to be better today than we were yesterday.
How productive was your last team meeting?