Dental practices, like many businesses, often hold staff meetings. Unfortunately, most staff members view meetings as an unnecessary evil. In fact, staff meetings in every industry are generally seen as a boring waste of time. This puts practice owners in a tough spot.
There’s no getting around it. You must hold staff meetings periodically to review everything that concerns the practice. Plus, these meetings offer the opportunity to bond as a team and set the tone for a well-run practice. Want to eliminate the bad connotation of the dreaded staff meeting? Stop calling it a staff meeting and start calling it the Monthly Business Review.
The Monthly Business Review
The Monthly Business Review should be a powerful meeting that educates everyone about practice performance and helps encourage energy, positive attitudes, and commitment. I recommend having a value-based agenda that includes:
- A review of practice targets: Targets are metrics that are used to measure practice performance. In the business world, they are called key performance indicators or KPIs. KPIs for dental practices include production, collection, accounts receivable updates, no-show rate, overhead, profit, and a host of other key statistics that indicate the health of the practice. The team should be educated about what each statistic means and asked to give input as to how to improve any target that has been missed.
- A review of the practice vision: A practice vision is a written statement of where you want the practice to be in five years. It should become the guiding force for the future of the business. By including the team in regular updates of the vision, you create a higher level of commitment.
- A review of practice goals: Every practice should have a minimum of 10 goals every year. Goals should be written and measurable, and they should have a deadline. They also need to be reviewed on a monthly basis so the practice maintains a high focus on goal achievement.
- Short-term and long-term improvements: Based on the work of Dr. Edwards Deming, Total Quality Management (TQM) pioneer, businesses should always be focused on continual improvement. One way to ensure this is to identify short-term, 30-day improvements and longer-term improvements that will require more time and effort to reach as part of every monthly business review meeting. By maintaining an intentional focus on improvement, the practice sends a message to everyone on the team that improvement is essential and expected and creates clarity around which improvements will be addressed.
Engagement and Fun
If you think a successful meeting is you sitting at the end of a long table, downloading a bunch of information to a staff who merely listens and takes notes, you’re wrong. You could have all the best goals and targets in the world, but without engagement and fun, it’s likely that they won’t get met.
Ask questions, create exercises, and let people know that participation is welcomed and that there are no bad comments or ideas. I’ve been in meetings where people have made some of the most ridiculous comments I’ve ever heard (and they truly were ridiculous), but they led to discussions that further led to really great ideas.
Finally, keep the meeting energized, upbeat, and fun. I’ve seen practices that have prizes, lotteries, or surprise lunches. One office even scrapped the rest of the work afternoon, and after the monthly business review meeting, everyone was taken shopping with a $100 gift certificate. While most meetings will have a straightforward agenda, the occasional surprise will both delight and motivate your team.
Getting your staff together each month should be something they look forward to, even if it’s for a meeting. Use these strategies to for successful Monthly Business Reviews that help create successful and happy teams.
Dr. Levin is a third-generation general dentist and the founder and CEO of Levin Group Inc, a dental management consulting firm that has worked with more than 26,000 dentists. Dr. Levin, an internationally known dental practice management speaker, has written 65 books and more than 4,300 articles. He is also the executive founder of Dental Business Study Clubs—dentistry’s only all-business study clubs, the next generation of dental business education.
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