Something interesting often happens before the start of a big team sport occasion – be it football, rugby, basketball or any other team sport.
It’s the team huddle.
That moment when all the members of the team gather in a circle, arms around each other’s shoulders and all bent forward to hear the words of the captain.
The question is why?
Surely all of the tactics have already been worked out and agreed and each individual knows their role and responsibilities. So what purpose does it achieve?
Well, it’s the last opportunity to bond as a team before the action starts. It’s a chance to focus on the game ahead, to remind the whole team of the common goal they are trying to achieve and also to reinforce the team’s commitment to making it happen. It’s a rallying call.
As with many other aspects of sport, there are lessons here for business – new ways of doing things that lead to increased efficiencies and greater productivity. With this in mind, more and more dental practices are adopting the principles of a group huddle every morning before patients arrive and the business of the day starts.
So what are the advantages of a team huddle for a dental practice team?
The most important benefit is the opportunity to share knowledge about the day ahead. Which patients are booked in, what we know about them and any opportunities or issues that team members need to know about. So, for instance one member of your team might know that a female patient booked in for a dental health check that day is getting married in a year’s time. Firstly, that’s nice to know for perhaps the dentist, hygienist or front desk staff to mention in conversation, which makes that patient feel recognised and that the team are taking an interest.
‘The most important benefit is the opportunity to share knowledge about the day ahead.’
But it might also present an opportunity to talk about her aspirations for the wedding and the possibility of helping her look her best for the big day through orthodontics or tooth whitening. If the information hasn’t been shared then these conversations are much less likely to happen.
Perhaps later in the day, you have a returning patient who was particularly difficult the last time they visited the practice. Again, sharing that knowledge and flagging up the previous issues will put the team on their toes and help to ensure that similar situations don’t reoccur.
During the huddle, the team might also flag up patients that are due in that day who have yet to join the practice’s membership scheme. Once they are on the radar it can be agreed as to who is best to mention the plan to them with a suggestion that they join.
It’s a simple premise – the more you know about the day ahead, the patients that are booked and the treatments they are coming for, the more prepared you are to deal with them more personally and efficiently and also to make the most of the (otherwise hidden) opportunities that may present themselves.
So, how are you going to do things in your practice? A daily huddle to get the whole team focused and prepared for the day ahead or the usual muddle through?