Spring Forward

Although the weather reports seem to indicate otherwise, Spring is here. With a relatively brutal winter (hopefully) behind us, it is finally time to train our eyes on sunnier seasons. New beginnings, regrowth, renewal, and all other spring euphemisms aside, what better way to start fresh than by finally executing truly effective, interactive team meetings?

A grass field

Effective Medical Practice Meetings Include Brain Food

Few things are better than getting an email that there are snacks in the meeting room.  Provide coffee, fruit, or other treats to keep bellies full and minds open and positive during the meeting.  It is also important that the doctor(s) attend and be engaged without interruptions (i.e. helping to lead and contribute to the meeting vs. sitting in the back working on a phone or laptop).   A key reason to have regular team meetings is to foster an open environment that encourages dialogue among colleagues, allowing the team to be tied into the practice goals and doctor’s vision – to accomplish this practice leadership should be engaged.

Failing to plan meetings = Planning to fail at meetings

Meetings need planning. This starts with a pre-planned, printed, short agenda (usually with no more than 3-5 short topics). Once the actual meetings start, begin with a pleasant greeting, and a positive update about the practice (a happy patient testimonial, a revenue milestone reached, a positive development in the planning of an upcoming event, or even a personal announcement that the team members are willing to share).

  • Set the meetings to begin and end at specific times, lasting no more than 30 minutes to keep your team engaged. Create an agenda that follows a consistent structure without cramming too much into the beginning of the meeting. You would not do a month of exercise in a single day, so don’t cram a week of info into the first 5 minutes of your team meeting.
  • If you need an ice breaker to soften a tough prior week and subsequently negative vibe, try passing around a coin to each team member and ask them to share something interesting that they did the year the coin was minted (make sure coins are from the last 20 years).
  • Revisit items discussed in the previous meeting to assess progress and highlight success.
  • Discuss and consider solutions to any issues or problems without naming any names. If it is too obvious who is being discussed, it may be best to hold a separate individual breakout meeting so you don’t embarrass anyone in front of the group. Praise in public and scold in private is an adage worth following.
  • Acknowledge wins and triumphs no matter how big or small. Those who had a great week or did something above and beyond deserve recognition and the push to keep up the great work.
  • If you have a running team incentive or contest, discuss the progress on achieving the goal to keep folks motivated.  We have a client who set a 6-month goal of performing a certain number of new treatments, and is taking the team on a trip to Miami if the goal is exceeded.  This extravagance isn’t necessary (nor common) in most practices – even a gas card, catered lunch or a bonus day of PTO can go a long way.
  • Regardless of your personal opinion of the Miami Hurricanes Football Team, their “turnover” chain is an excellent example of positive recognition and how it creates a culture that drives results.  What version of the turnover chain would work for your team?
  • Hot Topics – Are there any new techniques or trends happening in the industry that the team should be educated on? Bring to light a relevant article that relates to increasing business or patient satisfaction.
  • Review “radar items” – reminders and education about new processes, products, or initiatives the teams need to be aware of, and gain their commitment on these items.
  • Identify items that need to be addressed by the next meeting and gain commitment from team members that they will be completing the tasks needed.
  • If somebody on your team gives a great idea don’t be afraid to say, “That’s superb, Brittney – would you mind spearheading?”.   You can also consider giving individuals the opportunity to take turns running the weekly meetings or parts of the meetings.
  • Conclude by confirming the date and time of the next week’s meeting and adjourn positively. Have everybody go around the room and say something that is positive. Be prepared for any negativity so that if anybody says, “I can’t think of anything”, you have something positive already in mind for each team member.

Once you are consistently having team meetings on a weekly basis you will see the culture in the office change for the better. Over time the focus of each meeting, the team members involved, and exactly what is accomplished may change, but the frequency and structure should never waiver. For additional support to improve your practice culture, or to discuss how we can help you with staff training, retention, or recruiting, reach out to us at info@yellowtelescope.com.

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