By Roger P. Levin, DDS
Everybody hates them. They waste time, kill morale, and basically suck the life force out of the practice. I’m talking about bad meetings.
At my seminars, I hear many horror stories from orthodontists and team members about the quality of meetings in their practices. Nobody knows the purpose. The right information isn’t shared. One or two people monopolize the conversation. The gathering turns into a giant complaint session.
These comments are disturbing because meetings, when run properly, are an extremely positive force in the practice for sharing information, finding solutions, and building camaraderie, especially in an ortho practice where teams tend to be large and diverse.
Does your ortho practice have a problem with meetings? Here are four things not to do:
- Don’t Appoint a Meeting Organizer. If nobody is running the meeting, then you get chaos. People talk over one another. The meeting meanders from one subject to another without any real purpose. Even when problems are discussed and solutions proposed, assignments aren’t given and next steps aren’t taken. If it’s the monthly staff meeting, the orthodontist or office manager should run the meeting. If it’s the morning meeting, the scheduling coordinator should be in charge.
- Don’t Start on Time. Punctuality matters. Everyone’s time is important. If people are allowed to stroll in 10 minutes late, then that’s 10 minutes wasted multiplied by the number of people attending. By always starting late, you’re sending a message that it’s okay to waste people’s time. If it’s always the same one or two people, you’re telling the team members who do show up promptly that you don’t value their time.
- Don’t Follow an Agenda. Every meeting should have an agenda. If you don’t, then the meeting can easily be hijacked by the latest Internet controversy, celebrity gossip, big weekend game, or other pop culture phenomena. An agenda tells everyone what the meeting is about and serves as a roadmap for the discussion. If it’s a longer meeting (e.g. several hours), putting an estimated time for each topic helps keep the meeting moving forward.
- Don’t Stay on Topic. Even with an agenda, conversations are likely to veer off in different directions, which can be good to a point, because you do want people thinking outside the box. A lively discussion can spur creative problem-solving. But too many tangents can derail the meeting. It’s the meeting organizer’s job to keep everyone focused on the agenda topics.
A poorly run meeting is a missed opportunity to fix problems, build morale and unify the ortho team. You’re not only wasting time, but also money since you’re paying the other staff members to attend. Are you ready to break the bad meeting habit? Start by avoiding the four mistakes listed above.
Attend Dr. Levin’s new ortho seminar, Building the Ultimate Ortho Practice, on March 31 in Tampa, tuition-free. Ask your Ortho2 Systems Consultant how you can receive an Educational Grant. Go to www.levingroup.com/orthoseminars to see dates and locations for all ortho seminars in 2017.