Imagine for a moment that you’re watching your favorite football team in a playoff game. It’s fourth down and there are 20 seconds on the clock. Your team has the ball at the 20-yard line. The entire season is on the line and they need a touchdown to win.
After taking their last time out, the offense heads back on the field, the quarterback huddles his guys and calls the play. They line up and hike the ball. The quarterback steps back, waits for his wide receiver to get open, then throws. It’s caught.
You could change any of the specific details of this scenario and it wouldn’t necessarily change the outcome except for one: the huddle.
If the quarterback had not communicated the play to the rest of his team, there’s a good chance the game would have had a disappointing ending.
THE DAILY HUDDLE
This is, in essence, the same reason why the Daily Huddle is key to the success of your practice: If you and your staff aren’t on the same page, communicating regularly and working towards a common goal, then you’re not effectively operating as a team.
And it’s so simple: a 15-minute meeting held (around roughly the same time) every business day in which you and your staff plan for the day and discuss important business objectives.
There’s a reason why restaurants, retail stores, and professional sports teams all do their own versions of a Daily Huddle: it helps to create a culture of accountability and collaboration within your business and instills an “opportunity mindset” in your employees.
WHY IT’S IMPORTANT
I know from personal experience what a difference this kind of open communication can make: I worked in a private practice for over three years where we had a meeting every week to discuss openings in our schedule and making sure that our patients were bringing a Third Party to their appointment. Then, one week, the owner opened up and told the team, “We need to sell X amount of hearing aids this month.”
That was a real game-changer for us! Suddenly, we had a mission. We started looking at our schedule differently. We thought about what each person needed to do in order to fill any gaps in it. We put a counter in our breakroom that displayed the number of devices we’d already sold and how many more we needed to sell to hit the magic number. We rallied around the owners and congratulated one another for every hearing aid sold. And we took even greater pride in knowing that another device sold meant another family’s life had been changed for the better.
The point is, setting goals for your employees and holding them accountable for reaching those goals can give them a greater sense of purpose and help keep them focused.
All you need to get started is a schedule that reserves time for the appropriate number of hearing evaluations (opportunities) to meet your practice’s unit goals.
During your Daily Huddle, you should concentrate on any unfilled opportunity blocks (up to five days out) and identify ways to fill those gaps such as:
- Front office staff rescheduling cancellations and no-shows
- Patient Communication Specialists calling on Out of Warranty (OOW), Tested Not Sold (TNS), and other patients within the database
- Providers making daily TNS calls
Consult YHN even provides a handy Daily Huddle Template for you to keep track of the numbers and use as a guide for each meeting. Some of our Associates follow this form to a T while others incorporate additional details that are more specific to their business goals.
OVERCOMING YOUR OBJECTIONS
Typically, we hear the same few objections from practices that aren’t doing the Daily Huddle. So, allow me to address each of them individually while also sharing examples of how some of our other Associates have implemented the Huddle in their own practices.
You feel uncomfortable discussing your finances with employees.
Our Daily Huddle template form only focuses on the numbers and figures (opportunities, units sold, Third Party rate, patient referrals, etc.) that are key to your success. Your employees aren’t going to start demanding raises the second you reveal how much money the practice makes. But if you’re honest with them and deliver details about the business in a way that they can connect with, it may open their minds so that they, too, are able to see the bigger picture.
Of course, nothing motivates people better than money. That’s why many practice owners offer their employees incentives for hitting certain goals, whether it be a free lunch or cash prize.
You’re not a morning person and/or are too busy to meet with your team every day.
Yes, when Consult YHN first rolled out the concept, it was called the “Morning Huddle.” But we’ve since amended the title and recommend that practices Huddle at whatever time of day is best for their schedule and staff as long as you’re consistent. For many of our Associates, that time is just after lunch.
On the other hand, I spoke to a Director of Operations who has found that an early review of the materials has made the process much more successful. So much, in fact, that he and his staff now Huddle at 7:30 AM, a half-hour before the office opens. That way, by the time patients start walking in the door, the staff is energized and ready to take on the day.
You have a large staff and more than one office.
This is hardly a reason not to Huddle. The more employees and locations you have, the more important it is to get everyone on the same page. One ENT clinic that we work with conducts its Daily Huddle via conference call with the entire staff at each of its five locations. During the day, this same team makes a concerted effort to work together in order to fill the schedule. If a patient cancels their appointment, the FOP sends a Skype message to each office, so everyone is aware that there’s now an open slot that needs to be filled.
You have no clue how to go about implementing it.
Our Account Managers are trained to help Associates implement all of Consult YHN’s different strategies and best practices. They do whatever they can to help you succeed. So, reach out to your Account Manager or reach out to me.
Whatever you do, just make sure you reach out to your employees — because trust me, you’d be surprised what 15-minutes can do for staff morale and your bottom line.
About the Author
Julie Gesuale joined Consult YHN in 2010 and currently serves as an Assistant Account Manager in the company’s Hospital and University Division. Her diverse professional background includes customer service, marketing, and project management. When not working, Julie enjoys spending time with her wife of 15 years and her two rescue dogs, Sheldon and Leonard. She’s also been singing in church and community choirs for over 25 years.