I do not think it would be brash to claim that our morning huddle is the most important fifteen minutes of our day. The time we spend together is a valuable tool for focusing our energy and attention and maximizing our efforts. In our office the huddle takes fifteen minutes and no longer. The rule is that if it takes more than fifteen minutes we are either not prepared or off topic. The purpose of the huddle is to grant any team member who needs it an opportunity to clear their mind for the day. Every one of us has days when something personal is on our minds and can prevent us from being fully present at work. A good deal of the time if we can simply claim what is distracting us, the distraction seems to be less potent. On other days we need the rest of the team to pitch in for us.
The second purpose of the huddle is to focus on patients and share whatever we need to so we can do the best we possible can. Each team member is charged with reviewing the patients on their schedule for that day and coming to the meeting fully prepared. The things we want to focus on are positive or negative experiences from the patient’s past appointments that may influence today’s interaction. We look for specific things we know that can make the patient more comfortable. For instance, we have one patient who is fantastic, but hates the background music we usually play. Before he would always have to ask us to change it, now in the huddle we discuss changing it so it is ready when he walks in – and he noticed! We also discuss patients with incomplete treatment plans and how to help them cross those barriers. Lastly, we identify the places where we need each other’s support to avoid running behind or in providing an exquisite level of service.
The more we do this the more efficient they have become, and as patients repeat you will not have to go into the same detail the next time. Our morning huddles have reduced stress and conflict during the day as we identify the rough spots before they happen. They have also helped everyone on the team being in better relationship with our patients. Lastly, they make us a team!
These and other team skills, topics and scenarios are taught in the team-oriented course I lead with Mary Osbourne and Joan Unterscheutz, For more information, you can click on the link below.