By Whitney Hauser, OD, Founder, Signal Ophthalmic Consulting
1. It’s all about expectations. My father has said that to me countless times over the years, and truer words were never spoken. Whether it’s soldiers on the battlefield, a classroom of children or a staff at a practice, expectations guide the individual and the group. A huddle is the perfect opportunity to reinforce expectations like punctuality and commitment to customer service. It also gives a platform to review performance goals. While a public forum isn’t the place to present the “stick” to underachievers, it’s a great place for the “carrot.” Recognition for those hitting goals can appeal to the aspirational side of fellow staffers.
2. Put on your rally cap. Maybe you aren’t Dale Carnegie or Tony Robbins, but you can still inspire your employees. Passionate leaders bring that same passion to the work lives of their staff. Starting the morning off with quick story or even a quote will set the tone and get the ball rolling.
3. Create family ties. Many practices, for better or worse, function as a family. We often spend more time with our co-workers than loved ones at home. Getting together at a huddle is like dinner time around the kitchen table. Everyone can have a chuckle about what happened the day before or get something a nagging complaint off the chest. Families provide great support, but sometimes you hurt the ones you love the most. The huddle offers to start each day with a clean slate.
4. It cuts both ways. Classically, doctors think of the huddle as a way to start their employees’ day off on the right foot. However, it also provides real-time feedback about what the struggles are in the trenches. Doctors are occasionally guilty of demanding the unachievable, and a huddle allows employees to give quick updates on what the real challenges and opportunities are for the practice. Often staff members can provide outstanding suggestions that drive a practice’s success, because they truly have their finger on the pulse.
5. Pass the baton. Optometrists have many strengths. Unfortunately, delegation of duties is often not one of them. The morning huddle allows the doctor to take a step back and lets the office manager shine. Leading from the back is a powerful reinforcement of the doctor’s faith in her second-in-command. Without saying a word, giving the floor to another individual speaks volumes to both the office manager and staff.