A Team That Learns Together, Grows Together

Real World Insights from AADOM Authors - Tiffany Dalton, MAADOM

The Importance of Team-Oriented Continuing Education

At times, our daily routines can feel like a hamster wheel. Days and weeks run into each other, then suddenly, you’re already through the first quarter of the year.

While going through this cycle of daily tasks in a dental practice, you can start to see your team lose their steam. Even after giving daily praise in recognition of their accomplishments, they still seem more and more anxious to leave at the end of the day with an unfinished list.

So how do you keep your team motivated in their daily roles and help them maintain the vision and mission behind showing up each day to provide the excellent dental care for which we all strive?

Consistent team meetings and team-oriented continuing education!

At our office, we have a few different approaches to help keep our team focused while also motivating them in their roles.

We start with weekly team meetings focused on honing important and specific skill sets. Whether it’s targeting our hygiene program, patient communications, or simply being sure that we are running our schedule as smoothly as possible, these meetings produce action items. Each week team members work on these targeted skills, helping the practice’s growth. If the item or topic needs more attention than what that meeting allows, then we put it in the “parking lot” and address it at our operational meeting.

Our operational meetings are scheduled once per month. These meetings are more focused on the systems and operations of the practice. This is our chance to address any “parking lot” items from previous weekly meetings. We dive into our current systems to ensure full team understanding and address any inter-office issues that may have come up over the last month. We write new systems when needed as we shift our practice into the new world of dentistry.

Another approach we like to take is quarterly growth conferences. This is our chance for practice leaders to meet with team members one-on-one. This individual contact is vital in building confident employees who understand our practice’s mission. When team members see the individual investment in themselves and their own growth, their sense of connection to our office inspires and motivates them. We can discuss the employee’s strengths as well as areas of need. We create growth plans for each team member, giving them actionable items to focus on as they learn and grow in the practice.

These three meeting types work very well for our practice; however, they may not fit all practice types. They can also slowly start to become part of the mundane. Switching up the agenda and adding fun activities such as an office scavenger hunt or any type of culture-building activity, instead of systems and dental talks, can be vital motivators for your team.

Another great approach to keeping motivation and morale up would be an out-of-office continuing education meeting or conference. Taking your team out of the practice to learn together is a great opportunity for overall team growth. It allows your team to get to know each other outside of the practice setting. You will see a lot more laughter and bonding occur, especially if you are traveling with your team.

After attending an educational course, be sure to schedule a follow-up meeting. The next team meeting should include time for team members to share what they learned. We ask our team to bring back their top five takeaways to discuss with the team. This will allow room for open discussions on any new systems or action items that the practice would like to adopt. It is also a good time to reminisce on the fun times that were had and set new goals for future meetings.

Strategically placing these moments of fun combined with great learning will keep your team motivated and your practice growing. Your job is to keep your office off the hamster wheel and on a path straight to success.

About the Author

Headshot of Tiffany Dalton, MAADOM

Tiffany Dalton, MAADOM, is the Practice Administrator for Murdock Family Dentistry in Billings, MT, and has been with her team since 2011. She is also the Founder and Chapter President for the Yellowstone Valley, MT AADOM Chapter. In 2020, Tiffany was nominated for Practice Administrator of the Year and was awarded the prestigious Practice Administrator of Distinction Award. She most recently achieved her Mastership (MAADOM) and is on track to complete her diplomate distinction (DAADOM) in 2022.

Tiffany has loved growing in her role in the practice setting and enjoys helping her patients through their oral health journey. She has a true passion for dentistry and strives to help others create & implement the tools they need for personal and professional growth. It is her goal to always be an inspiration to others.

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