By: Bridget Burris

My husband and I have started, taken over and grown a few practices. We have also visited more than one! One of the things I most want to see in any office is how the morning meeting is run – I can tell a great deal about an office, a team and their success or lack thereof by simply observing their morning huddle.

Let me describe to you what I am looking for in a morning meeting and why. If you read this carefully and pay attention to the detail here, you should be able to create your own template for your own office that will work for you. Of course you can feel free to post your questions here and I’ll do my best to answer them! There is no one size fits all when it comes to morning meetings.


  • Timeliness – A team that starts on time usually runs on time, sees patients on time, finishes appointments on time, finishes cases on time, finishes for lunch on time, returns from lunch on time and leaves on time. In my mind, there is nothing more important than timeliness. This goes for the doctor too – this goes for the doctor especially. Doctor, you set the tone. Either you are lax on time or you are unwilling to accept anything but running on time. For everything you do!
  • Attitude – Attitude is key. Are people smiling and happy to be at the morning meeting? Are they standing and paying attention or sitting down and trying to drink their coffee in peace? Just stand back and take a look, or, better yet, get an uninterested third party to observe your meeting without the staff knowing what you’re doing and see what their impression is. They don’t need to be an orthodontic consulting expert to give you great insight into the overall attitude of the doctor and team!
  • Appearance – Dress for success is more about how we wear what we wear than what we wear! Do the doctor and team take pride in their uniform – whatever that may be? Do the doctor and team look clean and well groomed? You don’t have to get a makeover every day but we should all do our best to look like we care enough to be presentable.
  • Engagement – Is the meeting setup so it takes active participation from all team members? Are they writing down the dates for future appointments? Are they highlighting people who are over treatment time or past due? Are they noting patients with birthdays or special needs? Watching how much or how little team members care about the details tells me all I need to know about how the office runs – clinically and administratively.
  • Enthusiasm – A good attitude is just the start. Being happy to be present is the minimum price of entry for the offices we run and for those with whom I consult. The goal is to have team members who are excited to be there and excited to help people get the smile they’ve always dreamed about.
  • Purpose – Why are we here? What are we doing? What is our purpose in this moment at the meeting? For the day? For the week? For the month? For the year? It is good to remind everyone what we do and why. We all need a purpose and an office with a clear and repeatable purpose will always out perform one without clarity.
  • Schedule control – Is the team striving to control the schedule? Scheduling is the most important thing in an orthodontic office. What days will be worked, how is the template set up, how are the patients distributed through the schedule (evenly or bunched up in the am and after school), how are patients distributed among days (does each day have a similar number of patients or is there wild fluctuation among days)? Either you control the schedule or the schedule controls you. Be proactive, someone should look at every patient day over the next 10 weeks at least weekly and make sure the patients are evenly distributed among the days and for each day. Tell the staff members what days are available for them to schedule 4, 8, 10 weeks out (whatever the doctor prescribes) and only open a few columns at a time per patient day and fill those up before opening more. This will help you avoid and hourglass shaped schedule.
  • Trackers – People respect what is inspected. Trackers are fantastic ways of keeping track of what we are doing and how well. You can track any number of things: Ask Fors, same day starts, same day debonds, compliments received by the staff, compliments given to patients and parents, patients referred by our patients, patients referred by PCDs, patient complaints (and our solution), broken brackets, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram posts, emptying the garbage can, cleaning the bathrooms and much, much more. Track behaviors you want and reward the completed tasks with encouragement and recognition!
  • Goals – Similar to “Trackers” but bigger! What do we want to accomplish? Similar to “Purpose” but smaller!
  • Encouragement – Do team members encourage one another, appreciate what others do for them and the team and recognize individual and group success? Do team members and the doctor encourage patients on a daily basis?
  • Personality – The morning meeting should reflect the personality of the doctor/owner and the team she or he has created. Again, there is no right way or one size fits all solution when it comes to a great morning meeting. Some doctors are loud and boisterous, some are quite and reserved, most are somewhere in between. Make it your own but make it fun!
  • Why us? – The very best teams can all recite, in their own words, why patients should choose us. Specifically. Precisely. Concisely. If a potential patient or parent asks a team member or the doctor, “Why should I come to your office instead of going to see Dr. Smith,” what is the answer? You better have one. Every team member better have one. And it better be good. I can’t give you yours but I can tell you that our offices have been about access, affordability, great results and fun for a long, long time. Again, this is not a phrase to be memorized but an ideal to be internalized by each and every team member and then put into their very own words. A great way to work on, refine and crystalize this “why us?” is to have team members take turns answering the question, “why us?” at the end of every morning meeting, every single day. You will see your why grow and change and improve with the passage of time and the sharing of ideas among peers and friends!


Morning meetings are important. Take the time to design the one that is perfect for YOU! Don’t try to copy someone else because you are unique and special with your own set of strengths that enabled you to make it to where you are in life. Make your meeting a priority and you will see what a powerful and useful tool it can be to you, your team and your practice.

10 thoughts on “Have A Great Morning Meeting – Template

  1. Thank you so much for so eloquently sharing so many amazing pearls, wisdom and knowledge!

  2. We also started an “end of day” meeting, 5 minutes, sometimes we don’t need it, just for team members to discuss anything they wanted to without the patients present and sometimes to vent frustration that we don’t show in front of the patients. It’s great to get things off your chest instead of taking it home. If the day was challenging or there was a learning experience, it’s easier to deal with when it’s fresh in our heads, or if we did something awesome, we congratulate ourselves.

  3. Thank you James, Ben speaks very highly of you and I look forward to meeting you one day.

  4. Great idea! Another way of using team meetings to achieve your goals

  5. Thank you Bridget. I look forward to the posts you and Ben make to help us become a better orthodontists. They are very helpful!

  6. Thank you Chris, glad you find them helpful. We have learned most of these lessons from the school of hard knocks!

  7. This is such a fantastic article. Honestly we have gone back in forth from having morning meetings, then not having them, then having them, then not having them. This has definitely reinforced the need for them. Thanks!

  8. Yay! So glad this reinforced the need for them. I’m a big believer in them setting the “mood” for the day. Happy that you enjoyed the article

  9. Admitting change, when I started practicing 40 years ago my attitude was to make sure parents and patients were enjoying their visits. In order to accomplish this everything in your article was a demand or I should say a requirement when hiring and when monitoring dailey progress within the practice. We thrived with a staff committed and happy and patients who were telling moms where they wish to be treated.
    When my committee to monitor and set the example slowed then I knew retirement will be quick to come. Your article was sent to me by my young partner who is guiding the practice back to where it was so that I can grow into retirement mode knowing that he is getting the right advise for success. Wonderful and insightful article, a throw back to timeless goals. Thank you.

  10. Wow! Thanks for sharing. Maybe you can write a guest blog or article in The Progressive Orthodontist Magazine and tell us about the progression? Good for you!

Comments are closed.