Starting the Day Off Right

February 19, 2023
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Recently, a pediatric DSO group settled with the State of New York’s Medicaid Fraud Unit for $750,000.  The investigation was prompted by a former employee “whistleblower” who alleged that staff at the clinics performed unnecessaryprocedures, and were pressured to increase the number of patients and procedures in order to meet a $180,000-per-month revenue goal.

A morning “huddle”, “opportunity meeting” or whatever one wishes to call it, is something nearly all management consultants agree as being a key component in a practice-wide communications system.  Yet, most also promote the discussion of money and numbers in the form of production and financial goals.  There are dangers with such a format.

Yes, productivity should be an integral component of every task and tactic in any business.  Profit, after all, is a worthy and necessary pursuit.  But we’re also professionals and responsible to “a higher authority”…our consciences.

Do you think these New York Pediatric practices had a daily revenue goal discussed at their morning huddles?  YBYA they did!  How else can one ENFORCE a $180,000 a month production goal?

Yet, this statement of VALUES, taken from the DSO’s ownwebsite doesn’t mention money at all: our affiliated dental practices can focus on providing the highest quality care with rigorous compliance, as well as investing in the latest technologies and innovations that benefit their patients. The dental offices also aim to provide a comfortable and enjoyable dental experience for all children.

Was production mentioned?  

The risks of putting the dental team under financial pressure on a daily basis is just one reason to avoid such discussions at a morning meetings.  The other is that it just sends the wrong message about the actual VALUES of the practice.

When asked, few dental practice owners, let alone their employees, will say that MAKING MONEY” is a primary VALUE in the practice.  In my experience, most will talk about quality patient care, the patient experience, and service, the exact things I recommend discussing at every morning huddle.

When there is conflict between VALUES and ACTIONS, the results can be devastating as TRUST is dissolved and culture fractured.

Of course, if there’s NO MONEY, there’s NO MISSION!  Dental Practice must make a profit.  And today, profits are under tremendous pressure.  It’s just ONE reason that the “morning huddle” needs to maximally effective.

In the Practice Perfect System’s Morning Opportunity Huddletemplate, the discussion revolves around patients, especially new ones, referral sources, and the schedule.  When new patient flow, and scheduling efficiency are maximized, production and revenue follow.

How do you motivate and even incentivize the team, if not by daily production goals?

It’s done by having a scorecard for each team member.  Keeping score and a rigorous system of monitoring and review is required.  A practice culture must be consistent with its values.  Profit is a byproduct of excellent team performance.  

Every position in the practice has it’s unique KPI’s.  Those should be monitored, and the individual scorecard reviewed withteam leaders and individuals on a regularly scheduled basis.  

Some examples of KPI’s are:

Front Desk:  Conversion from new patient call to first appointment.

Dental Assistant:  Time per specific procedure

Hygienist:  % of perio tx vs prophys

Office Manager:  Accounts Receivables

Want to increase your production?  The keys are keeping score,effective morning huddles and acting consistent with the VALUES of the practice.

Do you and every member of your team know the practice’s values?  Is the practice culture consistent with those values?

If you’re not communicating and reinforcing your values through your actions, culture will grow on its own, haphazardly, and often unproductively.

Want a copy of the PPS Morning Opportunity Huddle Template?  Just ask.

Want help in defining your VALUES and putting them into actions as a CULTURE GUIDE (values in action)?  Same way…just ask.

Towards effective communications,


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Dr. Michael Goldberg is one of the leading educators on dental practice management in the United States.

Michael ran and sold a prestigious group practice in Manhattan and has been on Faculty at Columbia University and New York-Presbyterian Medical Center for 30 years including Director of the GPR program and Director of the course on Practice Management.

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