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Meetings and Team Torture


Dear Sharyn

I want our staff meetings to be more productive and efficient. We meet once a month for 3 hours on a day the practice is closed. I’m the only one who lists things on the agenda while the staff just sit and stare at me. They agree to make the changes I identify but then go back to their old ways and so we end up having the same meeting over again. I know I’m sick of these meetings. I’m thinking of just having longer huddles and ending the staff meetings. What do you think?

R.H., Maine

Dear R.H.,

Let’s look at this from your employee’s perspective. You note that these meetings are scheduled on days when the practice is closed. This seems practical, but if the team perceives that this is technically their day off, they will feel resentment even before the meeting begins. Then you say that you create the agenda items and that they are a list of things that the employees need to change. So now we have employees at a mandatory meeting listening to their boss complain about all the things they’ve done incorrectly during the past month. If you were at this meeting, wouldn’t you emotionally check out?

Begin with adjusting your philosophy and intentions. Currently, your approach is that these are your meetings and their purpose is to communicate problems.  But if you shift your philosophy towards the idea these are TEAM meetings where the team is engaging in problem-solving, training and celebrating, then the focus changes from you to them.

The only way the team will feel good about participating in these meetings is if they have a role in designing and implementing them.  Your next meeting should focus on how to have better meetings. Ask them when they would like to meet, how they would like the meeting structured, what training topics they would like and which practice issues they would like to address. You should also agree on how you will acknowledge and celebrate each other.

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Inspired Us to Dream Bigger, and it Works

“As an Office Manager, I’ve seen a great difference in my practice since starting with Sharyn. Three years ago our staff was in turmoil with a lot of infighting and gossip and some jealousy directed towards me.

I had given up because everything I did was judged. Now I have learned to have more one-to-one communication and by being more vulnerable with individuals I found my leadership voice. As a team, we’re all focused on the same goals.

Last year, in August we produced $88,000. This year we’re on track to produce $111,000 this month. I know it’s because we learned how to follow through with patients and communicate our expectations while building our systems.

Sharyn has gotten us out of our comfort zone and inspired us to dream bigger and it works.”

–Sharon St Pierre, Sperbeck Dental Care

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