This week’s short solo show explores a potentially transformational strategy you can put to work in your practice with as little as five minutes a day.
IT genius Jeff Sutherland first explored the value of a short daily team meeting in his book Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time.
Prav’s been a big fan since reading the book shortly after its publication in 2014 and has since made daily scrums (AKA huddles) a feature at his group of practices and marketing agency.
In this episode, Prav looks at the origin of scrum as a software development tool, discussing how it can be adapted to a dental setting to transform the working week and boost business growth.
In This Episode
00.47 – The daily scrum – an intro
03.00 – Scrum in practice
07.52 – Scrum in dentistry
12.27 – How to scrum
26.14 – In summary
About Prav Solanki
Prav Solanki is an entrepreneur and dental marketer who has purchased, developed and exited a successful group of clinics. He is the director of The Fresh dental marketing and growth agency and founder of Leadflo—an advanced lead management system for dental practices.
[00:00:00] I spend a lot of time with my team in the morning, seeing them up, figuring out what needs doing. Executing my delegation strategy. Having my team members delegate to other more junior team members. But every day that happens. And let me tell you, I couldn’t possibly imagine running several businesses without some kind of daily huddle.
[00:00:29] This is Dental Leaders, the podcast where you get to go one on one with emerging leaders in dentistry. Your hosts, Payman, Langroudi and Prav Solanki.
[00:00:47] Hello and welcome to the Dental latest podcast. Today is another solo episode. This topic of today often leaves practitioners divided in opinion of whether they think the subject matter of what I’m going to share today is the right way to run the business. The wrong way to run your business. An inconvenient way to. But before I talk into that, I think what I’d like you to do is just reflect for a moment and think about growing your business and think about having a team around you to help you grow your business. And that team or those team members can either be given a role and they go off on their own and they fulfil those roles really well in helping you on your growth. Well, they kind of self-manage. They go off in their direction in your business. Gross. Okay. Or the alternative scenario is being surrounded by those team members who you connect with on a daily basis. You share your goals with them on a daily basis. You talk about how perhaps you know the things that went wrong yesterday or the things that could go well today, every single day, and how you can learn from them. Your team members may be connecting with your patients in a way that you maybe don’t connect with your patients, and they could possibly feed back to you and teach you things about your business on a daily basis. And if you haven’t guessed it already, what we’re going to talk about today is the Daily Huddle Scrum, The Daily Stand-Up, the morning meeting.
[00:02:30] Call it whatever you want, but it’s that concept of planning every day. It’s that concept of sharing with your team every day. And it’s a concept of developing your leadership skills as a leader every single day and having a team around you that are driven towards the purpose, the goal, the vision that you’ve set out. In my businesses, at least, the majority of the we have a daily huddle. In the majority of my business is not and not with Democrats yet. I call it we call it scrum. And I guess, you know, that originates, you know, in the soft certainly in the software development world. You know, we’ve we’ve built and designed and created quite a few different bits and pieces of software for the industry, be it the the support platform, the, the is the company used. Mentally. You know, that was an idea that was borne by clinicians who had ideas. And then they came to me and I directed a software development team to create their dream. Write this port, this portal that allows clinicians to give secure. My software development team has built our own CRM system that manages thousands of inquiries on a weekly basis and automates that and helps patients outpatient workups, clinics convert or elevate their conversion rates. Right. All of that stuff started with a line of code.
[00:04:03] It started with an idea for I’m surrounded by a team of software developers that I direct I meet with on a daily basis. I learn about what their goals. And then drives them accordingly. And what’s really interesting is that before I started adopting the Scrum methodology in my business, right, and if you want to learn about the huddle and its foundations and its origins and more about the benefits of it and much more detail, and then I’m going to share with you today. I read a book by a guy called Jeff Silverman, I think is something likes from the arts of doing twice the amount of work in half the time or something like that. And if you just look up Jeff Sutherland, it’s a really cool book. So I saw inspiration from that book when I started utilising. Growth in my business on a daily basis. Right. And it was actually it was my lead developer, James, who pushed me into reading this book. And then I saw it was just one of those moments where you think, why the fuck have I not been doing this since day one? Right. And, and so then I went back to James said, look, this is a great idea. And it’s like been trying to tell you for the ages, but let’s do it. And so the concept was that we had a team of software engineers who went off on their own. We made their own mistakes.
[00:05:32] They came back. This piece of code failed. That doesn’t work. This doesn’t work. And guess what? It was taken as ages to write any code that produced any valuable functional software. And then we brought the team together and all we did is as a team, we decided, what’s our goal for the next two weeks? What do we want to achieve? Right? What is it in this piece of software? So we broke everything down into micro two week tasks or two week chunks of it. We split them up into tasks. And every day we met and we discussed what every team member was working on, which pieces are code they were writing, and what the impact of that would be and whether we’d be, at the end of the day, towards that two week goal and everything that the whole team was doing, the software engineers, they were working. That two week goal. What happened as software development, cadence or speed went through the roof. We started producing software that was working. The team started collaborating more and working together more to solve problems. So instead of taking a day to solve a problem, they were done in an hour. Because, you know, four I’s are better than two and all of that. And the end result was a happier team. But what I noticed as a business owner is it helps me to connect to my team better. It made me a better leader.
[00:06:57] It helped me to identify the little personality clashes in our team, how to deal with them. It also helped me to identify the lazy mode folks in my team who are no longer in my team. Because when you’re talking every day, when you’re meeting every day, and when you are discussing what is ahead of you that day and when you’re discussing what did you achieve yesterday? Did you achieve what you set out to achieve yesterday? There’s no way a bloody high. And so it’s great to get real clarity on who’s doing what. Who’s pulling that way? Who’s contributing to that angle? And who’s in there for just a free ride. So when I used Scrum in software development, it really, really opened up doors for me in terms of my own business growth. Let’s go back to the business of dentistry now. Right. If you’re one of those practice owners who says the huddle will never work for me, there’s not enough time in the day. Staff get in at different times of the day. Our patients are already in at that time. People won’t come early because of childcare, right? Sponsored than one decent excuses you can use, right? There’s some practices that managed to do it and some. Smash yourself. The question, why is that? And by the end of today’s podcast. Let’s make a case that is probably worth giving it a shot, and I’d like to make a case that you will achieve.
[00:08:32] More rapid business growth. A happier time, happier patients. And you’ll be able to spot opportunities faster than you ever after in the past, because you’re meeting with your team every day. You’re discussing opportunities, pitfalls. How you can fix problems and you’re leading that team and connecting better with them every day. So for those of you who have employed the hotel or already in a practice that uses the daily huddle, I think there’s a few key benefits that you’ll know already. Right. I’m going to share it with you. It reduces errors, having a daily huddle and talking about what went wrong yesterday and how we’re going to prevent that from going wrong ever again. And looking at lab work two or three days ahead and looking at problem patients that are coming through the door and looking at nervous patients who are perhaps coming through the door that might need a little bit more attention and looking for opportunities when patients are coming towards the end of treatment or an opportunity where a patient’s walking into a practice for the first time ever, for whatever reason, whatever whatever things you’ve discussed in your huddle. Right. So you’re one thing. It reduces the amount of mistakes you make over. And if you’re in one of those practices that continues to make the same mistake over and over and over again. But you don’t share it with your team. You don’t strategize how you can fix it.
[00:10:12] You don’t delegate or discuss how possibly somebody else would take responsibility or ownership of that problem. And you carry on making those mistakes. The one thing that it really does for me, I mentioned this earlier gives you complete transparency on what your team are doing. An accountability is wonderful for teambuilding, absolutely fantastic for teambuilding and morale booster. It improves efficiency. That goes without saying. It allows you to scale your business a lot quicker and improves customer service. So with all of those benefits, it only makes sense that you at least give it a shot. Like give it some consideration. So what is the huddle? It’s a meeting that happens first thing in the morning, 10 to 15 minutes. It doesn’t need to take that long. But we need all of the team fully engaged. And I say usually start that day with some positivity, some affirmations, your core values, essentially. Why do we exist? Why are we amazing? And what is our purpose? Clinic, then go on to talk about what went wrong yesterday. How does it see how we can fix that in the future? What processes and systems we can put into place to prevent that happening again. And what does today look like? What does amazing look like today? Right. If today was amazing, what would it be? Yeah. Is it getting three Google reviews, having, you know, really happy patients? Is it getting that love working on what was amazing look like today? Okay.
[00:11:55] And what are those steps towards? Happy and amazing day in between? All of that is spotting opportunities, problems and your planning ahead. And every single day that you do a huddle with your team, you are making marginal gains in your. Even if you’re making those tiny 0.1% gains in multiple aspects of your business over time, your business is just going to grow. Okay, so let’s kick off with the first part of the Hodl. What I truly believe that you should be doing is talking about what your core values are, why you exist. And making some positive statements about the. Okay. So, you know, whatever that may be in your practice, right? So here are changing faces. Our ethos is about providing exceptional dentistry, exceptional care, and exceptional customer service. And every single patient that walks into our practice deserves the very, very best that we can do. And every single patient that walks into our practice will walk out of their practice and telephone friends because of the exceptional service that every single one of us deliver. Yeah, we are absolutely amazing in what we do and we should all be really proud of the smiles that we deliver at that point. Possibly share some positive news to what we would do as we just run through one or two Google reviews that were left yesterday, a video testimonial that was handed over yesterday, a Facebook review.
[00:13:43] Oh, Mr. Smith said this. Isn’t that amazing, Joel? Well, good on getting that review and team. Fantastic on delivering that amazing experience in service. Right? Start your huddle off with a bit of positivity, right? Talk about then the good stuff from yesterday. Specifically treatment fun. So reviews that you got, testimonials, referrals from friends and family members, social media mentions, comments, those sort of things. Positive patient experiences. Summarise the good stuff from yesterday, then talk about the bad stuff. Okay. Complaints. Team issues. How we could have prevented that any mistakes we made. Was there any late lap work? How did that happen? Poor planet, patient issues. Emergencies, whatever that was. But just briefly summarise. The bad stuff. Yes. Okay. So the what went wrong? What’s really, really important when you’re discussing this in the hotel is figuring out why that thing went wrong and discussing as a team and making sure as a business leader, you give your team a voice. Okay. Certainly in my businesses, I don’t want to be the guy coming up with all the ideas. I don’t want to be the person who’s put in all the drafting and figuring it out and doing all the direction stuff. Because I’m surrounded by people who are ten times better, a hundred times better than me. But doing what they do. Okay. So for me, it’s more about the home and not the house. So there are some when we talk about the plans to open it up to the team, how could we prevent that from happening yesterday? What could have we done? Could have.
[00:15:42] We called the patient ahead of their appointment and warned them that, you know, we’ve started late today and there’s likely to be a ten minute delay or 15 minute delay, which it’s making its way throughout the day. Yeah, we could have done that. Mrs. Smith It was then at 4:00, you ended up getting seen at 430 was pretty cheesed off. If we’d have called her at lunchtime and said, Look, these things look like they’re running late today and, you know, your appointment may be a few minutes late or maybe a little bit later than normal. How are we going to handle that? Right. It may be that you introduce a policy because of that. They say, you know what, if it’s time they’re more than 50 minutes late, somebody has to walk into reception, apologise to that patient. And give him a gift voucher for Amazon and tell them how much we value their time and we’re really sorry. And this isn’t how we normally operate. Right. Over the Budget Office. Let your team contribute to the great ideas. And you see great ideas come out. Okay. So what went wrong yesterday? But more importantly, what can you do to fix? Then the next thing I like to think about in the huddle, after you’ve done the good, the bad, and then what you know today.
[00:17:01] Right, the follow it. Okay. Are there any call backs in the day ahead? Any patients need following up three patients who came in yesterday and had, you know, infarct surgery? Well, any nervous patients that attended the practice for the first time? Are there any treatment funds that need following or chasing today? Were there any FTAs yesterday that we need to follow up on? And this is really important, and this is where I ask yourself this question Have you ever had a patient? In the morning and then you scrambling around for the lab work. You realise it hasn’t arrived. So what happened in your practice? I know a lot. I know a lot of clinicians would be nodding their head like, okay, but if in that huddle you give one team member the responsibility for looking of lab work two plus days ahead and reporting on lab work two plus days ahead, and if there’s no sign of it and there’s no communication about it, but we get in touch with the lab. We realise very early on that there was no way that lab was going to arrive. By the time Mr. Smith comes in, in 48 hours time, you’d better rearrange Mr. Smith’s appointment, because there’s a downside to doing that. Pissing off Mr. Smith when he turns up having council half a day of work ready to come in for some kind of surgery that was absolutely nervous about only to be told, Oh, I’m sorry.
[00:18:32] He love works. Not here. The hotel prevent a whole bunch of disasters. Right. And you know what? If that does happen and your lab works late and all the rest of it, you sit down with your team in the hotel and you talk about how could have we prevented that? What could have we done? What could have been done to save us the embarrassment? What could have how could the communication be let back into the rough? We know this love always delivers life. Do we need to think about changing lamps? Do we need to think about perhaps booking the appointments a little bit? You know, giving the patient a little bit more time when they come in, whatever that may be. You figure out a process and a strategy that moves forward. You never make that mistake again. You focus on fixing the mistakes and problems. And as a business owner, I mention this all the time to my clients. I’m a problem solver as a business owner and a problem solver, and I solve to fix problems and my team help me solve and fix fix problems. It’s no more complicated than that. And you get really good at solving very, very specific problems. And with the huddle, when you’re talking about problems ahead, you become even better at fixing those so that your business will smooth. So after you’ve been through your follow ups.
[00:19:51] There are opportunities for you to identify. Now, when you run that data hoddle, there’s usually one person who will call him the Scrum Master, and we’re running scrum like who runs that day and we tend to base it off the dailies. Right. Here were the patients coming in today. What are the possible opportunities ahead? So what I would ordinarily do is work my way through that Davis and say, okay, is there any white space in the valley? Today. Is there any white space in the diary ahead tomorrow that we could look at doing some follow ups, callbacks and squeezing some local patients in? Right. So there are any gaps in the day. Are there any opportunities for testimonials? Right. Whatever that is. Is it a video testimonial? Is it a Facebook review? Is it a Google review? Who’s going to ask that patient for a review? Who’s the person who’s got the deepest relationship with that patient? Who’s that patient going to be connecting with? So in the huddle you say, All right, graph. You’re going to ask John for review when he comes in at 2:00 because he’s your mate. When we get to the huddle tomorrow, surely the question is going to be, so did you ask John for the review? What did you do? I left with you. Congratulations. Well done. That comes into the positivity section. No effort to hide that because he’s got to ask John for a review at 2:00.
[00:21:17] Okay. And if it doesn’t, we’re talking about it tomorrow. What went wrong? Are we going to need to follow that review or are we going to need to call that issue? What other opportunities can lie ahead for us, if you will, looking at the day list? Right. Some of us operate that day list and it hits us. As if he is patient by patients that they list as nothing while list of names for ends of hearing into your ecosystem as that time ticks along. Some of us look at that day list and see what we’ve got ahead of us. We look at the little hurdles we need to jump over. We look at the positive opportunities that we’ve got ahead. Right. So what other opportunities are there out there? Social media selfies, Smile reveals content opportunities as well as the reviews everybody talks about as that patient got a birthday coming up. With that patient come back off holiday. Was there, you know, bereavement in your family? Was there anything? Right. Anything. Is there something specific about any of these patients we should be bringing up? Well, Mr. Smith walks in on his birthday when we say, See that patient? Happy birthday, Mr. Smith. Yeah. Welcome to Change of Faces. If you take a moment to go to, actually and while I’m talking about birthdays, if you take a moment to go to the changing faces dentistry Facebook page and.
[00:22:47] Look of one of the recent posters. See that mark north of. And it’s a lady who came in and have full arch implant dentistry. 50th 60th birthday. I can’t remember that. Right. But what did we do that day? We got some balloons with their age on it. We got us some flowers. And the first thing that happened when that patient walked through the door, she got a birthday greeting from all of I would see how were we able to do that? Because we. Two days, three days before, and we’re able to make that patient feel really special. So what are the opportunities in your day list that can help you get more stuff for you reviews, testimonials, selfies, reveals, and all the rest of it. What are the opportunities in your day list where you can possibly elevate your level of customer service? Elevate the experience of patients? Right. Share that with you to think about what the opportunities are. Then we like to talk about special needs. Okay. Is there any nervous patients walking through the door? You know, Mr. Smith, who’s avoided the dentist for the last ten years and absolutely terrified at the thought. Walking through the door. Perhaps we know Mr. Smith’s coming in at 2:00 today, and I’m going to go and open the door for Mr. Smith as he comes in. I’m going to come from behind the reception area. I may even hold his hand and take him to the, you know, the seating area.
[00:24:22] Offer him a drink. Get down to high level. Sit down with him. Tell him everything’s going to be okay. Congratulate him on making the effort of looking up the courage to come and see us today and telling him he’s not alone. And we’ve got hundreds of patients like him. Maybe you’ve got somebody in your team who is super duper. We’ve noticed patients. So we identify them on the list and we say, Sarah, we got one of your specials in today. Make sure you give them the red carpet service. Okay. So those special needs nervous patients. What about referrals from friends and family members or another dentist? Right. That’s another opportunity, but it’s a special need right there. We can just sort. Talk to that patient about that with. About that friend, about what they’ve we’ve done for them. Okay. That’s okay. We’ve all got those patients. Okay. We’ve all got those people in our businesses who are slow. Okay. Those was the moment that opponents over, they die out of that door before going to the reception desk and we get sick and then we chase them. Right. If you know who they are, if you know the usual suspects. Right. You can you can keep your eye on that. If it’s a sizeable deposit, you need to take off the pay of patient at that appointment. You can either all forget about it because no one’s mentioned it.
[00:25:52] It just happens to be in the patient’s thinking. Those or you can bring it up in the hallway and go, Hey, mister, Mr. Woods has got to pay £7,000 to. Our Fish Treatment fund. So can we make sure we pay attention to that and collect that today? So that is another one, which is especially that we like to. And that’s it, really. That is ultimately your daily huddle. Okay. It’s a relatively short podcast, but I think it warranted this conversation because I’m having more and more conversations with business owners who are divided on the benefits of the hotel and just don’t know whether or not they should be doing it right. So I’m just, you know, speaking to the converted, if you already do it. And what we’ll say is whatever excuse you’ve got, you can find a way to implement and execute this. If growing your business is important not to you, change your start time, move all your patients 10 minutes ahead and you think, Crikey, all of that clinical time I’m going to lose, right? Pay your team to participate in the whole. Yeah. But it’s during their time that they’re getting paid for and that you’re not getting paid from clinicians. I know in my team every morning in do I spend a lot of time meeting with my team? I hate meetings for the safety meetings. I spend a lot of time with my team in the more.
[00:27:26] Seeing them all, figuring out what needs to execute in my delegation strategy, having my team members delegate to other more junior team members. So for every day that happens and let me tell you, I couldn’t possibly imagine running several businesses without some kind of daily. And then moving on from there. You know, we have moving on from there. You’ve got to be strategic meetings and things like that. What’s the next two weeks Sprint looks like for this project? And so. And that comes back to the, you know, the pulse of the business rate, the meeting rhythm. So you got your daily means, you got your retraining, you’ve got your monthly meetings, right? You discussing different things at those meetings. But let me tell you, I’m that guy who hates meetings for the sake of meetings if there’s no execution of the. I’m not interested. That’s medium for today, guys. So. Thank you for tuning in. If you’ve got any value out of it and you know, you you’re not a huddle person and I’ve converted you or changed your mind, please leave something in the reviews or in the social media. Post the payments that are going to share or somehow reach out to me and let me know that you’re going to give it a crack, because it means a lot to know that if I’ve shared a piece of content and somebody has gone ahead and implemented it, that’s wicked. That will make my day.
[00:28:56] This is Dental Leaders, the podcast where you get to go one on one with emerging leaders in dentistry. Your hosts Payman, Langroudi and Prav. Solanki.
[00:29:12] Thanks for listening, guys. If you got this file, you must have listened to the whole thing and just a huge thank you both from me and pay for actually sticking through and listening to what we had to say and what our guest has had to say, because I’m assuming you got some value out of it. If you did get some value out of it, think about subscribing. And if you would share this with a friend who you think might get some value out of it, too. Thank you so, so, so much for listening. Thanks. And don’t forget our six star rating.