Starting Staff Meetings on a Positive Note

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Neil Baum, MD, and Neeraj Kohli, MD, MBA

Neil Baum, MD, is Clinical Associate Professor of Urology, Tulane Medical School, New Orleans, LA, and author of Marketing Your Clinical Practice-Ethically, Effectively, and Economically, Jones Bartlett Publishers.

Neeraj Kohli, MD, MBA, is Director, Division of Urogynecology, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Assistant Professor, Department of Ob/Gyn, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA.


Meetings are unavoidable—but they don't have to be unproductive. You can transform meetings from being time sinks to springboards for effective action by learning how to set smart agendas, keep meetings on track, handle problematic behaviors and time-wasters, and motivate employees to take action. Most staff meetings are usually not productive and result in griping and bickering among the staff, the office manager, and the doctors. You can start out a staff meeting on a positive note by going around the room and asking each employee what was the best thing that happened to him or her in the practice since the previous meeting. You will be delighted to hear the wonderful responses from your staff, and this opportunity to share positive occurrences in the practice gives staff members a feeling of accomplishment. This also motivates the other employees to provide better service to their patients in order to obtain compliments from patients or others who interact with the practice. It takes only a few minutes, and you will find that if the staff meeting starts out on positive note, the meeting will be more productive in improving the quality of care that you provide to your patients.
Bottom line: Lighten up. Make your staff enjoy their regular staff meetings. Emphasize the positive side of your medical practice and have each individual staff member share their positive experiences with all of the other members of the staff.