Successful Team Communications

Initial Team Meeting Agenda

The initial team meeting of your new practice allows you and your staff to focus on long-term goals in addition to the daily tasks needed to operate the practice. This two and a half hour agenda covers everything from icebreakers to your practice vision, from defining owner roles to developing your mission statement, and more.


Icebreaker (15 min)

  1. Set a tone for open and active communication throughout the meeting by starting with icebreakers.
  2. Move around the room, then everyone has a chance to answer according to where they sit.
  3. Try tossing a softball to the 1st person, and they can pass it to the next person, making sure everyone gets a chance to speak.
  4. Examples of icebreaker questions include:
    • Please share one of your “bucket list” items.
    • What is the best advice you ever received?
    • What made you choose the dental field as a profession?
    • What is one thing you have accomplished you are most proud of?


Practice Vision (10 min)

  1. The practice vision should be written ahead of the meeting and shared with the staff.
    • Reading the vision twice allows for more impact.
    • You can also provide copies for the staff to read and reflect on.
  2. Please see example vision statements as you author your personalized vision.
  3. The vision statement should be displayed in a staff-only area of the practice, such as a breakroom.


Owner Roles (10 min)

  1. Define individual roles for practices with more than one Owner/Partner/Associate.
  2. It is common to have a “managing partner” handle day-to-day activities, including staffing.
  3. See the “Roles Defined” document available from Burkhart’s Practice Support Team if you are dividing managerial duties.
  4. This clarification is helpful for the staff.


Mission Statement (30 min)

  1. The mission statement is written by the staff as a team and based on the vision statement.
  2. The mission statement should be framed and displayed in a patient viewing area, such as the reception area. Keep this in mind when writing the mission.
  3. It is helpful to delegate one person as the scribe who can utilize a whiteboard during the process.
    • Make a list of adjectives describing your practice (caring, gentle, high tech. etc.).
    • Weave the adjectives into the mission statement.
    • The statement should be concise, thorough, and meaningful.
    • See example mission statements.
    • Team buy-in is higher when they take an active part in writing this statement.


Team Agreements (20 min)

  1. Team agreements are written by the staff; they help define comfortable working parameters for everyone.
  2. Plan to limit the team agreements to five to ten individual statements.
  3. Allow staff to read these example team agreement statements while determining the top five to ten agreements necessary to make a working environment successful.


Staff Performance Review Forms (5 min)

Provide each team member with the staff performance review form you will be using for future reviews. This sets up each team member for success as they learn what is important to you.


Bonus Structure (15 min)

Optional – define any bonus structure you are offering as well as production/collection goals.


Annual Calendar (10 min)

Optional – review open/closed days for the year, if applicable.


Employee Manual/Benefits Review (15 min)

Optional – review any changes for the coming year.


Q&A (15 min)



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