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  • Karl Walker-Finch

The check-in


One of the first things I did when I started as the new owner of a dental practice was to introduce the morning huddle. An opportunity for the team to get together at the start of the day, before any patients arrive, to reflect on what’s gone well the day before, what we could to better and to prepare for the day ahead. More than all this, it’s a chance for everyone to see each other. It’s amazing how days can go by working in the same building as someone and yet you fail to even see each other.

I first saw the impact of the morning huddle when I start at Lindley Dental and time went by we improved it, with significant influence from Chris Barrow and some tweaking to make it work for us. From the moment we started huddling, I knew it needed to be an integral part of every work day going forward.

Our huddles at Smiles in Tandem have already started evolving and the latest feature is what we call our wellbeing check-in. A concept I read about in World Class by Will Greenwood and Ben Fennel where the England World Cup winning rugby team would do something similar. If it can work for these guys paying one of the toughest sports on the planet, it can work for us.

It takes 30 seconds (depending on the size of your team) and it works like this, each team member shouts a score out of 10 for how they’re feeling today. It helps to start with the leaders or stronger characters in the group as some people may feel vulnerable doing this at first.



The power of this comes when someone isn’t feeling at their best, or worse, is feeling really pretty dire. If you’re having a bad day, it’s all too easy to slink into the background, muddle through and put on the act that everything’s fine, when really, a little bit of extra TLC from the people around you may make all the difference. Anyone who’s been reading these blogs for a while will know I’ve been there.

The wellbeing check-in is an opportunity for the leaders to stand up and show their own vulnerabilities when they’re not at their best and it gives any body in the team the chance to do the same. Admitting that you’re not at least at an 8/10 every day of the week is not a cry for help, it’s not a request to be treated differently, but it’s an opportunity to let the people who care about you, to care for you.

It’s mental health awareness week right now so there’s never been a better time to try it. Nobody should have to suffer alone, this is our way of showing it instead of just saying it.



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