MEMORANDUM

The boss wants us to have a meeting about meetings. He read this article by Cathy Alty on page 22 in the June 1996 issue of RDH magazine. He thinks we`re behaving in an unorthodox manner during staff meetings. We fall asleep. We desire bodily harm to our colleagues when they drone on and on about the new forms we have to complete. The silent counting of knobs in a room is actually interesting. We vow to find a new job with a boss who does not schedule meetings during the lunch hour. We contempla

DATE: June 1, 1996

TO: All Dental Hygienists

FROM: Mark Hartley

RE: Staff meetings

The boss wants us to have a meeting about meetings. He read this article by Cathy Alty on page 22 in the June 1996 issue of RDH magazine. He thinks we`re behaving in an unorthodox manner during staff meetings. We fall asleep. We desire bodily harm to our colleagues when they drone on and on about the new forms we have to complete. The silent counting of knobs in a room is actually interesting. We vow to find a new job with a boss who does not schedule meetings during the lunch hour. We contemplate shooting the next person who says, "Aren`t we supposed to have a meeting right now?"

These lovely sentiments were confirmed in a RDH e-mail survey of hygienists who electronically communicate with the magazine. I report the following observations:

- "It is irritating to listen to individuals who constantly digress."

- Meetings at the end of the day are "bad" because "we`re tired, but more importantly, many of us have a family waiting for us. That`s my priority, not the meeting."

- "What staff meetings?"

- "Any suggestions the staff offered were filed and forgotten. The atmosphere on both sides was always repressed and resentful."

- "My pet peeve is the pace. If someone dwells on one small problem for more than ten minutes and does not offer a solution to the problem, I become quite impatient."

- "Some dentists use the staff meeting as a one-way conduit to simply let their staffs know what they want, what they are unhappy about, or what changes the staff can expect. Some dentists do not use the staff meeting to seek input or feedback from their people."

With this track record in mind, the boss thinks we need to jump-start intra-staff communication. He thinks staff meetings should be an invigorating experience, not something we dread and despise. So what do we do? We could tie up and gag the dentist, selling him to slave traders in Antarctica. The demand for restorative dentistry exceeds the supply of bound and gagged dentists there. Penguins have teeth, and they, uh, eat a lot of snow cones. Or we could bring several decks of cards for a solitaire marathon during the next meeting. Or we could speculate on popular names for our great-great-grandchildren, such as Radius Minus Diameter Hartley. Or we could read Alty`s article.

So the agenda for our next staff meeting is simple: Define the characteristics of staff meetings that will foster an outpouring of innovative ideas aimed at motivating us and patients, as well as improve the practice`s strength in our market. I look forward to our next meeting at 10 a.m. Friday. I`ll bring the doughnuts and muffins.

Mark Hartley

Editor

markh@pennwell.com

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