7 Tips for a Successful Strategic Planning Meeting

By Laura Jamison

“You may be smarter than me, but you are not smarter than my whole team.” When working with Dr. Jim Pride and Pride Institute, this sign sat on Dr. Pride’s desk. It defined the culture of the Pride team at that time and I imagine still does. Working with a team that supports one another and pushes each team member to be better every day is a WIN-WIN-WIN for the doctor, team members and patients. So engage your team in a once yearly planning session. Here are the 7 steps for planning and hopefully it becomes an annual tradition.

1. Attendance is required of all team members. Dress casually. Provide breakfast and lunch and have it brought in. Consider giving the upcoming year a “theme” and provide small gifts to each team member that reflect that message. Use your imagination. (for example, one year we had the year of the “Dream Team” and everyone got an Orlando Magic Dream team shirt… another year was “Pearls of Wisdom” and everyone was given pearl earrings, then there was “Diamonds in the Rough” everyone received a diamond shaped paperweight)

2. Get OUT OF THE OFFICE. Rent a conference room, meeting room or condo with a nice view. (or meet at the Dr.’s home) Doctors if you are unaware, meetings are a tax- deductible item. PLEASE EMAIL ME FOR THE FORMS TO DOCUMENT YOUR RIGHT TO THIS TAX DEDUCTION (JamisonConsulting@me.com).

3. Have the agenda set and printed. Put it in a binder with all the other worksheets you will use during the Planning meeting. (Put a nice picture of the team on the front of the binder.) Have a flip chart for note-taking and brainstorming. Appoint a scribe to write ideas on the flip chart. Have your team complete an internal & external SWOT analysis of your practice. (List all your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats to identify the internal & external influences on your practice)

4. Review all your accomplishments of the past year before getting ideas for the future year’s improvements. Ask team members to work on these lists before coming to the meeting. Have fun. Any accomplishment can be listed: i.e. new plants out front, hired a third hygienist, office manager received AADOM certification, new Prophy Jets. Celebrate all the actions that got you to where you are today.

Then, begin brainstorming for the upcoming year. Have the team call out ideas for improvement for the upcoming year. Write each one on the flip chart. No discussion of ideas allowed during brainstorming. See just how many ideas you can come up with. Some ideas may not make the cut but are still worthy.

5. Divide the flip chart in quarters, representing the quarters of the upcoming year. Consider all the great suggestions for improvement and realize that they can’t all be accomplished in the first quarter. Prioritize what’s most urgent and then create a quarterly calendar, placing the ideas in different quarters and ASSIGN them to someone specific.

6. Complete the “What, Who, When” action plan:

1. WHAT is the specific task or improvement to be accomplished?
2. WHO / WHOM will be responsible for seeing the task is completed?
3. WHEN will it be completed and in place?

Finally, display this worksheet in a prominent place for the team to see daily throughout the year.

7. End the day with a bottle of champagne, a cake, or by presenting each team member with a small gift and heartfelt thank you.

These are just some quick and easy tips to enhance your Team Planning session. There is an entire science behind a successful planning meeting. Here’s to your success and nothing less.



Laura Jamison’s presentations are focused on dynamic team building and solid business management principles that maximize growth potential. Laura’s unique range of experiences combined with a passion for helping dental teams succeed make her an exceptional choice for your next meeting.

View Laura’s full bio

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