How to announce the DSO to the team.

The not-so-tough conversation: How to share the big DSO announcement with your team

June 30, 2024
If you're nervous about telling your team that the practice is now part of a DSO, have no fear! Here are the best ways to share the news.
Gary Kadi, Founder of NextLevel Practice

You did it! You raised your EBITDA, expertly navigated negotiations, got a fantastic offer from a DSO, and signed on the bottom line. You should be overjoyed, but there’s one little worry gnawing at the back of your mind: how do I tell the team?

While you’ve been working for months on this DSO deal, it’s very likely that your team has no idea what’s going on. Just like you were no stranger to DSO horror stories, your team isn’t either. Without the knowledge that you have—that joining the right DSO is a smart move—your team could easily get spooked … a lot. 

Luckily, there are plenty of benefits to joining a DSO that will make a huge positive impact on your team. You just need to know how to convey this to them. So, let’s run through a few talking points that will help make the big announcement something to celebrate, not cry about. 

We’re gaining a partner, not “selling out” and losing control 

This is a big one. Instead of you walking away and leaving your team to the wolves, you’re still front and center with the added benefit of a partner. We’ve talked about this in other articles: if you’ve joined the right DSO, you will still retain clinical control and remain the leader of the team. The DSO will be a partner that can help the practice financially, not stifle the well-oiled machine you’ve created. You’re joining forces, not retreating.

We’ll be able to grow more than we could have on our own

In today’s world, there are a lot of challenges to running a standalone operation. It’s tough to provide adequate benefits to the team as a small business that has lots of bills to pay. By partnering with the DSO group, the practice will have better buying power to reduce costs and increase benefits. This will mean better, more competitive 401ks, health-care benefits, better payroll systems, IT, access to new diagnostic and treatment technology, and even room for growth within the larger company. 

We’re still us 

While there will be changes in the background, your practice’s identity is still the same. It will have the same name, the same team, and the same daily operations. Your culture as a practice is safe! In fact, your patients won’t even know there have been any changes at all. Changes that do occur will go through you as the leader, and you’re there to protect and guide the practice and team. But now you’ll have access to bigger and better things so you can all provide a higher level of care to your patients.

It’s OK to ask questions 

While you want to make it clear that you’re not looking for input on whether to join the DSO or not, be sure to invite team members to share their questions about the new partnership, and make time available for them to meet with you one-on-one if they have additional questions or concerns. You can also encourage them to reach out to the new partnering company with pertinent questions. The message should be that this is an open and honest partnership that is fully transparent.

Here are our next steps 

Yes, your patient care is going to remain the same, but there will be some housekeeping as your practice begins the transition. You can explain that you’ll be working with the front-of-the-office team to coordinate with the partnering company about setting up payroll, collaborating with their central IT, and working with their accounting firm. After this initial work, their own work will become easier and more streamlined! 

You’ve got this.

It’s okay to feel nervous. If you’re like most practice owners, you’ve tried to implement new ideas, only to have them crash and burn when the team doesn’t share your vision. But with the right open, positive, and encouraging approach, your announcement will be met with cheers, not jeers. By joining the right DSO, you’re actively showing your commitment to your practice and team. The benefits will be more than worthwhile.

Editor's note: This article appeared in the June 2024 print edition of Dental Economics magazine. Dentists in North America are eligible for a complimentary print subscription. Sign up here.


About the Author

Gary Kadi | Founder of NextLevel Practice

Gary Kadi, founder of NextLevel Practice, is on a mission to help dentists beat the odds. While most dentists now don’t retire until age 69, and 96% of them aren’t financially free, Kadi has developed the strategies and methods to empower dentists to retire on their terms. The more than 6,000 practices he’s worked with generate over $1 billion in combined collections. Kadi has helped them discover true freedom—becoming time-free, debt-free, and frustration-free.

Updated July 14, 2023

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