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Rising Tide Car Wash in Parkland, Florida, isn’t average in any way. When Tom D’Eri and his father John bought the location in 2013, it was struggling. Now it’s one of the highest-volume washes in Florida. Its employee retention rate is five times that of its competitors. It has spun off into a second location that was immediately successful, and more locations are being planned. Both locations are absurdly profitable. Each year, 370,000 cars drive away sparkling. Rising Tide has become a media darling, featured on The Today Show, NBC Nightly News, and in magazines including Entrepreneur, National Geographic, and Forbes.
Why so much hoopla over a successful car wash? Roughly 80 percent of Rising Tide’s workforce is made up of people with autism. You might think that Rising Tide has been so successful because people have celebrated its social mission. That’s true, but the mission alone doesn’t explain the excellence that permeates every aspect of the business: service quality, customer experience, teamwork, management, and organizational design. Put any aspect of the D’Eris’ operation against other businesses, and you’ll find they have the edge.
The Power of Potential tells the inspiring, surprising reason why: The car wash’s excellence isn’t in spite of their unusual workforce, but because of it. Thanks to their unconventional staff, the Rising Tide team were able to discover and correct common problems that typically fly under the radar in businesses. Solving these problems led to unexpected wins like increased psychological safety, accountability, purpose, and connection with customers:
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