In conversation with Tom D’eri, Maria discusses the many ways to unlock your potential in business and how nothing should hold you back. Tom is an expert in autism employment and shares his best business tips that apply to any career. He shares the ways in which people with autism have made businesses so successful and the tips he has learned from them.
Unlock Your Potential with Autism Employment Expert Tom D’eri
It all started when he and his father purchased a struggling car wash business in Florida in hopes that his brother, who has autism could work there. That was always their goal, to help Andrew find purpose and be able to showcase his unique abilities. The carwash went from washing 35,000 cars to over 170,000 cars a year. Plus they now have two other locations that service over half a million cars per year and employ over 80 people with autism. Tom always wanted to build a business with an impact.
Tom created a business for those with autism to give them employment and empower them, and what he found was that it was no different than empowering anyone else, their needs were just more apparent. By working with them, they identified issues that hold a lot of businesses back. Now it’s at a point where they are getting the word out to help other businesses follow this model for success.
When they first started, there were few to no examples of businesses they could model, and there was a lot of doubt and uncertainty from others that this would work. When they tested their concept at their first car wash, they learned conventional knowledge about people with autism was misguided. It all goes back to how you build the work environment, which then yields good results. When people struggle, you sit down and help them specifically with their needs and end up coming up with better solutions for everybody.
Lessons in Success from Tom & Rising Tide Car Wash:
A Lesson on Hiring:
You set yourself up for frustration when you hire for technical skills. This group of people with technical skills is so slim. If you could hire for character strength and then teach the technical skills, you have such a broader group of people to hire from. Hire for heart, train for skill!
A Lesson on Communicating with Employees:
The way that you are communicating the role or the task to a person matters. It’s easier to blame the person than to speak with them and ask why they’re struggling and fix the roadblocks they are running up against. It really can make the business more successful and in return make you a better boss.
A Lesson on Management & Accountability:
You must hire managers that foster growth and allow people to do their jobs; viewing mistakes as learning experiences rather than fault/blame. Use accountability as a tool to have success in business. Being that easygoing boss is not helping them, it helps when you push them and say you believe in them and want to see them succeed and do better, and come to a conclusion together on how to grow and do things better. It all ties back to having clear responsibilities and expectations for success.
Finally, A Lesson on Why You Don’t Fire Your Worst Employees:
For new founders to seasoned managers, do not fire your worst employees. The people who are constantly failing or seen as a point of friction in the organization, instead of firing them, sit with them and look at the business through their eyes. It is such a point of innovation for an organization, it brings a different perspective on your business and transforms the way you operate it. When you go and try to bring that bottom 25% to the middle, that is what will take your business to the next level. It will raise all of your employees to the highest level, help you unlock your potential, and allow your business to operate at a better level than it was before.
For more from Autism Employment Expert, Tom D’eri & how to unlock the power of potential listen to the full episode here: listening to the full episode!
For more episodes, check out Heal Squad x Maria Menounos. Subscribe on YouTube, Spotify, and Apple.