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A Tale of Two Cultures

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A Tale of Two Cultures

Solid company culture can be easily spotted by clients—and they'll pay top dollar for it 

By Erika Mosse May 24, 2023
company culture
Photo: blackboard1965 | stock.adobe.com
This article first appeared in the September/October 2022 issue of Pro Remodeler.

I have a toddler, and finding day care has been a problem. In desperation, I signed on with Bright Horizons, an expensive, multi-national chain. The nearest location was in an office complex downtown, and getting there was inconvenient and time consuming. 

But I loved the place. They had stimulating activities, committed teachers, and great communication. After a few months, a spot opened up at another daycare that was walking distance from our house. I liked the director, and in spite of a few negative reviews, it seemed fine. Amazingly, the price was $845 less per month than Bright Horizons. I jumped at the opportunity. 

But almost right away there were problems. Some were big issues: Teachers were often buried in their phones, and it was unclear what, if any, activities were going on. Some issues were small: Micah’s teacher never said hello, or even looked at him when we arrived. The only photo we ever received was the same daily pic of all the kids eating lunch. 

I talked to the director, but nothing changed. After several weeks, my husband and I decided to return to Bright Horizons and save money some other way.

Without a team aligned around that common purpose, how can you deliver a great, or even good, product? 

Lately, I’ve been spending time talking with Brian Gottlieb, founder of Tundraland Home Improvements, and a true expert on workplace culture. It was through my conversations with Brian that I was able to clearly articulate the issue with the second daycare. 

When I told the director that we were leaving she asked why, and I borrowed a page from Brian’s book. I explained that every problem she had, big and small, was the result of one overriding issue. The issue was alignment.

No one who worked there was aligned around a mission. I would bet that a mission existed somewhere — after all, no one starts a company saying, “Our purpose is to obtain revenue by keeping young children in a room.” But any child-centered culture had broken down, and there were no discernible values that the business stood for. 

Without a clear mission, vision, and values to steer you, how can you chart a course for anything other than mediocrity? And without a team aligned around that common purpose, how can you deliver a great, or even good, product? 

I explained this to the director as kindly as possible, but she kept returning to the individual issues I brought up, saying things like, “I’ve reminded the teachers to stay off their cell phones.” But those are only symptoms. 

For a remodeler, the importance of knowing your purpose and making sure your team knows it too cannot be overstated. A team is stronger when they have internalized the company’s values and are empowered to make decisions to support them. It’s also helpful to review staff using the values as a benchmark. 

I don’t know the workplace culture of Bright Horizons, but I do know that they are getting top dollar from parents because their team members create a better product.

Remodelers are the same way. Many homeowners will pay a premium for a seamless experience, and then go on to refer your company again and again. 



written by

Erika Mosse

Director of Content

Erika Mosse is the director of content for Professional Remodeler. Contact her at emosse@sgcmail.com or 972.803.4014.

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