Congratulations to the recently announced 2016 Big50 class. We all join together in celebrating your achievements and potential. Now is the time to focus on your biggest challenge and move past it to climb that next hill: Is it finding quality team members? Gaining respect for your company—or the industry as a whole? Is your ROI lower than deserved? Do you have the tools and opportunity to chase your dreams?
Rather than remodeling, we could be referring to women’s sports into the early 1970s. In 1971 there were 3,666,917 boys participating in high school athletics and only 294,015 girls. Scholarships offered to women were few at best. There was the misguided belief that “men like sports better than women.” My wife wanted to play on her high school golf team. There was no women’s golf team, so she would have had to try out with the boys. She declined.
This lack of opportunity had a ripple effect: It meant women couldn’t purse their athletic dreams. It meant scholarships weren’t available for women. Until the 1970s, it was common for universities to refuse admittance to women. Did you ever have a woman professor before 1972?
Title IX changed all of that. Passed in 1972, this federal regulation says, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” Prior to Title IX, one out of every 27 girls played a varsity high school sport. Today, almost half of all girls play a varsity high school sport. Today, more women than men are enrolled in universities. Today, there is over $1 billion in scholarships available for women.
Title IX also was the platform that allowed University of Tennessee basketball coach Pat Summitt’s genius to shine and to brighten our world. Here are some of Summit’s accomplishments over her 38-year coaching career:
- At 1,098 wins (against only 208 losses), more victories than any other male or female basketball coach in Division I history.
- Coached the Lady Vols to eight NCAA Championships.
- Had a 100% graduation rate for all student athletes who completed their eligibility as Lady Vols.
Pat Summitt died in June, five days after the 44-year anniversary of the passing of Title IX. Her contributions were immense. Without Title IX, her contributions would have been equally astounding but they would have been felt by far fewer.
If you want to change the course of the industry and address your biggest challenges, let’s learn from this lesson. It’s time for regulations that would fundamentally change the industry, as Title IX changed women’s sports. Regulations that protect our professionalism and our livelihood should be celebrated. What we do is hard and inherently dangerous—it should be earned through experience, proven ability, and continued commitment to excellence. Consumers should have more clarity on the distinction between competent and hack remodelers. There must be consistent enforcement to ensure regulations are fair, but the first step is creating the platform that will allow our genius to shine.