I’m delighted to be co-hosting the show today based on a book which I find extremely exciting, called The 2-Hour House. Author Brian Conaway and co-founders Jose Feliciano are individuals who built not only the Two-Hour House Company but the 2-Hour House book.
Joining us as well today is going to be Jett Parker.
A team of 800 plus volunteers in Tyler, Texas built a house to code in less than three hours, dubbed The Two-Hour House. The experience had an unimaginable impact on the builders, the civic leaders, and on the community. Today’s show will focus on that story and this experience and the life-changing lessons revealed along the way by Brian Conaway and Jett Parker.
The concept for their company evolved on October 1, 2005, when the president of the company, Brian, led a team of 800 test volunteers through Connely Homes in Tyler, Texas, to achieve the impossible. This is just so incredible to me. They built a 2,240-square foot house in two hours and 52 minutes and 29 seconds. That is the impossible. Ironically, the greatest outcome wasn’t building a house in record time, it was developing a new methodology for transforming a vision into reality.
Jose was the owner of Feliciano Financial Group, a wealth management firm in Tyler. He helped Brian to package the vision building tools that he refined from the 2-Hour House experience. The tools and a best-selling book were both put together and complimented the business building techniques. Now, Jett Parker is leading training individuals in the field on those techniques.
The result is a unique construction site. You can go to www.2hourhouse.com where Brian, Jose, and Jett challenge all leaders to ignite the spirit that has made America so great and build their possibility-defined vision. Welcome, Brian and Jett.
Brian Conaway: Thank you.
Jett Parker: Thank you. It’s good to be here.
Dr. Cathy Greenberg: Let me start off with my experience to date with something that is at the root of your experience with the 2-Hour House, and that’s about my knowledge and experience with what used to be called the 4-Hour House video. That was a video that was used by Jim Champy and Michael Hammer in the late 1990s when I was with Computer Sciences Corporation, to help leaders see the practical nature of doing something differently through re-engineering.
Can you talk a little bit about how your new 2-Hour House may, in fact, be similar or dissimilar to that?
Brian Conaway: Absolutely. I was at a seminar and they were talking about time management and scheduling and actually showed that video to us, and that’s one of the things that motivated me.
A little bit of background on how this all started—I was President of our local Home Builder’s Association and I always wanted to do a project that involved the entire community, involved the association, and raised money for six local charities that we had.
So, I decided that we would try to set a new world record and that we would go for building a 2-Hour House, or in the 2-Hour timeframe. That’s actually where we came up with the 2-Hour House. We say their video, everything that they did, and that was done back in the 80s so a lot of things have changed since then. Technology has improved, but also codes have really become a lot more stringent since the 80s. We had a lot more challenges on top of us in order to pull it off and do that.
Dr. Cathy Greenberg: Well, I’m glad that I saw that little bit of a thread there because usually when something pops up in the marketplace like that, you realize how valuable it is and then you wonder, wow, where did it go. I was so delighted to see the evolution of the 2-Hour House. Before we get into the actual mechanisms of using the 2-Hour House prophecies and how you co-founded the company, and Jett’s role in educating executives in the use of the methodologies, I would like you both to tell us a little bit about yourselves and how you came to work in the field you are in now.
Brian Conaway: My dad started off as a builder. It’s a family business, my brother, myself, and my father. He’s been a mentor to me and I’ve been following his lead. He was President of our local Association and our state Association for home builders and that how I got involved in that end of it.
That is basically why I’m here. I just kind of followed his lead and now I’m President of our Home Builder Company. We are production builders. We build about 150 homes a year and just enjoy what we do.
Dr. Cathy Greenberg: That’s a great way to honor your dad and his leadership, that’s fabulous. Jett, how about you?
Jett Parker: I’m a Texas girl. I was raised in different parts of Texas, graduate from the University of Texas. My focus was part of marketing and part on corporate training or organizational communications. How does an organization use systems, processes, practices to drive performance? That was my goal in school and it turns out that’s pretty much the area I went in and have been improvised 26 years with a focus on working specifically with CEOs, entrepreneurs. How is it that we can provide them with tools, techniques, anything that would help them drive the performance of their enterprise.
It was a very nice fit and a good calling to start applying my work in the classroom, if you will, because my parents were teachers. I’m still teaching away, it’s just in the corporate classroom, and apply that with what Jose and Brian are building.
Dr. Cathy Greenberg: Jett, you met Brian when you were writing your book, ABCs for CEOs?
Jett Parker: Actually, I wrote my first book, ABCs for CEOs, a few years ago. I’m on book number two now. I was introduced first, actually, to Jose and we struck up a conversation and I said a couple of things. 1) What our CEOs really need is a Batman hotline, a trusted source that they can call and say, here’s my problem, and somebody takes care of it. 2) That we have a serve not sell, teach not tell philosophy and that was in keeping with what these guys wanted to do, that if we’ll just teach entrepreneurs out there a better way to build their impossibles, then if we can supply the techniques, with the process, a specific way of fulfilling their own dreams, then everybody wins. America wins. Not just that entrepreneur.
He remembered that conversation and a couple months after that he called me and the next thing we know we are all working together.
Dr. Cathy Greenberg: You also are the editor and founder of a CEO newspaper called CEO IQ?
Jett Parker: Correct, and it’s written by CEOs for CEOs. In fact, there is a column in there in our online version, a 2-Hour House version.
Dr. Cathy Greenberg: Can you tell us who influenced you as a leader? Brian, can you go first?
Brian Conaway: My dad has definitely been a mentor to me. Just watching him be successful in his business and kind of grow up around him. The way he’s run his business and treated people and all the values that I have learned from him, so that’s really, definitely been a big plus.
Also, I mentioned and in the 2-Hour House book I dedicated that to my children. I actually have four girls. They are all young and I wanted to show them that when you put your mind to something and work people the right way, anything is possible.
Jett Parker: Leader—Well there are certain people that made an impact. First and foremost, my parents. They were both teachers and in fact, my 82-year-old mother still teaches English as a second language. She is also a motivator for stamina. I guess I don’t have anything to complain about when I don’t want to get up early in the morning.
A speech teacher, believe it or not, in junior high. Virginia made a huge impact on my because she made me realize the power of presence that you can evoke and how you carry yourself and how you present the message. Masters of innovation and change like Herb Kelleher who founded Southwest Airlines. Quanah Parker, my great-great-grandfather. Even people that you might not ever hear of who are changing entire industries—a guy named Glenn Bodinson who is a Malcolm Baldridge master and is changing the healthcare industry, one system at a time. It’s going to help save America and our health care system.
Listen to the complete interview, above.