Leading with Love in the Boise Construction Industry with Ronda Conger

Reading Time: 19 Minutes

About Ronda Conger

Ronda Conger is the Vice President of CBH Homes, Idaho’s largest home builder. She’s also the author of You Go First: Becoming the Leader Your Team Needs and Better Human: It’s a Full Time Job.

While leading CBH Homes, raising her family, growing her personal brand, and volunteering in Boise, Ronda always strives to be a better human.

In this interview you’ll gain insights into how Ronda Conger overcomes adversity and manages multiple priorities in order to live her life and career to the fullest.

After the Interview

Read the Transcript

This transcript was auto-generated from the original video recording using Otter Voice Meeting Notes.

While the transcript has not been human edited, we hope it will still help you to quickly find or reference useful information from the interview.

0:06 

Hi, welcome back to Deliberate Leaders. I am Allison Dunn, your host for this podcast and today’s guest is a very special lady also located here in the Boise market. Her name is Rhonda Conger. She is the Vice President of Cory Barton homes also known as CBH homes, which is Idaho’s largest home builder. She is the author of books and it’s uncover them. You go first, as well as this lovely package of gifts from yesterday. Better Thinking and Better Human. Thank you very much for those. Oh, good. Um, Rhonda is also heavily involved in the local market well beyond her CBH home activities. She owns Sky View Real Estate and she owns her own leadership company under the Better Human label. And she’s also an active board member of the St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital, as well as a cabinet member which sounds very special. of the Treasure Valley YMCA. Rhonda, thank you so much for joining me here today.

1:06 

I’m so excited. This is gonna be amazing. Thank you for having me. My pleasure.

1:11 

You are one of the first female speakers that I saw when I moved into the valley. You were speaking at a Zions Bank, North Main location. And I just love your energy. And when you spoke I was I had, I didn’t make the connection that you were in home building. And I was just like, oh, gosh, I’m so confused. So I think I know the Boise market is not confused by all of the various things that you do. But I just want to make sure my listeners understand your variety. So let’s talk about how did you get started like what did you start your career doing?

1:52 

So like the very beginning? It’s true. First of all, I will tell you so I’ve been in homebuilding for over 25 years. So I’m homebuilder at my core. So it’s been a really, really long time. People are my passion as well. And I think those go hand in hand. So I started was at Boise State University. That’s actually where I met my husband. And we were going to Boise State, we were in our final year, we were kind of in that young and hungry and just want to get done and get life going. So we kind of looked at each other and said, okay, who wants to like pony up and take a million classes and get done, and who was just wants to work really hard and put and put the other person through. So I chose to take on three jobs and put my future husband as he finished, graduated, all that good stuff. I was about four and a half years into marketing business, that type of thing. And I was like, I got this, we’ll do this. And so his first job out of college was in we got transferred to Las Vegas, Nevada, to work for a big construction firm. And so that’s really where I started with CBH homes, one of the top five builders in the nation in home building that was really the start of my home building journey. I would say there was some fun stuff with Vegas, I went through an FBI raid, there was just so much fun stuff. We don’t have another podcast, another podcast promise. That sounds interesting, amazing. Bucket list item, I’m telling you a bucket list item.

3:16 

I have no doubt, I’d like to say that I feel like we have similar paths in the sense that I also have served in a very male dominated industry. So I have eight years of architecture and construction. And I also have 10 years of engineering and civil design experience. So I feel like it breeds a certain woman to be able to, you know, experience that and do really well. Right.

3:47 

Yeah, and you know, I just say I have a lot of people ask me, How did I get into a male dominated industry or how have I, you know, done so well or come so far, which Thank you, bless you. I would just say it’s more of a mindset and what you’re geared and wired. I mean, I’m a yes person. I’m a knowledge person. I just told you earlier. I’m a worker. So to me all of that it goes to any industry, but it definitely has helped me in this industry for sure.

4:15 

So how long have you? How long have you been with Cory Barton?

4:19 

So, us? realty CBH homes with 17 years. Okay, wow. Yeah. Wow. Wow. Yes, yes, yes, yes. Amazing.

Unknown Speaker  4:31 

And in those 17 years, how much is CBH homes grown?

4:35 

Oh, my goodness. You know, we were beyond blessed this last. Just this last November. I think it was that. You know, Idaho private 100. We moved up 11 spots. We were the fastest growing one of the fastest growing companies in Idaho this year. Right 20th largest builder in Idaho. We actually moved up and we think here another six or seven spots in the nation. We’re now the third seventh largest builder in the nation, and we only build in one state, which is unheard of to be that high up the list and build in one state. I think what we’re most proud of is and for sure me is we’ve been voted one of the best places to work seven years running. So that’s the highest honor. I mean, I want people to be excited. You know, we also just surpassed this has just happened last week. We have over 20,000 homeowners in the Treasure Valley that we built homes for we like to call them dreams that we’ve built homes for so yeah, we’ve just thousand just in the Treasure Valley.

5:34 

Yeah. Mm hmm. Pretty cool. That’s it. That’s a great stat. Yeah, we’re pretty so we’ve, we’ve grown we, you know, Cory Barton, the founder and owner is just a blessing and amazing man, and I love his quote, he would tell you that it just takes two things. You just need gratitude and you need hunger. And we have both of those.

5:53 

In spades I’d say for sure. Yeah.

5:56 

And what would you say is CBH homes strategy? That’s the Lead the company to succeed and where you are today.

6:05 

You know, one of our core foundation that you’ll see everywhere, I’m looking to my right over here and I look over here to the left, it’s on a coffee cup, I normally have a necklace on that says it’s normally and then around me everywhere, which is love wins. Yeah. And we’ve really take that on as to who we are in our foundation, and it goes like this. Our strategy is that when you have to love yourself first. So we want our team to love themselves because we love them, obviously, you know, love yourself, you have to love what you’re doing right? You have to enjoy building dreams and houses. You have to love your buyers, you have to love your community, right and what we’re doing and so when you do all of that it, you’ll win because passion will come through energy, optimism, love, and then everything just gets better. And that’s where growth comes from. So that’s really how we look at it. It’s in everything that we do, by the way, it’s just everywhere.

6:57 

I was gonna ask you to kind of tell me about the culture. So you’ve cut I’ve just covered that. So love wins, I think is a very powerful statement that probably attracts the right people to you as well. So that’s brilliant. And so not to bring up the opposite side of that, but there’s got to be times where it feels like love is not winning.

7:19 

Yeah. Oh, yeah. And they don’t love this.

7:22 

And things can be challenging or at periods of time, it can be challenging, you know, at work or at home. Right. So how do you how do you overcome dealing with things when it doesn’t feel like love is winning?

7:34 

So I think, you know, you know, we went through in 2005. If you remember when the crash happened, that was a housing led recession. So that recession was housing LED, and it was everyone in the housing industry, you know, so if you if you want to look at just that example alone, which I think is a great one that at that time, we were building close to 1800 homes and we went down to 300 homes. We had Close to 200 employees and we went to 35 employees. So that is hot that is, you know, heart wrenching, gut wrenching, soul wrenching. And you know, you kind of have to find, I always say you, you have to find the optimism, optimism, the positive, the gratitude, you have to have the blessing for the 35 that that are here. You have to have, you know, the blessing for the 300 homes we’re still going to do, but I think what we did is then we went to work to find ways to keep moving forward. So for example, during that time, I knew that it was affecting families, it was affecting our team. And so the best thing I could do for everyone was I actually became a Financial Peace University instructor for 12 weeks the Dave Ramsey and are pretty much the majority of our team went to that with their spouses. And we learned to make sure you know how are your finances because we know that that is during that recession during that that time, the employees that I had to lovingly say goodbye to during that time because of you know the downturn. I tried to place them. You know, I called other builders, other companies made contacts made connections. I just feel like when things happen, you need to make sure that you stay in the gratitude space for what you have. You have to focus on things that you can do. And just push, you know, we just kept saying onward. Whoa, onward. Whoa, keep going. It’s interesting, that second book of mine that the book bundle better thinking, so close to 14 years ago, I decided that every morning I would get up and send a thought of the day to my team. And I would just say something to help inspire them, push them, keep them positive, keep them going. But really, it was for myself as well. I needed something to make sure that I stayed in the right headspace. So every day I sent that out Well, I’ve now been doing that for 14 years. But what happened over that 14 years is that I would have someone say, can you add my wife? Can you add my sister can you add my mother and so that that list is now grown into thousands? All because you know It’s just I want I’m hoping that if you need some help sometimes starting your day, your mind in the right direction. And that’s all it was.

10:07 

Yeah. Oh, I love that. And it’s just it’s such a fun book to flip through.

10:14 

Even and, actually, that one is my 50 favorite quotes brought to life.

10:18 

Very nice. And it’s just super. I mean, I’m I know that many people in the Boise market have seen it, but it’s just, it’s colorful, and it’s inspirational. So it’s super fun. Let’s talk about you go first. So this is a leadership book. You go first, tell us what do you what made you write this? And what would be the reason someone should have to read it? Want to read it?

10:45 

Oh, I hope so. I you know, I speak a lot all over the nation Valley, which I love. I love to give back and I love to serve. And so one of the questions that I get asked a lot on whether it’s I’m speaking In front of someone, or someone wants to take me for coffee, it’s leadership. How do you lead this team? How do you, you know, leadership is the one thing that I struggle with. And it’s hard. And I think it’s interesting. So to me, I always just listen to the universe into life and what people are asking me and what they need. I’m also incredibly passionate about leadership. I’m on the hunt to be the best leader. I still read and learn and watch every single day. So I understand how important it is. It’s really easy to some degree, not always, to lead yourself. I think it’s really interesting. Can you not only lead yourself, but can you lead others? Right? I mean, that that’s the one of the you know, to serve others to give to do all of that is amazing. But it’s also, you know, it’s hard work. It’s hard work. And so that book was really just to inspire and to help I look at it and say, hopefully, that book works for brand new leaders, people who want to be a leader, and then also people that have been in leadership a very long time. You know, I did the Idaho private 100 keynote a couple years ago. And I was just as impressed with all the new leaders that reached out to me, but also leaders that have been in this valley for a very long time. They were like, man, I needed that wake up call. Thank you. So to me, it’s just spreading everything that I’ve learned and watch through all these amazing people in my life authors and, you know, unite you and I both know Darren Hardy said be another one. And I just want to pay forward. Right, I just want to pay forward. Yeah.

12:26 

I, I think that this is a really good reminder for people who are new into it. And I just spot on that if you’ve been in leadership for a long time. Some sometimes we don’t recognize. And I will speak for myself that we may not be leading with the best example going forward. And it just it’s a good mirror, right, to make sure that we are constantly improving. And what would you say is the most common question you receive from managers who are looking to improve their leadership

12:57 

It’s easier to do it myself. I don’t have to write the right I don’t have time, right? This is a lot of work.

13:08 

I love it. I love them all. I love them all. It’s not easy. It’s I think it’s one of the most rewarding things you’ll do, in my opinion. But it’s not easy. You know, life is messy. People are messy. I have a really good friend of mine in the industry. And he says, Rhonda, all your problems come with hair on top.

13:26 

That is so funny. Right, like, so funny. And I think that I don’t have time.

13:33 

You know, leadership takes, you know, like I said, most people are able to somewhat lead themselves. I hope so at least, that’s the goal we’re going for is right, and then to be able to make time, energy, love, passion and care to lead others. You definitely have to time management has to be the next thing on your list in order to figure out how to bring all that in, right? Yeah. So then, you know, we go right into the time management, what does that look like as a leader and where is Your time spent. It is easier to be yourself if you, you know if that’s what you’re thinking, but what’s that quote? It’s amazing. If you want to go fast go by yourself if you want to go far, go with others. We’re going to talk about that. with you. I only get to do like this much. But if I have five other people, I’ve got like, the potential to do this. So yeah, those are the probably the most asked questions, I would say.

14:22 

Those are, I would, I would concur that those are the most similar. What the author has inspired you the most for your own leadership development and approach?

14:33 

Oh, boy, there’s so many good ones. I mean, I’m an avid crazy reader, just like there’s not enough but I just the books are just my jam and my love. And you know, the one that just touches my heart and probably why love wins and why I think my whole premise in life is love is Man’s Search for Meaning Viktor Frankl. I love that book. I think that to think about everything that man went through and everything that he saw and everything right that love was still the foundation of it all and that’s what matters. You can see that that’s why that’s at the core of me.

15:06 

Yeah, I love that. Okay. You just kind of tipped touched on time management and so what kind of system do you use? I that happens to be the thing that most people go like show me what you’re using. So I always like to ask a highly productive highly effective leader What do you use for your time management?

15:26 

so you know, at the end of the day, it comes down to really my calendar so I you know, which is Gmail for me or G calendar, whatever you want to call it, I think it’s more of you can use whatever you know, your your product is, I use my calendar that if it’s important to me, if it’s a goal if it’s something that I need to get done, I will time block for it and it will be on my calendar. So that would be the one thing so I would say plan your days plan your life it’s simple math. On the other side of that it’s it’s the frequency and how I do it in my opinion that sets me apart, just from from a normal Calendar use and I would say, I, you know, at the end of my day, I go over my calendar for the next day. In the morning when I get up, I go over my calendar one more time. Is this in line with what I want to accomplish today? Am I hitting my vision, my goals? You know where I’m going? And how does that look? So it’s like, I’m constantly looking at it. It’s not just letting time go by. I am managing moving, you know, making sure that the priorities and the order is correct. And then every Sunday night, I’m our friend Darren, I look at my whole week. And I say, what does it look like? What’s going on? Where am I going? What do I want to accomplish? And then I put that in my whole week. So I always say there’s no surprises for my day or for my success necessarily, because I’ve planned it so and I look at it constantly, constantly, constantly, constantly.

16:48 

So,at night in the morning, you plan your week, and it is all electronically or you also documenting it down and writing.

16:56 

Everything is through the everything’s electronic except I print off my calendar every Monday and I go through it with the time with it with a pen. And just like Look, look, look, add notes and make sure that everything’s where it needs to be.

17:10 

Yeah, that’s awesome. You have a lot going on. So I’m thinking writing books, you’re doing your podcast, you speak publicly, you’re running several companies, you’re a wife, and a parent and all those good things. You’re gonna block those all in, right?

17:23 

You do. It’s your order. Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes, for sure.

17:28 

What would you say is the best lesson you’ve learned in the last 20 years that has helped you leverage your time to the fullest?

17:39 

So, my, my assistant has been with me for 20 years, so I’ve been very blessed. She’s been with me since the beginning of time. I feel like so she’s just what we do one day, if no, like 20 years, I’m very blessed. But we always say we have to have this rule when things come in front of me because I A lot of things come in front of me I’m very blessed. It has to be a hell yes. It’s a mere I don’t know, I’m okay maybe Sure. I could do that then we don’t do it. It’s gonna be like, oh my god like you. This you emailed me I’m like, Oh, yes, yes, yes, yes, this is gonna be fun I guess Yes, yes, this this is exciting, right? You’re an amazing woman you’re doing amazing things for this world and every leadership and everything that you’re bringing, I’m like, Oh, yes. Right. So I think sometimes people just are so loose with their time and themselves in my opinion, and I’m saying no, no, I want it to be a hell yes, I want you to be passionate energy, love excited about it. So that’s really kind of the driving and then it’s got to go in sequence with my order of priorities. So, right so like, my everyone has an order, whether they know it or not. And like, you show it based on how you spend your time in my opinion. So when you look at your Order with me, I’ll just be honest, I’ll just share my order with you. My, my order is, God is my first one. And then I would tell you, this is kind of funny for some people, but it is that myself, I’ve got to learn and grow and make sure that I’m my best self. So I’m, I’m really good for everyone else. So I make sure that I’m filling my tank. And then it’s my family. I love them. I adore them. They’re the you know, I would tell you, it’s my career. And then after that would be everything else that kind of fills in all the things that I love my speaking and my writing, and, and all of that, but my career is a homebuilder. That’s very important to me. And then the other side of filling people take. So I always say your calendar shows me what your priorities are like if you, you know, golf every day or if you’re at the bar or if you’re doing something that’s not like I know your priorities based on what I always say, Just show me your calendar and I’ll tell you what’s important to you whether you really understand that or not. So my calendar and the keeping of that and how I decide something is basically Is it a hell? Yes. And where does it fit in my order?

20:03 

Okay. So those are your two filters, and do so in using those which, knowing what they are is so critical. How do you minimize things that still come in as distractions?

20:19 

Because even if you don’t say hell yes to something, it still can come in front of you and distract you.

20:24 

It can I feel like I do a pretty good job of my phone of who I let in. Right, like who has access to me? You also I think we forget sometimes that yes, people have access to you through email and phone, and texting and social, but you have to decide who you’re going to let in and how much time you’re going to spend on it. So I’m, I’m very protective of all of that. I’m very lucky that Tara, I have a really amazing posse and team who know what my order is, know what my priorities are. And we kind of all work together to protect each other from that. Okay.

21:00 

Good. That’s, that’s cool. What would you say keeps you motivated and engaged for all of these years and the things that you’re doing? Mentally present?

21:12 

Ah, you know, it’s like I have a deep, deep love and appreciation for life. I’m, every day I wake up, it’s just kind of a wow, let’s do this again, I get another shot. So I think it’s the deep gratitude that’s in my heart with that the love of people. I love people like, the potential I see in them and the things that they can do and just, oh my goodness, I would also think I’m on the hunt. I love better. I want to live my best life. I want to be the best me. So all of those things drive me every single day to do the things that I’m doing. Yeah,

21:47 

That’s awesome. What are your What are your big aspirations for 2020?

Unknown Speaker  21:53 

Oh, 2020. So I would say 2020 it’s funny. We just came back from Canada team meeting that we have, it’s been two years very fun. And one of the things I coined was 2020 equals better. And I know that seems pretty like but I want to be a better nice sometimes, you know, we’re all human. So I’m far from done, you know, I first book better human, it’s a full time job. It’s because I’m far from done. And I didn’t write, you know, perfect human. I wrote better human, I’m on the hunt. So I look at 2020. And I say, I want to, you know, work on myself work on make sure my health and myself I’m at the highest that I can be, I tend to let that slide a little because I like to do a lot. So that’s my guilty kind of pleasure to say, I’d rather work and do this and speak and write. And so I was like, Well, wait, I gotta, you know, I’d say I want to make sure that I’m my best self. It’s important to me. I want to make sure that, you know, this, you know, CBH Homes is amazing. And, you know, there’s, you know, I have 200 people that, you know, work with me and port to me, and I want to make sure that I Give them the best opportunities, the potential the love, and help them grow not only within CBH, but the company, right, like just overall. I’ll write I’ve got a couple more books coming up. So I need to work on that as well. So just a lot of really great things my boys, I have amazing children and husband that we our favorite thing is just to spend time together. So I have a lot of time blocked out for those three for sure. So just so many great things on the horizon. So many great things awesome.

23:30 

So I’m super intrigued. I want to hear about your other books. But I also want to ask if I kind of hold them up. Yeah. Could you just give us a quick preview of who you wrote it for and what maybe we can where people should pick this up right? Is it at your office or is it a Barnes and Noble to they have to order it on Amazon and you can get it on Amazon? You can get it run. All of them are run to congress.com

23:57 

Better Thinking that was the book that came out of me Doing 14 years of waking up every morning and putting a quote out. The funny part with that book is I have. I’ve heard stories of eight year old carpools that read a page every morning on the way to school. Yeah, I’ve heard high schoolers I’ve heard retired people. It’s for everyone. It’s just a feel good. If you’re having a down day just pick that up. Pick a quote and off you go.

Unknown Speaker  24:21 

Nice, oh that’s fantastic.

24:23 

So your next books that are coming out? Are Can you can you give me just like a sneak little inkling about where you’re headed? Better. So I have right.

24:33 

I have several that are like in my tank and in my heart and I kind of have an order issue like which one do I want to go and really bring home and I get a lot I get asked a lot about marriage and love my husband. I’ve been together 30 years. I just love marriage. I love life. I love my husband. So I would it’s one of my other probably like on the list of things that people ask me that’s probably in the top five. of Why do you have such an amazing marriage? Like, tell me your tips tell your tricks. So, there’s, I’ve been working on possibly big love about called Big Love because I want big love for everyone. So that one’s kind of in the works. And in the process. I actually have kind of a, this one’s kind of fun. Probably. And I really love culture in teams and people. So yes, you go first was a leadership one. Culture is just I love I love teams. I love winning teams. So we have another thing around here that says, What’s fun got to do with it, everything. So that one, you might see a culture book.

25:35 

Okay.

25:36 

Yeah, I can’t wait to read both of them. That’s fantastic. And I don’t think you can go wrong with which order because they’re all yeah. So don’t let that stop you. Thank you.

25:47 

I just want to make sure that people know how to I the best way to follow you or connect with you what would be what would be your best way to do that?

25:57 

So you can find me at rondaconger.com Just don’t put an H in the Rhonda and you’ll find our own. Yep. So Rondaconger.com. You also I have a podcast the Ronda Conger Show, you can find me on, you know, Insta there on the conquer show you can find me on social just Ronda Conger and you’ll find me or CBH homes, right?

26:19 

All those places. Okay, fantastic Rhonda. And one. I’m honored that you said a hell yes to me today. And I appreciate that. It is been a pleasure to hear and hear about your ideas and what you have going on and keep up the good work the amazing things that you’re doing here in Idaho as an employer and as a human.

26:39 

Well, like I said it was an absolute hell yeah, to be on here with you. And I have to tell you, just thank you to you for I you know, I subscribe to your newsletter, your podcasts, everything that you’re doing, and you’re doing such amazing things. So just thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

26:55 

Thank you. All right. Take care.

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