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#012 – Beyond Industry: Wellness and Leadership (with Special Guest Shane Wenzel)


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Podcast Transcript


Welcome to the Working Well Podcast. I’m Tim Borys CEO of FRESH! Wellness Group. This show explores the diverse aspects of workplace health and personal performance. On the Working Well Podcast we dive into the foundations of what makes wellness work in workplaces around the world. We connect with corporate leaders, executives, and industry experts who are helping make life more awesome at work and home.

Join us to learn workplace wellness, best practices, personal performance tips, and access resources to jumpstart your personal and corporate programs.


Shane Wenzel is the president of the Shane Homes group of companies and the namesake as an industry leader, Shane’s responsibilities include strategic direction for the companies. Policy advice for the building industry through Build Calgary and political involvement through the Alberta enterprise group on the economy.

Shane’s background in sales and marketing comes from growing up with two entrepreneurial parents, Cal and Edith and years participating in a business advisory group. On the personal side, Shane is a bit of a tech junkie and social media influencer on various platforms. He’s also part of the LGBTQ community.


So Shane, thank you so much for joining us today. It’s amazing to have you on the show and I’m looking forward to our chat. Tell me a bit about what the last year has been like for you. It’s a question I always ask everyone at the start of the show is. It’s not like it’s been a different year, but tell me what your experience has been like.

What a great way to start. You know this has probably been the most challenging year of my entire life. When you start off in this business, you don’t think that some sort of event like this, was going to happen in your lifetime. It’s usually business as usual as, you know, a few, a few rocks thrown in the road, you know, and then this past year, boom. You know, we come back my partner and I, we came back from a vacation and, you know, you didn’t have to isolate at the time, you know?

So of course I did saunder into the office the next day when we get back. And all of a sudden we’re talking about COVID and COVID protocols, you’re sitting down with with your, your management team and you’re going over what these protocols are by the time you’re done. I mean, you you’ve now effectively tried to figure out how to, how to run a remote operation, you know, how do you keep people safe by distancing them in the cubicles? Because we ended up going with a, with a split shift schedule and you know, I’m being asked to leave the office because that’s what the protocol was. If you got to go home and you got to isolate for 14 days.

I mean, that worked out okay because the provincial government made that mandatory about a week later, you know, what was kind of normal or average, you know, you just got turned on your end quickly.

Well, and I think it speaks to the versatility and flexibility of business that business we’re able to adjust that fast to what was going on. And when you have great teams and great people, you make it work.

Well, we made it happen. We sent our, IT people out looking for computers. We were probably about a month and a half away from having the correct infrastructure for handling this. And that was, it was fun, but it was, it was also scary. Like you said, you’re into the great unknown.

Yeah, well, and a lot of people say 2020 is about, it was about, I guess, coping, if you could say that, figuring things out. What does 2021 look like for you?

Oh, 2021 is surprising to me largely because of last year you keep thinking, you know, there’s gotta be some sort of follow-up because in our industry we were quiet during that initial lockdown. And I think a lot of that was just people being uncertain as to where, where things were going and they kind of kind of resorted to just staying at home and kind of cocooning in a way. And you know, for the first time ever, we watched, as, you know, as a spring market for sales moved into the summer and all the way through.

So it was a very abnormal year, so that actual thought was at the time was it’s going to be one hell of a rough year because who knows what’s going to happen and leading into this year. I honestly, I said the same thing as you have to see some fallout come from this because it’s, it can’t not happen. And so far I’ve, I’ve been happily surprised. You’ve got people out there buying houses probably for a number of reasons, for a number of reasons that are, that are more personal to them.

Well, and you make a great point. There are so many different circumstances and so many different reasons that people are downsizing, upsizing, moving laterally. And we’re still figuring this out at what, what life looks like these days. So I, I think I’m interested to see where your industry particularly, but all industries go.

Oh yeah. I mean, for everybody, but you know, I’m, I’m obviously pretty concerned here, like I mentioned for their own personal reasons, but you know, is it a trend? I don’t know if it’s so much of a trend, but you know, when you, when you have months on end to actually live in your home.

The thoughts that run through people’s minds are, do I have to go back to the office or can I work out of the house? Do I, do I need a home office? We’ve even sold houses to people who are moving their entire operation into the basement of their house because there’s only three or four people. And you know, there’s some there’s some cost-savings there, but a lot of people realize that, you know, if they were living in a in a smaller condo that, you know, they wanted something larger or they want it to move into a single family home because they wanted the extra space or they wanted a backyard. So is it a trend yet? I don’t know. Ask me that same question in a year. I might have a better answer right now. I’m just going to say it’s kind of a fad right now.

Good. Well, good way to put it. Yes, because that, while we can look in that crystal ball and see what the future is like, I don’t know. Well, no one really knows what it’s going to be. Like. We can see. Where it might be heading, but then again, we didn’t see COVID coming a year ago, so who knows what’s next on the horizon?

Yeah. And that’s a thing, as long as we can get past where we’re at right now, we’ll get past a lockdown vaccinations and see where, you know, the normal or the, or even the new normal ends.

Excellent. Well, and yeah, people will figure things out and life will go on and business will keep happening. It just might look a bit different than it does now.

And on the people’s side, construction is rarely top of mind when we think of health and wellness, and this is a personal wellness, personal performance podcast. So people might say, well, why. Why are you having Shane on? Like what, how does the construction industry, what are they doing in health and wellness that that warrants having you on the show?

But I really like to have variety of people on the show because most people do think of corporate office downtown. When they think of wellness programs. Tell me a bit about what does health and wellness mean to you particularly, and also as, as a company or a group of companies?

It’s actually a very large priority. You know, we, we, we run our business based off what we call a balanced scorecard. You know, we, place our people, our process and technology, our customer in the, and our profitability of the, at the top of the scale. So you can imagine in our particular case where half our staff are in the office or out in the field, either in supervisory, construction staff, or even our salespeople.

So we had to spend a lot of time communicating with people and more than what we would typically do in that particular situation. Because again, it’s that great unknown people are surviving based on fear and not knowing what’s going on. So, I mean, we spent a tremendous amount of time walking up and down the hallways, getting out in the field, just seeing how people are and making sure that they’re aware of it.

If you need some professional help, we have access to that. If you just need to pick up the phone and talk, hey, we all have cell phones, so please do so, but you really had to make sure we were okay and belay some of the some of the fears, you know, so, I mean, in your case, in the case of the show homes, I mean, we, we limited the amount of traffic going inside.

We made sure that our staff had a mask and hand sanitizer and the, they really understood what the rules were. And same thing with our fields, construction staff, you know, they have the masks, they have the hand sanitizer, they were spreading out the our trade partners from from overlapping in the houses again, just for everybody’s safety at the time.

Yeah. And do you, again, the, it’s not a complicated concept, but I find a lot of companies don’t. Do it is the communication side. A lot of things just get handed down and be like, this is what’s going to happen. And when you can have a conversation and engage people in the process and really ask them, what is it you need? What can we do to help that goes so far, people are people, whether it’s construction or downtown office or remote field site.

Well, it’s so crucial. You know, and I think that that’s a part of any business’s success, but definitely during those times you have to pick it up. So that was a part of everybody’s job on the management team was, you know, communicate over, communicate, do whatever you can to make sure that everybody’s okay. Right down to our customers. I left them out there. You had to talk to your customers and just reassure them things are going to be okay, no business is not going to stop. We’re going to continue on. And your house is going to get built and we’re not going anywhere because that was a definite fear that even they had.For sure

yeah. But when people don’t know that that uncertainty is everywhere, they are scared. Houses one of the biggest investments you’ll ever make in your life and if people are scared that that’s not going to happen, stress levels go up even higher.

Sure. Yeah. So there were lots of conversations going on to help belay those fears.

As they should. And it sounds like you did a great job at it.

We did. Okay. Yeah. So, I mean, you know, now that we’ve gone through at once, I mean, there’s certainly some things that we would change and we would improve upon, but when you’re in the great unknown, you you’re, you’re just kinda throwing things out there as much as you possibly can. Hopefully you’re finding the right solutions.

Yeah, I don’t, I don’t know anyone that got it right. The first, if you look back to March or April last year, we were all just figuring things out as we went. But if you do it with that genuine interest in making things better for your team and your customers, I don’t think you can go wrong. Oh, we might do something different, but. Yeah, that’s great.

Now with I, especially when we talk about the construction industry and in my business, we’ve worked with a lot of field sites, particularly oil and gas and oil sands, camps, and safety is top of mind. And when we think of that, when we think construction, whether it’s homes or gas plants, the, the idea is safety is top of mind, but where does personal health and wellbeing and the more soft side of the safety, if you will still get HSE, where does, where does the personal health side come after the safety? Like how, how is that changing in the, in the industry?

I think it’s changed a lot for the better. I’ve been at this for 31 years now. And I’ve seen a tremendous amount of change in safety over the years. You know, cause the vision that I think a lot of people have of the construction industry was likely very true. You know, that grizzled old construction guy was working on your house. And that was certainly the way it was when when I came in and you know, I think about 15, 16 years ago.

Now we finally got the safety codes implemented within the industry that we need, you know, because it was relatively unsafe , you know, you weren’t using the proper PPE on site, so you weren’t, you know, like you could literally walk out there in, in just your regular street clothes and, you know. So that was one of the most major improvements that we’d seen. And, you know, it was welcomed. It was really welcomed. So you know, that that with you know, some appreciation through COVID, you know, spacing people out a little bit more and and having the the additional PP was just one of the best things that could possibly happen even right down to the customers.

You know, I’d seen show homes where we have people packed in there, largely because they’re out there for viewing. That’s great, we have this wonderful thing called the internet and, you know, one way that we were able to to accommodate people then was even just having virtual tours. It was right down to the point where in a couple of cases, we we sold a couple, a few homes strictly online, and even for their color selections inside the design studio, we were walking around with an iPad.

Making their selections for them because there was a definite fear that you know, what, what was going on with the great unknown of COVID. We were able to accommodate that it can only get better.

Absolutely. Well, if you’re looking back to January last year, would you have thought you’d be selling homes completely online virtual, through video.

No, you know, and I, you know, I get it, I get to give kudos because we have a phenomenal their team here. So we were well into virtual tours and we were, we were moving along with the digitizing paper process. We just needed a little more time to complete it, but I mean, that’s where it’s going, because people expect convenience. You know, they want, they want to manage their life from their phone or from their, from their desktop computer. And they want to do it on their hours. So we have to accommodate them.

Absolutely. COVID basically put the industry well, technology forward a whole decade in a matter of weeks.

And I don’t actually, I tend not to say it’s went forward 10 years. It just caught up to the current time, because most businesses were operating from a technology standpoint, what it was like 10 or 15 years ago. So much papers, so much manual processes that didn’t really need to be there could have been changed, but there was never really an incentive to do it at the time.

And I think this pandemic created the situation where we had to change. And it happened fast, which is great to see.

Oh, I tend to agree with you there. It’s one thing that you know, it’s, it’s been, it’s been limiting in the industry at times for, you know, how far were we were behind.

We’re trying to catch up in cases. But it know, it definitely did move at a faster pace when, when you really had no choice, that was your focus. Yeah, what what’s always interesting is, you know, I’m I’m a bit of a stats nerd. So first I like market research. I like to make decisions based on what we find out from the research that we do.

So yeah, we proceed and we proceed cautiously because we’re not sure totally where people want it to be. And that’s why you buy, you have customers. And that’s why you gather information from so you can learn from. And that’s why I call it. You know what what some people might think trends more like fads you know, let’s, let’s see when we can get past all this, how people’s attitudes have really changed.

Yeah. And to go back a bit to what we talked about on the, on the health and wellness side with, I completely agree with you with the, the safety changes that were made for the, from the PP and that I, when I was in high school and university I worked on some construction sites and doing demolition and cleanup and some paving crew. I look back and I’m like, man, how was, how am I still alive in some of the things that we did and what passed for norms? As you said, the, the grizzled veterans, it would be like, Oh, I gotta make sure you don’t do this. You’ll get your arm caught in that. And there was no shutoff or safety locks or anything.

And so to see that progress is great. Think of that as like, if we go along, like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, that’s the foundation of like, you gotta be alive to be well.

Yeah, for sure. And with the last year, mental health has been a huge aspect of the change. So how, how has that been rolled out at Shane Homes? Or how, how have you seen it? Happen, I guess you would say the mental health side.

Well, again, there’s always concerns you know, on what we’ve, again, really has to be open to that communication. And I mean, it didn’t stop just because we got past the lockdown or out in the first lockdown you know some by summer last year it’s continued on the whole way through, because there’s still fears out there, you know? So you can, you, do you have to remind staff that they do have access to certain resources.

And if they need to talk, I mean, your door always has to be open and it doesn’t matter whether they’re in the office here or they’re out in the field. And again, kind of right down to the the customers as well, even when they come in for visits. I mean, we do expect them to wear the you know, the proper PPE and we want them to limit because, you know, in certain cases, you know, certain ethnic groups, they they come in with eight people. We can’t have eight people in the design center. You know, I think it’s good for good for them to not be overwhelmed that way. And it’s even better for our staff because, you know, they have to feel safe doing their jobs.

Those are things that a lot of businesses haven’t had to manage as much in the past is with the stress level high of employees and customers. Plus the extended challenges of this pandemic after a year, many people are just burnt out and their fuses are too short. Anyone that’s customer facing, I think finds it that much more challenging.

Well, again, there’s, there’s more roadblocks, but you know, you do what you do as best you can to accommodate again. If I go back a year from a year ago, know we were meeting on this weekly, you know, at least at least an hour or two every week for the first while. And now we still get together monthly. Are we doing things right? Should we consider changing things this way? You know, the next topic to to cover is, okay, things open up, then, you know, how do we manage vacations now?

Because I don’t think anybody ever thought of that and the mental health of people not being able to travel well, they want to travel now. Except I can’t have half the company gone at the same time. We still have a business to run. So it’s a, it’s going to be a balancing act for sure. And, you know, we want everybody to get there, get out there and enjoy life again because you’re right fuses are definitely short and people are mentally, mentally exhausted.

Yeah. Company trip to Mexico, something like that. Right.

You know what that idea has been floated, maybe not Mexico, but just sitting there saying, do you shut down the company or do you try and convince our entire industry to shut down for a week or two during the summer? A lockdown so everybody can just go away.

Yeah. And once I I’m one of those people that wants to get, I can’t wait to get away too. And I think there are so many people and the travel industry will be booming once everyone can, can get out there. On the note you had said earlier, you’ve got about 50, 50 field staff and office staff. Is that correct?

Roughly, yeah.

Yeah. How do you manage the different challenges and demands on the people side of, especially around wellness with regards to field versus office?

You know that’s all individual, you know, I mean, you do have to manage it that way. Fortunately like I said we have a great management team, so it’s not just limited to the same one HR person.

I mean, it’s, it’s, it’s everybody’s responsibility, you know? So again, you’re a, you always have to keep your door open and you can keep yourself hold on because they might call. Or they might pop in anytime of day, but you know, I think the field has done extremely well, although they are definitely just as exhausted as everyone else.

And, you know, some people have been through, you know, I want to pick on the older generation, but we’ve got an older generation that seems to be a little more calm and a little more relaxed because they might’ve experienced something like this rolling up, not necessarily a pandemic, but. Yeah. Some you know, some stringent lockdown rules, whereas a younger generation.

I mean, this is, this is fear based and it seems to, you know, they, they seem to get their information from a movie over there, you know? So the level really depends on the individual more than anything, but you know, with those open lines of communication. I mean, that seems to have done the best for all of us here.

Yeah. And one of the things we hear from other clients too, is that the, the field sites will often say, well, head office gets all the perks and the, they, they get this and they get that in there. And then what does the field site get? And so how have you seen that happen? And I guess, how do you keep the education and activities and different programs going in for field staff.

With a great deal of difficulty. That’s always the problem. You’re trying to find the balance for everyone and treat everyone equally.

Again, we still talk about this monthly it’s, you know, we just go around the table with with our management team. How are we doing here? How are we doing here? When he gets repealed? How are they doing? How are the service people a little stressed out? Because for awhile there we were, we were shutting down.

We weren’t going into peoples homes. Simply based on fear and in cases rising. And so, you know, it’s, it’s finding that happy balance. So, you know, you go back to where we were even even a couple months ago, we were doing split shifts between with our staff in the office. So, you know, we’d have half of them come in from seven in the morning till 12 noon, and then they’d work a few hours when they got home.

And then the next shift came in at 12 to five. Field staff are going all the time, but at least they were able to spread things out and not worry so much about traits being on top of each other. So, I mean, we were able to, to create a little distancing that way, but you know, you still had to go out and still have to visit them make sure they were doing okay. They were, floundering a bit at times, you know, again, your service staff, you’re trying to keep them busy, even though they’re not going into customers homes, you know, and then now they’re playing catch up on it. So, I mean, now you’re trying to balance out the workload on top of there’s a lot of moving parts and that’s why we just, we have to get together regularly.

And, and the construction industry, you work a lot with sub-trades subcontractors. Have you been able to balance culture within your employees versus the subcontractors.

That’s actually been relatively easy. We’ve got a strong base of trade partners and we’ve been working with a lot of them for a number of years and in doing so, I mean, they share a lot of the same core values that we do. And that’s, that’s why we’re we, we find that we have the best team around there, you know? So, I mean, we’re sharing information, we’re sharing our protocols, they’re sharing theirs.

They have a good idea. We might have a good idea. And and we’re implementing them in conjunction with each other. So it’s nice when you have business partners like that, that you can share those ideas and make it work for everyone.

That’s fantastic. Yeah. And I would love to think that a lot of companies have that relationship with the different sub-trades I’ve seen both sides of it.

So I’m glad to hear that lots of more companies are keeping up the great communication on the sub-trades side.

Are roughly similar in size and some of them are a lot smaller. So they’re looking for a little more guidance where we’re, we’re happy to do so that’s why we call them trade partners.

Yeah, exactly. When you use the word values too, and that’s, that’s huge. Yeah. We’re not running your business based on values and bringing in like-minded partners. It causes a lot more challenge than it’s than it’s worth.

You’re only so successful. It’s your core values don’t align.

Yeah. Now you had mentioned it a bit bit before calling it fads versus trends, but if you had to put that crystal ball on looking at the industry and what’s been going on in the last year, what is it? What do you think it looks like in two years, three years.

Two years, three years, you’re going to do a lot more transactions online. Our processes are going to become far more digital. I think I always, I always try and reference it as to you take a look at Amazon and online shopping. And why aren’t we closer to something like that?

I know a house is a larger purchase. And some people may never feel comfortable other than going out on site or sorry to do a show home. Yeah, but why not from an entire generation? I’ll tell you that you and I were talking before the show about kids, my son, he might be that generation. That’s absolutely comfortable with purchasing their home or condo online and making their selections online. Will that happened in the next two to three years. No, but I think we’ll we’ll inch closer to it every day.

How much of bringing whole operation in house do you think will stay? Even once people start going back to the office or it’s okay and safe to go back to the office?

Well, I think you’re going to see a bit of a shift that way. Do I think it will be the majority? I don’t think most people are really predisposed to, you know, to working out of their home. They need the motivation to be around other people or colleagues to help keep them moving forward. So I can see how that might work in some situations.

I can’t see that working in the majority of them. It’s kind of that same question is retail. You think malls and bricks and mortar are dead? No. No, because we went to the mall for a different experience. We went because, you know, we wanted to, you know, to, to window shop, you know, to kill three, four hours on a Saturday or Sunday.

Well, I don’t think the workplace is, was really a lot different. I think what you might have to do is adjust some things in the workplace and, and proceed with a bit of a different attitude. Know, I mean, we’ve seen how vulnerable people can be over the past year. And nobody’s Bulletproof, you know, so I think you need to create some different spaces and some, you probably see a bit of an evolution and leadership style to be a little bit more collaborative and for the customer safe, I think you can see a bit of a shift there too is, you know, treating that total customer experience something that’s a little more personalized for them. And so I think that’ll even change as well.

Yeah. And there’s a, there’s a lot of the talk of the hybrid workplace where people will go back for a couple of days a week and then work from home the rest of the time. A lot of the surveys I see on that tend to come from the tech companies. And I think they’re quite a bit skewed too companies that are set up to work from home, but how do you see that happening in, in your business?

You know, it’s, it’s not impossible that some rules could be done that way. That could be done remotely, especially if you have a digital process. You know, our biggest challenge we found was trying to move that paper file from say, somebody in drafting design who was working the shift tomorrow morning.

And where the hell is that file this afternoon. But if it’s digital, then it’s a, it’s much easier to work on. And I mean, those are all options. We’re going to have to explore moving forward. But you know, certainly you can’t be a site supervisor and you can’t be a service person, you know, from, from your couch or from your kitchen table at home, you actually have to be on site physically, see what’s going on and manage the people are going to improv.

Yeah, elements, you know, there’s certain possibilities. Like I said, even went online sales, our sales people, you know, they, even now they could literally write a deal from, from someone’s kitchen table if they were just sitting there talking about it. But it’s, it’s much easier. It’s more comfortable for people to come into the show home to at least, you know, expand on what their thoughts are. At least for now 10 years from now could be a different story.

Very true. Now you’ve held lots of different roles within the organization. You started sweeping floors essentially, and working your way up. How, how has that impacted your leadership style?

Well, it’s helped create it. It’s helped create it that if I go back in time even to those days, my father started the company with his business partner, you know, so they’re starting a company from the ground up and through its infancy.

And I came in shortly afterwards, so you can manage, or you can imagine rather his management style, he always jokes. He calls it a passive dictatorship. Even though it was a bit of a, it was a bit dictatorial, but that’s what it was at the time. Whereas I think I would be far more collaborative because I said this, this company and the group of companies rather has grown so immense that you can’t have your fingers in every pie, every piece of the pie everyday of the week, literally impossible.

I’d never go home. Yeah. And so you have to rely on a lot of people. You have to hire some good people around you who are better experts than you are in specific areas. So that lends itself to a more collaborative management style. I’m still a final word in a lot of the key decisions, but I’m looking to my team for the best advice around.

So that’s, that’s how we move forward. I think how you get the best out of your people as well, because they know that you’re open to questions on why we do things the way we do and how we can possibly improve it.

I agree. And you’ve talked to a few different points throughout this discussion about communication and being open to that. And I think when we talk about wellness, being comfortable and feeling safe in an environment to express your opinion and talk to leaders across the organization and feel that your ideas are heard. Most people don’t think of that as a wellness thing, but it’s a huge part of it, especially from the mental health side.

And yeah, I’d love that’s again, one of the reasons that I would say Shane Homes has a great culture and I, I love that love to hear that from leaders because we need more leaders like that.

I agree. I agree and I trust me. I know a lot of my counterparts in some are and some are cut from the same cloth or a similar cloth and some certainly earned.

Well, and you even said that with your, with your father too, is that more dictatorial style? And I think some of that might be personal, but also some of it’s a generational thing too. And there are a lot, there were a lot more, there was a lot more accepted to that time. That was, this is the way it is. You come to work, you do this and you put in your time and you go home. Where I think these days there’s a lot more collaborative there, a lot more discussion. And especially in the, the information, call it knowledge worker field.

Well, I mean, they want to feel like they’re a part of something. So opening yourself up and being vulnerable now can actually create a much, much better, longer lasting relationship. And they they appreciate it because they do feel like there are apart of something.

And so what would you say is the biggest people challenge in your business?

There’s always people challenges. It’s never boring. I mean, you’re just, you’re trying to find a happy balance between four different generations working in, well, working in the workforce for the first time ever and all that, but that wasn’t happening when I joined the company because, you know, you might, you might get your foot in the door in your early twenties and you were retiring, you know, in your early sixties or at 65 now with people’s life expectancies.

Don’t rush them out the door, but if they don’t want to, or they still want to work, you know? So we’ve had some situations where, you know, I think our longest running employee just retired last year at 72 and he still wants part-time great. But he’s got a wealth of knowledge. He’s one of those rare ones who had absolutely no problem.

Mentoring the people below him to make them better. And I think that’s probably the best most, but at one thing at any of your, your ageless workers could possibly do is, is not take that knowledge with them as they go out the door, but to share it, to share it with everybody else coming in, coming up underneath of them, because that just, that makes our company better. That makes the world a better place. So. I encourage it, but having four generations that’s that can be a challenge you know? Cause what’s important to that 21 year old is not as important to that 65 year old. No that 65 year old knows he or she is doing a great job. And you know, if you give him kudos, say once a year, they’re happy with that.

You know? And in cases you get this, you get a 21 year old who you might have to do that to every week because that’s how they were brought up. That’s what they expect. They need that feedback constantly. And if they’re doing it wrong, gosh, can you sit down and show me where I’m doing it wrong? And. I promise not to make that mistake again, you know, it’s a balancing act, but it’s fun.

Well, and you goes back again to the communication and I love the mentoring aspect of that and the sharing of knowledge between those generations and passing it down, whether it’s even just life knowledge, but also specific work knowledge, the more the generations can work together. And have those experiences creates a much better culture in the organization. And from a business standpoint, the knowledge gets documented and passed down.

Sure. And you know, and that’s the joy of it all is if you get a better, a better, a better company, a better product, much more satisfied customer and your staff they enjoy coming to work every day.

Yep. Very true. Now, you’ve built this group of companies. Now you’ve started, I guess 2017 started a land development division. Yes. And so what’s, what’s next? What is Shane group of companies doing in the future?

Well, you know, I mean, that’s always a good question, you know, and it’s, it’s hard to tell at times where it’s going to be, but you know, the next vertical might not even be in this city.

It might not, it might not be in the home building industry. You know, there’s lots of, lots of different ways you can go. And you know, if you would’ve asked me 31 years ago is could you imagine that this is what it was going to be like where you’re adding in multifamily and land development into the group.

I would’ve said no single family houses and that’s, that’s the way it is, you know, but I can see an expanding I mean, you want to create, like I said earlier, you know, you want to create a company that’s, that’s timeless and creates that great customer experience. You know, that individual customer experience. I think that’s where you’re going to see a lot of change. And if it’s, if it’s digital, if it’s portable, then. It can be transplanted to, to any city around.

Very true. Yeah. And they’re, I forget what the stat was. Or the study I saw was something like 50% of jobs in the, in 20 years don’t even exist right now. So we don’t know what that’s going to look like in the longer term. And we could be doing something we have absolutely no concept of right now, but being able to adapt and evolve to what’s going on. Is is important.

Again, go back 31 years. Could you imagine that you’d need an it department in your company just to, just to ensure that all the technology can talk to each other and it turns on in the morning when you guys know that we added, while we were going through all of this was, you know, a real live person for online chat that old didn’t exist years ago.

But it’s necessary now because you have so many inquiries that way. So even 10 years from now, could there be a whole department full of them? There’ll be less salespeople, you know, what to, what kind of AI will you see on the job sites? Putting houses together? I mean, I’ve already seen what automation can do to kitchen cabinets where, you know, I mean, you’re, you’re, you’re plugging in a CAD plan.

Into the system and they’re going through and cutting, cutting cabinets out of boards where there’s a 4% wastage. I mean, that’s significant when you consider that used to be 20%, you know, I go back 10 years ago and that’s when we started panelizing all of our walls. Yeah. I mean that, you know, that, that did a great thing for the environment and for the green movement. And you know, we’ve never looked back ever since, but you know, you, you, you’ve done a lot of great things just from that. And that’s automation in a factory, you know, that’s, that’s not people doing it so 10 years from now, who knows, maybe it’ll just show up onsite and we’ll just prop the house on a foundation.

Three 3d printed homes are a thing right now. Right. So. Whether it’s 3d printed components or actual 3d printed homes there there’s the future.

I keep seeing the computer, making these things.

We just hope Ikea doesn’t get into 3d printed homes. Cause then we’d have to put them together and it would be a nightmare.

Nobody wants that. That’s where we come in.

No. So before we wrap up, what’s what’s your top advice for corporate executives and aspiring leaders out there?

Yeah, that’s a great question. I always go back to saying, I have earned it. Don’t expect it, you know, and I’ve certainly seen enough people go through this this industry and various others over the years where, you know, they want my job within five or 10 years. That’s where the earn it don’t expect it comes in. You have to take time, you have to learn a lot. You know, I didn’t get to this role just because my name was on the door. I had to be capable of being the president of the company and providing the leadership that we needed moving forward, but that didn’t happen overnight. It took me a lot of years, you know, virtually 20 years to get to this lofty position.

And even now it can still seem daunting. You know, you have a lot of people relying on your opinion for, and the, and your knowledge for, for how they proceed. Know that in itself is a challenge and you have to be confident and know what the hell you’re talking about before you do that. So my advice is earn it. Don’t expect it, take that time, learn what you have before you before you get the top job.

Great advice, great advice. And you don’t get to that point. You have to learn along the way and what all the experiences that we have turn us into who we are at the end. You don’t, you can’t just take that shortcut.

Absolutely. Well said, well said, well, thank you so much for joining me. This has been wonderful. And where can people find you? I guess I’ll say that LinkedIn, your website.

Well, if you’re looking for the Shane homes group of companies, they’re on virtually every platform out there from LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube. I’m only on so many of them. You can find me personally on LinkedIn or Twitter or Youtube or Instagram. Yeah, also the company. I mean, that’s simply Shane Homes find them there. You can find me just at Shane Wenzel, made it easy for everyone to hunt me down.

Perfect. Great. Well, thank you so much, Shane. And I look forward to the next time we get the chance to chat and thank you again for joining us on the Working Well Podcast.

I appreciate you having me. Thank you.


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