A VILLAGE OF KNOWLEDGE-by Virginia Gean and Farrell Gean
WORDS OF PRAISE: “Competition and innovation are not only important in the corporate world, they have also become critical elements in the world of management research and business schools. During that race towards the better and newer ideas of the future, we often forget the learnings from the past. In this book, Virginia Gean has done an excellent job extracting valuable lessons from those who have been successful – the leaders on whose shoulders we all stand.”
Gerhard Apfelthaler, Ph. D., Dean, School of Management, California Lutheran University
It is a widely known and accepted belief that one can learn leadership qualities by listening to those who have demonstrated successful attributes in their careers. A group of such highly accomplished leaders live at the same address in Ventura County. Collectively, these individuals possess a gold mine of leadership knowledge to be learned by anyone willing to listen. This unique group lives in University Village in Thousand Oaks. Virginia Gean conducted personal interviews with many of the retired business leaders living there as research for this book, entitled “A Village of Knowledge.” These successful leaders come from many different backgrounds and industries, but their messages are profoundly clear and consistent. Each urges aspiring leaders to live by the principles and values they share to have successful, fulfilling professional and personal lives. There are many universal ideals of effective leadership that are held by these interviewees. A sample of the interviewees that are in this book, A Village of Knowledge are mentioned below.
TRADER JOE’S - John Shields, former CEO and builder of the Trader Joe’s brand, emphasized that leaders inspire and motivate others to realize their potential. True leaders are ethical. Leaders allow their people to make mistakes and learn from them. Leaders listen to their employees and their customers. Leaders manage their time and energy well. Leaders have an innate sense of humor. Leaders articulate a clear vision of the goal.
HUGHES SPACE AND COMMUNICATION- Steve Dorfman, former CEO of Hughes Space and Communications, who was instrumental in the deployment of satellite communications worldwide and also contributed to the success of the cable industry and DIRECT TV, also shares these qualities on leadership. Dorfman adds that a leader surrounds one’s self with a team of smart people. Leaders show enthusiasm and gratitude. Leaders proactively look for opportunities to be seized with a positive attitude. Leaders recognize that they have been blessed with certain capabilities and should retain a sense of humility regardless of their successes.
Robert James, an Entrepreneur Extraordinaire, had multiple patents that include highly successful paper-wrapping and packaging equipment that are still in use today. His packaging can be seen in such stores as Costco and Wal-Mart. He pointed to resiliency and flexibility along with the importance of listening to and responding to the needs of customers in order to build a successful business and brand.
After analyzing the results of these interviews, we hope to have delivered an enriching collection of ideas that are being provided by these very successful business leaders in “A Village of Knowledge.” We think readers will find these stories to be inspiring, informative, and also entertaining as they take the time to listen to those who have led, and led well.