Friday September 14, 2007

Beyond Winning

Pete Luongo, executive director of the Center for Leadership and Executive Development, has written a management book that goes beyond the spreadsheet to the heart of an organization: its people.

Pete Luongo has turned the management creed he developed at The Berry Co. into a newly published book, 10 Truths About Leadership…It's Not Just About Winning (Clerisy Press).

He will talk about his principles of leadership at a booksigning from 6 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 18, at Books and Co. at The Greene.

"It's not winning at all costs. People get too caught up in the end game. It's about behavior, not results," said Luongo, retired president and CEO of the yellow page advertising agency. He currently serves as executive director of the Center for Leadership and Executive Development and a trustee at the University of Dayton.

"Our society is so focused on winning that this obsession negatively influences all phases of our lives, from our professional careers to parenthood to everything in between," he said. "When the corporate world is a poster child for greed, how do you avoid compromising your core values?"

Luongo argues that corporations do not fail or succeed because of the economy, competition or emerging technology. "They fail because of their inability to care," he wrote. "I believe the only time we realize our dreams is when we help others realize their dreams. When we help people get in the right circumstances to maximize their God-given talent, provide them whatever tools and support they need to be successful, make certain there is a clear understanding of expectations, share with them honest and open feedback, and finally allow them to be accountable and responsible for their own destiny…only then will we have mastered the model."

A charismatic and witty speaker, Luongo said that a number of executives at management seminars asked him to write a book about his workplace philosophy.

Publisher Richard Hunt, a fellow University of Dayton graduate, helped him shape the book — and eventually published it. "I typed out my two-hour keynote talk and handed it to Richard, who said, 'We wouldn't want to write the book for you. What we do is help you write the book.' I wrote 12 to 14 hours every Sunday over the next 10 months, meeting Richard halfway every Wednesday to review the work, edit it and prepare a draft for review the following week," Luongo said.

Curt W. Coffman, co-author of The New York Times' bestseller, First, Break All the Rules, said Luongo's book stands out among "the thousands of leadership books that have come to swim in the pools of bookstores everywhere." In the book's foreward, he calls the work "refreshing" and "a time-tested, proven course illuminating the golden thread connecting every person to a life of excellence and purpose."

Luongo, who graduated from UD in 1965 with a degree in communication, dedicated the book to his alma mater. "It was during those formative years as a student that I learned we are ultimately judged by our willingness to make a difference in other people's lives," he wrote.

Today, Luongo volunteers his time as an executive-in-residence at the University of Dayton, where he teaches and leads a center that offers executive development programs. He also co-teaches a life skills course for UD athletes. In the Dayton community, he chaired the United Way campaign in 2003 and currently serves as board chair. He's also vice chair of the board of trustees at Greene Memorial Hospital and serves as a trustee at the Dayton Development Coalition.

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