Alan: Welcome back, I’m here today with Richard King, Richard King is an attorney with King King and King here in the Silicon Valley and also has served as the International Rotary President in 2002-2003.
Alan: 2001-2002, thank you Richard, welcome to today’s show.
Richard: Good to be with you again thanks for inviting me back.
Alan: So Richard, give us some of your background.
Richard: Well I’ve been an attorney for half a century for 50 years as of last January- I took the bar exams in California and Utah I’ve belonged to both of those bars for the last 50 years and have had a general trial practice in the Bay Area now my offices and pleasant on the Stoneridge Mall and we do criminal defense work we do family law we do personal-injury automobile accident cases an we do some estate planning. And I've enjoyed it, I’ve enjoyed litigation over the years and I’ve enjoyed courtroom work. At the same time, when I was young like you, I was singing three shows a night in Las Vegas. Somebody came to my office one day and said “How would like to sing in Las Vegas?” I was doing amateur musicals around the bay area, and I said, ‘sure why not,’ I was still single in those times and so I would fly daily from the Oakland airport to McCarran Field in Las Vegas, go to the Desert Inn, at 11o’clock at night they’d say here he is from San Francisco, The Baritone Barrister better known as the singing sewer. And I’d go out at 11 o’clock at night, sing at one for an hour, sing again at 1 AM and then at 4 AM. And the 4 AM show was for losers, but that was the show I got to sing all the songs I liked to sing. And then at 5 AM I’d go to my room of the Desert Inn and have a little corn beef sandwich for breakfast and hop on a plane and be back at Oakland around noon, and I would be in my office all afternoon, in those days in San Leandro, suing all day and singing all night. And I was having a good time, of course I was single so I was dating all over- I was doing a lot of church work- almost slipped there for a minute and was young man of the year in San Leandro and so on… Today I travel the globe about 40% of the year doing Rotary work- humanitarian projects and giving speeches to Rotarians all the world. And I've been to 132 countries many of them many times over. The year I was international Pres. of Rotary I traveled 538,000 miles in the air, we did 79 countries that year and ran around the globe about 22 times. Last year we were in India and Thailand Hong Kong and Taiwan, this year we’ll be in Europe primarily a couple times doing Rotary work, and I’ve given talks in every state in the country most of the provinces in Canada last week I was way up north in British Columbia talking about leadership and Rotary. I'm on the Fremont symphony board, with you Alan I’m on the Boy Scout board of the San Francisco Bay Area Council. I’m on the high Council of the Latter-day Saint Church here in the Fremont Stake, so I keep moving.
Alan: I’ve heard you with the Rotary and several times speaking, and I love every talk that you give, I feel inspired. Leadership which is how I know you best for then the attributes that you bring out to others in helping us understand that the principal leadership. How you define leadership?
Richard: I have read and heard many different definitions of leadership over the years, my favorite is this- ‘a leader is somebody who influences somebody else to do something.’ In other words I define leadership as influence and results. A lot of people talk about it, but you got to walk the walk in addition to talking the talk and you got to see results. So I believe there are four steps to a good leadership program. First is set a definitive goal. A goal that is reachable but one that causes you to reach, so it's got to be a goal that everybody understands, everybody buys into. Second you got to develop a business plan to reach the goal. In other words, it doesn’t do any good to have a goal without having a plan on how to get there. Every business, yours and mine has to have a business plan on how to succeed and the same is true in any leadership objective. So if you’re trying to get something done you set a business plan on how you’re going to reach the goal. Third, you got to work the business plan. It doesn't do any good to have a goal and have a plan if you don't work it and then forth you got to recognize those who would did significant achievement in making a plan work and reaching the goal. And I believe that any business that does those four steps reaches its goal and can achieve a change in leadership. Leadership is changing anything any organization any club any church any business any family any institution from what it is, to what it ought to be, that’s as how I define the objective of leadership for business, the four plan program that I just outlined.
Alan: I’m visiting here today with Richard King Richard is an attorney here in this Silicon Valley with offices in Pleasanton and also the former International Rotary President for 2001-2002 and today we’ve been talking about leadership. Richard we need to take a quick break and we’ll be back after these messages but I wanted to talk more about how person actually steps itself at becoming a leader who will be right back after these messages
Alan: Welcome back and here today with Richard King. Richard is the former International Rotary President from 2001 to 2002 and an attorney here in Silicon Valley his office is located in Pleasanton. And Richard how does somebody become a leader?
Richard: More often than not it's thrust upon them by the sequence of events in their lives. Great leaders like Winston Churchill were there at the right time at the right moment in history, but often leaders are people who step forward because they want to extend their own sphere of influence and they want to develop their own character in our own human relations skills. So the first thing someone does when he- because I believe that leaders can be developed. I don't believe that anyone is a born leader, I personally believe the leadership is a skill that can be developed by anyone. So the first thing a person does to become a leader is recognized that there needs to be something done, there needs to be a change organized or a growth perceived and achieved in a business or occupation or in the family or in an institution or a club or an organization, so that's the first thing. The second thing then is to begin with the four steps that I've outlined developing a goal, a business plan, working the plan and recognizing those who help. Someone once said, “don't worry about arriving,” everybody who got where he is had to begin where he was, simply because there's nowhere else to begin. And when I'm talking to young people in particular, a lot of times they don't know where to start, they don't know how to begin and they’re a frightened, they’re little afraid of it. And I always say, begin where you are now, where you are, with what you have, because in the words of Richard L> Evans, “there's no place else to begin.” Each of us has to begin where we were. A lot of times, people want to be somebody without having to go through the steps to get to be that person and that's an important thing so you go to begin and you got to begin as soon as possible. I don't like people to waste time, especially young people, because they don't know what they want to do, I always said to my kids, “do something. If is not what you want to do, change. Don't waste precious time.” Each of us is 86,400 seconds in the day and that's it so we have to use that time as best we can. Third, then you have to work the business plan that you developed and how to achieve the goal. That is when a person becomes a leader. Now leaders can be quiet, they can be noisy, they can be extrovert, they can be introvert, what they need to do is develop influence so that other people want to make the changes that they see and buy into those changes. So you don't have to how the loud speaking voice, some of the greatest leaders I've ever known were soft speakers, you develop your own personality your own God-given talents and skills, each of us has certain amount of gifts, a certain amount of talents, a certain amount skills and if we exercise and develop those, then leadership can become a natural trait. So, I believe that those are the elements necessary for someone to become a leader, and we need leaders desperately, we have a lot of managers but we need leaders.
Alan: What’s the difference between being a leader and holding a position of management?
Richard: I read once an article in Fortune magazine many years ago. “Wanted Corporate Leaders, Mere Managers Need Not Apply.” The article went on to point out that managers are people who organize and administer, but leaders are those with a vision. Leaders are those who see the potential, leaders of those who develop a goal from where they are to where they want to go. From what it is, to what it ought to be. Leaders are those who think broadly and who influence those to follow them to reach an objective. In this country every year, we graduate a lot of MBAs. A lot of managers of business administration and every year thousands of businesses, if read the Wall Street Journal correctly, are managed in the bankruptcy. So there's a big difference between management and leadership. Leadership is the idea of developing a vision of where you want to go and then developing a plan to get to reach the goal, the managers the one who administers and manages on a daily basis.
Alan: I’m visiting here with Richard King, he’s a local attorney with King king and King, also the former International Rotary President from 2001 to 2002. Richard we need to take a quick break, we’ll be back after these messages, and I want to talk about how an individual balances life. We’ll be right back.
Alan: Welcome back, I’m here today with Richard King, he’s a local attorney here in Silicon Valley, his office is in Pleasanton and served as the International Rotary President from 2001 to 2002. Richard we’ve been talking about leadership today; is there anybody who has motivated you in your life to do what you’re doing?
Richard: Well many have of course Alan, one of the great things about being a people person is the people you meet. But years ago I was teaching at Brigham Young University and I came across a book called “Successful Leadership” a series of talks given by people that were printed in this book. And I've read it from time to time, and one that I particularly like is a speech that was given by Herbert Hoover that he gave a number of years ago. And if I could just read a short paragraph of it, Herbert Hoover said; “Among the delusions offered us by fuzzy minded people is that imaginary creature the common man. It is dinned into us that this is the century of the common man. The uncommon man is to be whittled down to size, it is a negation of individual dignity and a slogan of mediocrity and uniformity. The common man dogma he said, may be of use as a vote getting apparatus, is supposedly proves the humility of demagogues. But the greatest strides of human progress have come from uncommon men and uncommon women. The humor of it is, he said, that when we get sick we want an uncommon doctor. If we have to go to war, we yearn for an uncommon General or Admiral”. And I’ve added to that in talks I’ve given all of the world, if we have a child in school, we seek the uncommon teacher. If we’re running a business, we want the uncommon professional. Anything that is good in our lives is caused, been delivered by people who have dared, often in the face of peer ridicule, to reach out and be uncommon. And I guess, in my own life I've always strived to be a little uncommon, not because I want to be better than anybody else. But because I want a better myself every day that I live as my gift back to the God who created me.
Alan: Richard, out of all the years that you've been traveling around the world, 40% of your time on the road, you’ve been in many countries met many individuals in the capacity of a servant and spending time with them. What experience stands out the most to you?
Richard: Alan, there have been many of them many of them have touched me deeply. Water wells in Ethiopia and picking up orphaned babies in the streets of Jamaica but 30 some odd years ago I made my first trip to India. And I went to a village were the people were very poor, pennies every year was their income. The children of course didn't know they were poor they sang me a song in Punjabi. I sang them a song in Las Vegas, but we understood each other, even though we didn't understand each other. They took me into a cow dung hut, kneeling on the floor was a beautiful young Indian woman with her head all bandaged, she couldn't see. The Hindu physician, a Rotarian, had just operated on her with crude utensils supplied by the Rotary foundation, this was years ago. She had had cataracts, had been blind for a number of years, in this country is nothing, but in those days in India in the hinterland of the country it was a big deal, and people were blind for a long time. The doctor let me kneel beside him as he began to unravel the bandages from her eyes. Sitting in front of her were three young children, big brown eyes, matted hair, soiled little white robes staring at this woman. I deduced quickly this was their mother, I'll never forget it. I visited Helen Keller's home in the South one year, and I remember when someone asked her is there anything worse than being blind? She said oh yes, having site and no vision. I remembered that phrase as I watched this doctor removing the bandages from this young mothers head. And in an instant Alan, she opened her eyes, and for the first time in her life she saw her own three children. The look on her face seared me. I began to cry, she wasn't the only one who got vision that day. I'd always been able to see so I thought, but I crawled out of that cow dung hut with a different perspective; what it was like to look on the face of a mother who sees her own three children for the first time in her life. It was a stunning revelation to me and it seared me. And I remember it to this day as if it were yesterday. I've never forgotten it, even though I've had many other searing experiences all over the world. In the Ukraine, in Bucharest, all over the world in Shanghai with wheelchairs but I'll never forget the look on that mother's face staring at her own three children.
Alan: That’s inspiring, thank you. Now, let me move on to the next area I want to cover. Balance in life, you know we see this world is getting busier and busier as things go through and you know, you got your work you got your family you got your community.
Richard: I knew a man by the name of Phil Smart, he was a Mercedes-Benz dealer in Seattle Washington, a wonderful man. And he gave a talk called the third eight and he talked about the eight hours that we sleep the eight hours that we work and what it is that we did with the third eight hours of our life. The first time I heard him talk I was stunned because I had to take a look at myself and say, what am I doing with the third eight hours of my life? Most important of course was, in my own opinion, is one's devotion to the God who created that individual second is family, because in the final scheme of things nothing takes the place of family. I've been blessed by a wonderful, with a wonderful wife and wonderful sons and grandchildren and these are the things that matter most when we move into eternity. Third of courses is our work, we have an obligation in Rotary to be professionally ethical, competent and give good service to our clients, our patients, our customers, our students, whatever it is we do for a living. So that's an obligation that we have and that comes third. And fourth is what we give to others. Because I’ve learned that what we give to others comes back into our own life and I can tell you just one story. I have a friend, or had a friend, he’s since passed away down in Orange California. Who invited me to come and speak at his Rotary club on a Thursday noon. I got into his beautiful black Mercedes car and I could see he wasn't himself I said what's the matter with you? And he said Rick, my wife and I have an emotional experience this morning with our daughter and her husband, young kids. We went to the children's wing of the county hospital to pick up our first grandchild. And I said well, congratulations, that’s a wonderful day in anybody’s life, your first child, your first grandchild. It was he said because he was born 10 days ago on a Sunday, and they told us she probably wasn't going to survive. For a week we couldn't see her and my daughter was in tears her young husband had no idea how to console her, my own wife was in tears and it was not a happy week at my house last week. Last Sunday, which was now just three or four days before I had arrived on Thursday, they said you can come down for a few minutes and you can see this child. We walked into this room whitewall clinical room with one little patient about this big, sitting there, laying there in a little bed, hooked up to a big machine with tubes and wires, you know how they do. My wife and I cried, we prayed, we wanted to will this little baby to live and then I got the shock of my life, because there in the corner of the machine was the Rotary wheel, the Rotary emblem. And I rubbed my eyes and I couldn't believe it and I went over there and it had a plaque underneath it and it said this machine was donated by my Rotary club. And I remember writing a check because Rick, Rotary is always asking for a little of our money. And then I remembered selling hot dogs at the county bazaar fair, as a club fundraiser because you know Rick Rotary is always asking for a little of our time. And I forgot all about it, I've been in Rotary 30 years, how many projects, how many checks how much giving to others. I forgot all about it until last Sunday when that machine was keeping my first grandchild alive. And he began to cry, and he said how did we get so lucky to belong to an organization that’s always asking us to give, because the more you give the more you get. You can never give it away. And I’ve learned that in my own life, I've had a very very rich experience traveling all over the world. We have friends, Sherry and I can hardly look at the news every night on TV, whatever country it is, there’s somebody in that country we love deeply we stayed in their home we know them we worked with them and they are people just like us wanting the same things for their family peace and freedom and security. So you decide what's important, you balance it out, and Alan you're a good example of that, you’re always giving in the community, you’re always giving to your family. You’re a giver and givers receive a lot in return.
Alan: I think it’s, there was an individual that wrote a book once, I think you should write a book you’ve got so much history with 40% of your time traveling around the world, few people get to see the things that you’ve seen in life, but I'm sure you do it because of giving back.
Richard: Well, Albert Schweitzer said that we become the more truly human man, the more truly human woman when we give and I believe giving has enhanced my own humanity.
Alan: I’m visiting here today with Richard King, Richard is an attorney in Pleasanton and a former International Rotary President. Richard, best way to contact you an individual wants to engage your services, how would they do that?
Richard: Well, we’re in suite 205 at the Foothill Corporate Center 5820 Stoneridge Mall Rd. and we have been there for the last 13 years and the my phone number is 925-469-9155.
Alan: Richard, thank you for being on today’s show.
Richard: It was a pleasure Alan, thanks for inviting me, good to be with you.
Alan: Thank you.
About Richard King
Richard D. King has practiced law for 50 years in both California and Utah, and is the senior partner of the law firm King, King, and King. Originally from Litchfield, Illinois, he earned undergraduate and law degrees from the University of California at Berkeley where he is a member of the California Club and the Order of the Golden Bear. He taught law at Brigham Young University. He is a distinguished military graduate of the University of California and served as a U.S. Army captain in military intelligence.
A Rotary club member since 1968, Mr. King currently belongs to the Rotary Club of Niles-Fremont, California. He has served as a Trustee of The Rotary Foundation, director and chairman of the executive committee of Rotary International's Board of Directors. One of Rotary's most popular speakers, Mr. King has addressed members at Rotary International conventions and other Rotary functions in more than 75 countries.