5. Seeing the Invisible

When people say that “leadership involves vision,” they generally refer to the ability of leaders to look into the future and articulate what they see in a way that is compelling to those around them. But for some leaders, it means something more: The ability to see what lies under everyone’s noses, but what others, including some very smart people, cannot see. Call it seeing the invisible.

The way that Steve Jobs—co-founder and CEO of Apple Computer and CEO of Pixar—saw the potential of technology that later became the Macintosh computer offers a useful example. The story has long been part of Silicon Valley lore. It was November 1979, and Apple Computer was growing rapidly. With a few engineers, Jobs went to visit Xerox’s ...

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