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The Art of Strategic Leadership by Stephanie S. Mead, Steven J. Stowell

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Chapter 8The Art of Risk

The Story: Jordan

The next morning, Alex rose with the sun, checked out of his Santa Fe hotel, and ate a quick breakfast at a café just off the plaza. Always a light sleeper, this morning he wanted to get on the road as early as possible. If he took the most direct route, he would cross over into Colorado by late morning, pick up the interstate south of Provo, Utah, and make it well into Idaho before nightfall. In that case, he'd be home in Seattle the day after tomorrow. He was eager to rejoin Julie and the boys and help with the final preparations for their move to Dallas.

At the same time, he felt he had unfinished business with respect to the past eight weeks in Dallas. The solitude of the road was the perfect terrain for working through it. Besides, he was about to leave the flat, mostly arid terrain he'd been driving through for the high country of the Central Rockies and was looking forward to seeing some scenery that was new to him. Weighing his options, Alex saw in his mind's eye the poster hanging on the wall behind the desk of Jordan, the plant's engineering manager: “Life isn't about avoiding risks—it's about taking calculated ones,” it read. That slogan summed up Jordan's approach in a nutshell, Alex thought. He was never skittish about experimenting or trying something new, whether it was an unproven manufacturing process or an untested but promising material.

This morning Jordan's adventurous spirit challenged Alex to make a risky choice ...

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