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

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Chapter 12The Art of Vision

The Story: Alex

Alex's last week in Seattle was a dizzying round of dinners and backyard barbecues, where he, Julie, and the boys said goodbye to friends, colleagues, and family, and a seemingly endless chain of errands and packing in preparation for their new life in Texas. Only a few days after Alex got back, the family—with the help of a moving company—had their furniture, clothing, and personal effects loaded into the van that would arrive in Dallas the day their flight landed. It was a lot of work, but Alex was energized after taking a few days to himself on the road.

After the moving van was loaded, the family stayed with Julie's parents, who still lived in the large Mercer Island house where she had grown up. The entire family was thrilled to have a few more days together before moving halfway across the country. Throughout these few days, Alex slipped back into a purely tactical, problem-solving mode. He had always been able to switch almost instantaneously between the big picture and close-up modes of thinking, zooming in and out like a camera lens, in response to whatever a given situation demanded.

Alex understood why solving problems was so appealing. The rush of adrenaline that often accompanied the unknotting of even a relatively minor problem could be addictive. Over the years, Alex had come to describe the attraction as “the task magnet,” the pull of getting things done and wanting to be the hero who saves the day. Leading a business ...

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