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The Blind Leading The Sighted

Learning through resilience and discomfort

These days, says Red Hat executive Chad Foster, if you’re not the disruptor, you’re bound to be a disruptee. But the kind of risk-taking required to transform one’s established, legacy company into a leading-edge digital competitor forces some CEOs well outside their comfort zones.

“It requires adaptability, flexibility and some resilience for people to think beyond the way things have always been done,” says Foster. “There’s this technology that empowers all of that—but then there’s the human element, which is where I come in.”

Foster understands resilience and the need to persevere in the face of great obstacles and painful change. He lost his eyesight as a teenager, and when his world faded to black, he had to find a path to a new way of living. At Red Hat, the world’s largest open source software company, he has secured more than $45 billion in contracts and became the first blind graduate of the Harvard Business School leadership program.

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