Today is the start of the lunar Year of the Ox. In Asian astrology, the ox symbolizes calm, hard work, resolve, and tenacity, which seem like reassuring symbols. Chinese astrologists, however, are predicting a tough year. In fact, according to an Associated Press report prominent Asian soothsayers say newly elected US President Barack Obama will have a hard time, partly because he is the 44th American president, 44 being considered a particularly unlucky number.
Yet, despite gloomy predictions, we’ve all seen how a new beginning, coupled with strong leadership and evocative words, can change perception and even alter behavior. It’s no different in the corporate world. People will respond to honesty. Asking the American public – or a team of employees – to sacrifice, pull together, and put aside selfish goals for the good of the greater entity is an excellent first step. My guess is that, against a backdrop of uncertainty, we need not only to hear about tangible fixes, but we also crave inspiration and a common vision. It’s part of true leadership, whether of the country or a small business.