Three Horses

One of the pictures I brought home from my office is a Chinese painting of three horses I bought in a museum in Xian, China, home of the amazing Terra Cotta Army. I had always been told that the horse was a symbol of power – a friend had given me a small carving for my desk, also from China, when I became president. But when I took a calligraphy lesson at the museum, the teacher said that many executives in China hang paintings of a group of horses to recognize that leadership is a team effort.

I had just hired a new Vice President and another was serving in an interim role after the abrupt departure of a colleague. It was a stressful transition for all of us and I explained to them why I had purchased the painting and displayed it prominently. It would be there to remind us during staff meetings of how each of us was essential to the others’ success, and to the fulfillment of our mission and goals. And it would be there to remind me most of all.