Cover Image, The Economist, August 29, 2009.

Cover Image, The Economist, August 29, 2009.

The August 29th issue of The Economist featured a cover story called “Big is Back:  The Return of the Corporate Giant”.  The magazine cover pictured a huge whale with a tiny person bouncing around on the jet issuing from the whale’s spout – I guess that’s you and me, small business owners.  I was in the airport when I saw it and I had to grab the magazine:  the whale is a key symbol of the sign Pisces. 

With Uranus in Pisces and moving into Aries soon, I’ve been thinking a lot about innovation (Uranus) in companies at the end of their life cycle (Pisces).  What did they do to embrace the energies of Uranus in Pisces?  And how will they transition themselves into the kind of entrepreneurial companies that will survive the transition to Aries?  What innovations are they bringing in now that will carry them over the cusp into the new part of the cycle?

The end or the beginning?

During the Pisces stage of the business life cycle, the business has gotten so big it has begun to come apart at the seams.  At this stage of the cycle, there are so many “hands in the pot” so to speak that the company runs the risk of dispersing in all directions.  The company needs to focus on how to transition from the dissolution stage (Pisces) into the next stage of the cycle, the entrepreneurial stage (Aries).

But The Economist is saying these businesses are not nearing their end but staging a comeback! 

With Uranus having been in Pisces the last seven years, there has been innovation in this part of the cycle that has allowed certain companies to thrive while others have collapsed.  So what innovations have these large companies made that earns them an “end of cycle” feature on the cover of The Economist and an exhaustive study in a major new business book, SuperCorp: How Vangaurd Companies Create Innovation, Profits, Growth, and Social Good ?  How have they been able to survive?  What will become of them as we move into Uranus in Aries?  And most important, are there lessons we can learn that will help us make the transition as well?

Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Professor at Harvard Business School, sums it up this way in SuperCorp:

The best of this breed aspire to be big but human, efficient but innovative, global but concerned about local communities.

Sounds a lot like Pisces to me.

What can the behemoths teach us?

Uranus will be in Pisces only a few more months.  During 2010 it progresses into Aries for five months and in 2011 it leaves Pisces permanently (well, about 80 years) and enters Aries where it will stay for the next seven years.  If we can anticipate the movement into Aries and how it will differ from the last seven years in Pisces, we’ll have a leg-up on the changes and innovations we’ll need to bring to our business in order to stay in touch with the current times.

And since, as The Economist states, “the most successful economic ecosystems contain a variety of big and small companies”, let’s see if there is some synergy we can develop between our small businesses and the behemoths.

Happy whale.  (Source:Wikipedia)

Happy whale. (Source:Wikipedia)

In coming posts we’ll look at some of these behemoths and how they have managed to stay viable through innovation.   A thorough look at this phenomena will yield insight into the coming times, beginning next year.  And let’s keep in mind the innovations we have brought to our businesses in the last seven years and how we may need a paradigm shift as Uranus enters Aries.

We’ve all been through this phase, either in our businesses or in other areas of our lives.  The Pisces to Aries transition is marked by dissolution of something that has gotten large and unwieldy and eventually finding that spark of your own individual self that allows you to start over with only your own resources to guide you – your inner pioneer.

So what have we seen in the last seven years with Uranus in Pisces and what is coming when Uranus moves into Aries?

To be continued…

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