Some time ago I wrote an article in this blog about Cisco Systems. I thought Cisco had a really interesting business model and also was an excellent example of a management structure that reflected Uranus in Pisces. Here’s the link in case you want to revisit the article: Uranus in Pisces – Cisco Systems. I also wrote that we would watch Cisco Systems as Uranus headed into Aries and see how they would weather that transition.
Today I read on Rosabeth Moss Kanter’s excellent Harvard Business Review blog that Cisco has restructured its operations due in part to two consecutive quarters of disappointing results. The bureaucracy inherent in their former management structure had rendered them unable to take advantage of some opportunities, causing them to lose ground to competitors.
During the last decade, Cisco Systems instituted an operating structure truly in line with Uranus in Pisces. In order to stimulate innovation they developed an intricate system of councils and boards, some of which functioned without a formal leader. As I mentioned in my former piece, while this strategy actually rescued their business by capturing cross-functional ideas and insights, there have also been drawbacks. Fully a fifth of Cisco’s senior executives have left the company, unable to thrive in this kind of flat and complex management structure.
Uranus in Aries is a very different energy than Uranus in Pisces. The committee/matrix structure that was effective with Uranus in Pisces will no longer work with Uranus in Aries. Under this transit, business innovation will come through the efforts of the lone-wolf, the entrepreneurial-minded contributor, rather than the holistic, cross-functional team.One of the commenters on Moss Kantor’s blog perceptively states that maybe we shouldn’t see Cisco’s reorganization in terms of failure, but rather simply change and evolution. He lauds Cisco for recognizing the need to change and evolve and I agree. Whenever there is such a massive planetary movement as Uranus passing from the very last sign of the zodiac, the sign of complete immersion in complexity, to the very first sign in the zodiac, the sign of simplicity and individual action, there is going to have to be a reworking of structures throughout society. As Cisco’s chief executive, John Chambers, said, “It’s time to simplify the way we execute our strategy.” It has nothing to do with failure; it has to do with natural processes –as natural as the earth transitioning from winter to spring.
This is simply where we are now. As leaders and managers we should take advantage of this new energy and reform our operations. We should give more credibility to individual contributors, agitators, spirited, independent-minded employees, people whose self-sufficiency sometimes makes it look like they’re not team players. These are the people that ingenuity will flow through with Uranus in Aries.
No matter how collaboratively we’re inclined to run our business operations, we have to allow room for individual contributors at this time. Some people thrive in environments of intense cooperation; others thrive in competition. Some love to be immersed in a borderless environment while others do their best work when they’re left alone to pursue their own creative ideas. Watch for this now. It’s much more likely now that the rebel is the one who is truly inventive, channeling defiant Uranus in Aries and bringing real progress to our businesses.
To read more about Uranus in Aries, see
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