Archive for category Uranus in Pisces

A4B Today – September 17, One-Two Punch

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Good Day!

Today is relatively quiet but Saturday is gangbusters, and these planetary events are so powerful there’s no reason you wouldn’t be feeling them already.  Indeed they’ve been coloring the entire week.

Mars & Pluto

Mars in Scorpio forms an easeful aspect with Pluto in Capricorn on Saturday, which carries forward the tenor we’ve seen all week.  Pluto turned direct on Monday and Mars entered Pluto’s sign, Scorpio, on Tuesday.  We’ve cited examples of this combination all week so if you missed them be sure to check the prior posts.  And don’t miss the comments as readers shared their own stories.

With the harmonious aspect, there’s an open door for more revelations of hidden matters, whether these have been concealed from you by others or you’ve been concealing them from yourself.  There’s a great deal of power released when the truth bubbles to the surface so you may feel these new disclosures instigate a whole new purpose within you.

You may be taken aback and need to seclude yourself to adjust to the reality you glimpse over the next couple of days.  As much as we’d like to think we favor honest revelations, sometimes they require us to modify our own behavior.  Mars in Scorpio demands that we drop our own desires in favor of working in concert with others and for some of us, that’s hard!  And Pluto in Capricorn reveals the stark reality of our business and economic situations.  So it’s no picnic.

Jupiter & Uranus

The other major aspect is so different that I’m eager to see how they both play out together.  While Mars in Scorpio with Pluto is everything secretive, instinctual, defensive, and self-protective, there is also a Jupiter/Uranus conjunction exact on Saturday.  Jupiter and Uranus are bright, rational, clear, and future focused.  The two separate aspects are within two hours of each other Saturday evening (MDT), a one-two punch.

Jupiter and Uranus meet in their travels around the zodiac about every fourteen years.  Due to retrograde motion they may contact each other three times within a few months and then move apart again.  The current cycle began with their first contact on June 8 with both planets in the sign Aries.  Now both in retrograde motion, they meet in Pisces and will turn around to meet again in direct motion in Pisces in January.

I’m fascinated by the planets’ foray into Aries and then backing up into Pisces.  Aries is considered the first sign of the zodiac, the sign associated in the northern hemisphere with Spring.  When they met in June both planets were within the first degree of Aries.  Aries is the spark of individuality, the single organism separating from the collective and standing on its own.  But now they both moved back into Pisces!  It’s like that first fish that sprouted lungs, scratched onto the shore, takes one breath, and runs back into the sea!

To bring this into business terms, we were likely to really feel inspired in June under the first Jupiter/Uranus conjunction in Aries:  a new business, a new venture beckoned us; a break from the past seemed a reality.  And then both planets turned retrograde.  All of a sudden there were holes in our plan; the energy fell out; our enthusiasm waned.  As Jupiter and Uranus inched back into Pisces, our spark of Aries independence waned.  We fell back into a pattern from the past, one much less entrepreneurial and individualistic.  If you were experimenting with new business forms, you probably reverted.  If a new product idea seemed feasible, you probably had to let it go.  If you engaged new clients, the relationship may have stalled.

On Saturday Jupiter and Uranus meet again in retrograde motion.  Deep in the recesses of your mind, there is a new idea being born.  Yes, it may bear a resemblance to something you thought was left behind for good.  And while both planets are in retrograde motion, it may be hard to clearly distinguish the next step for your business innovation and that’s OK – it’s not time for a fully baked idea yet.  But if you listen carefully, you may hear the stirrings of your next big move, even if it sounds familiar.

One or Both?

So which will you experience, the subterfuge and power issues of Mars, Pluto, and Scorpio or the creative business idea of Jupiter and Uranus?  Let’s keep our senses peeled and continue to share in the comments what the next two days bring.

Have a revealing weekend!

Do you have a question about your business for Ellen? See the “Work with Ellen” tab at the top of this site for my Straight to the Point Response service.

For an overview of the week, see the Weekly Forecast – September 13 – 19

For an overview of the month, see the Astro4Business Month Ahead – September 2010

For more info on the business descriptions of the planets mentioned today, see





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A4B Today – Uranus Back in Pisces

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Good Day!

Today Uranus in retrograde motion moves back into the sign Pisces, the last sign of the zodiac. In case you missed it, this is what I wrote about Uranus in the monthly forecast for August:

In July Uranus entered its annual cycle of retrograde motion. During the entire month of July it slowly traveled back through the very first degree of Aries, and now in August it will move back into Pisces where it will remain until next March.

Since May 27, when Uranus entered Aries, we’ve been getting to know a new face of Uranus. Aries is the spark of entrepreneurial spirit, the initiating drive toward independence and individuality. You may have noticed new ideas incubating and a spirit of bold entrepreneurship in and around your business. But when Uranus moved into retrograde motion, there was probably a disruption in this full-speed-ahead current. You may now feel ambivalent or dissatisfied with your new ideas and initiatives.

And when Uranus moves back into Pisces there’s another major shift. Yes, this is familiar territory; Uranus was in Pisces for most of the last seven years, since March 2003. But it may feel bizarre to be stepping back in time. From our new entrepreneurial spirit we again enter the realm of collective ideas. From our recent forays into a new style of leadership, we fall back into flattened hierarchies and committee decision-making. From enhanced independence we’re back to collaboration and alliances.

Our whole society will seem to be taking steps backwards. Must be something more to learn!

Employee Engagement

In honor of Uranus retrograde and since Pisces is a sign concerned with the emotional connections between us, let’s re-look at the concept of employee engagement. An engaged employee is defined in Wikipedia as:

…one who is fully involved in, and enthusiastic about, his or her work, and thus will act in a way that furthers their organization’s interests …Engagement is distinctively different from satisfaction, motivation, culture, climate and opinion and very difficult to measure.

Yes, it may be hard to measure but we know it when we see it, don’t we? And we know it in ourselves, too. It’s worth our while to pay attention to employee engagement since some studies have found that engaged employees are up to 43% more productive and that there is an almost 52% gap in operating incomes between companies with highly engaged employees and companies whose employees have low-engagement scores. (Source:Wikipedia)

In case you don’t know what you can do to specifically foster engagement, here are some questions adapted from Workforce Management. Ask yourself these questions about your employees and then have a second go and ask them about yourself:

  • Do your employees know what is expected of them at work?
  • Do your employees have the materials and equipment they need to do their work?
  • At work, do your employees have the opportunity to do what they do best every day?
  • In the last seven days, have you given your employees recognition or praise for doing good work?
  • Do you really care about each employee as a person?
  • Do you encourage your employees’ development?
  • At work, do your employees’ opinions count?
  • Does the mission/purpose of your company make your employees feel their job is important?
  • In the last six months, have you talked to each employee about their progress?
  • In the last year, has each employee had opportunities at work to learn and grow?

How did you do? Let’s take advantage of Uranus back in Pisces to shore up our relationships with our employees, our colleagues, and all our business contacts. Pisces is the sign of cohesive unity and as I said above, we must still have more to learn about it. Let’s take a step back to examine the points above and address any weaknesses we find. Then next March, when Uranus moves into Aries again, we’ll have the fully unified force of our collaborators behind us to push ahead into new territory.

Have a great weekend!

To read more about Uranus in Pisces, see the category to the right.

For an overview of the week, see the Astro4Business Weekly Forecast – Aug 9 – 15

For an overview of the month, see the Astro4Business Month Ahead – August 2010

For more info on the business descriptions of Uranus, see Uranus

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Astro4Business Forecast – May 20 Special Report

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Good Day!

The waxing Moon reaches its first quarter and then enters Virgo while the Sun transitions from Taurus into Gemini today.  But just before the Sun leaves Taurus, it makes its last harmonious aspect with Uranus in Pisces.

This is the final time the Taurus Sun will make this particular aspect because Uranus will move out of Pisces and into Aries on May 28.  So this is the last time in 84 years we’ll experience this supremely beneficial aspect with the Sun in Taurus and Uranus in Pisces.

The aspect is called a sextile, and it occurs when two planets are 60 degrees from each other.  This angle forms a flow of exchange between two planets that is supportive and reinforcing in the very best way.  Uranus, which has been in the water sign Pisces for the last seven years, finds a true partner with the Sun in the earth sign, Taurus.  Water signs give content; earth signs give form.

Over the last seven years Uranus has given us innovation and invention in business in a particularly Piscean fashion.  Pisces is the sign of immersion in the collective; of recognizing that the needs of the whole are more important than our personal needs.  While Uranus has been in Pisces we’ve seen flattening of management hierarchies, a marked increase in global transactions and interactions, and moving parts which come together for specific purposes and then split apart again to form new groups.  We’ve learned the importance of the “culture” of our business and its mysterious impact on our profits.  We’ve learned “emotional intelligence”, a Uranus in Pisces phrase if there ever was one!

In our businesses we’ve had to rely on diversification and collaboration to keep afloat.  We’ve seen the ascendance of social media and the internet and many of us have been dragged into it to give us the reach we needed to survive.  And sustainability for our businesses and our world has come to the forefront of our attention and our decisions.

Today is a great day for one last dip into this ocean of connectivity because the Taurus Sun will keep our goals realistic.  When Uranus enters Aries our style of innovation will markedly change.  But let’s take advantage of this last sextile of the Sun and Uranus in Pisces.  Here are some ideas to make the most of the day:

  • Gather your team and review all of the progress you’ve made in the last seven years.  Cite every breakthrough you’ve accomplished along the way.  Acknowledge how far you’ve come.
  • Put on the table all of the ideas that you’ve played with but were unable to materialize.  Do any of them still have traction?  Today would be the best day to make a plan for implementation.
  • Acknowledge all of the connections you’ve made, especially those garnered through the use of social media.  Contact these colleagues and customers in an appropriate way to let them know you appreciate working with them and hope to continue the relationship in the future.
  • Trade places with one of your employees or colleagues, even for a couple of hours.  You could each come up with realistic solutions for the other today.  Or let a junior member of your staff sit in your seat for the day.  Excellent ideas with practical applications can be born.
  • Hold a session where your staff tells each other how they joined your company and what concrete steps they’d like to take to see their career grow.  You may be surprised that the talent you’re looking for is right in the room with you.

These are some ideas; I’m sure you can come up with others.  The theme is “connection leads to practical innovation” today:  our last nod to Uranus in Pisces grounded by the Sun in Taurus.

Have a great day!

For an overview of the week, see the Astro4Business Weekly Forecast – May 17 – 23

For an overview of the month, see the Astro4Business Month Ahead – May

For more info on the planets influencing today, see

The Sun

The Moon


Don’t forget. If you have an astrology-related business question (or a business-related astrology question) send it to me at I’ll answer it in these posts, anonymously of course, and we can all learn from each other’s experiences. I look forward to it! Have a question now? Email it and let’s get started!

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Flaws and Perfection – Handling the Saturn/Uranus Opposition

Hello, everyone. 

An Harvard Business Review Management Tip got me thinking about flaws and handicaps in our businesses. 

Now that Saturn has returned to Virgo through its retrograde motion, we may become more aware of what isn’t working in our businesses.  Virgo can take an exacting, unemotional look at situations and circumstances and Saturn’s tendency is to see the glass half empty:  what isn’t working rather than what is. 

Imperfections and aspirations 

We’d all like to be perfect.  We’d all like to have only strengths and not weaknesses, if for no other reason than to contribute the very best to society.  Especially now, with the approaching opposition between Uranus and Saturn we are probably painfully aware of our imperfections (Saturn in Virgo) and our aspiration for perfection (Uranus in Pisces).  Another way of saying this is we may feel torn between working the way we have in the past with all our imperfections (Saturn in Virgo) or breaking into a new pattern that we think will insure a more perfect future (Uranus in Pisces). 

The HBR management tip was along the lines of “turn your flaws into your unique distinguishing feature.”  It cited a hotel in India without AC or room service, plus mosquitoes in the bargain, which they successfully marketed as an “eco-hotel.”  Now there was a lot of flak in the comments of the original article about dishonestly covering up your weaknesses and passing them off as strengths.  This is not what I’m asking you to look at. 

Is it really a flaw? 

I’m saying, if there are flaws, handicaps, shortages you just can’t get around, look for ways these can become a unique feature about you and your business.   Or at least ask the question:  are these really flaws?   One person’s too narrow focus may be another person’s ability to delve deeply into a topic.  One person’s scattered attention could be another’s ability to see all sides of an issue.  And some customers may want to pay for the boutique or deluxe experience; others may prefer a simple, low-cost alternative. 

During an opposition of any two planets, we stand right in the middle of two energies pulling us in opposite directions.  But this middle point is the still point, the point of balance.  Now is the time to look to Saturn in Virgo to tell you what needs improvement, and to Uranus in Pisces to tell you how that liability can be an asset. 

The point of balance 

I’ll tell you a personal example.  I’m writing this from outside of London where I’m nannying my grandson for three weeks.  This suits Saturn in Virgo completely.  Part of me is perfectly happy serving my son and daughter-in-law and caring for a toddler, with his scheduled waking, eating, sleeping, and outdoor play. And more than these is the feeling of the continuity of service from my son to my grandson, a wonderfully affirming sense of grandmothering my grandson in the same way I mothered my son.  

And yet these activities, as much as I love them, take time from writing this blog on astrology for business.  With my mind so focused on family life, it’s hard for me to settle into a business frame of reference.  This little family is my connection with my past; my writing is my stepping stone to my future. 

But if I reach for the still point my perception changes.  I can see that this little family is my future too, and that authentic writing is built on every experience of the past, whether there is a direct connection to business or not.  I have the sense that I am standing at the point of intersection between the past and the future, the exact balance of Saturn and Uranus.  I guess you would call it the present.  

Do you perceive a flaw, a shortfall, a handicap, a shortage?  Can you change your perception so you see it as part of your business future?  Use these last couple of months of Saturn in Virgo to root out your feelings of imperfection and let Uranus in Pisces show you a potential that includes the past, the present and the future, the whole you. 

For posts related to this topic, see the categories on the right – “Saturn in Virgo” and “Uranus in Pisces”. For the basics see these:

Astro4Business Basics – Saturn
Uranus – An Introduction

Don’t forget. If you have an astrology-related business question (or a business-related astrology question) send it to me at I’ll answer it in these posts, anonymously of course, and we can all learn from each other’s experiences. I look forward to it! Have a question now? Email it and let’s get started!

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The Bank of Facebook

Hello, everyone.

This is really interesting. For the week ending March 13, Facebook surpassed Google in the US to become the most visited website for the week.

We’ve been talking about the breakdown of the banking industry coincident with Pluto in Capricorn and the rise of social media coincident with Uranus in Pisces and Neptune in Aquarius. In the short video below, Thomas Power of posits that Facebook is a prime platform for peer-to-peer banking. With over a billion users expected by 2012, the capacity for all of us to invest in, loan to, and borrow from each other could annihilate the current banking industry business model. Have a look and let me know what you think.

For more information on Neptune in Aquarius, Uranus in Pisces, or Pluto in Capricorn, see the categories at the right.

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Uranus and the Cycle of Innovation

Hello everyone.

The planet Uranus and its energies are in the forefront these days.  Featured on day three of the International Astrology Blog Carnival, Uranus is the talk of the town because of its imminent ingress into the fire sign of Aries where it will approach the already stress-filled Saturn/Pluto square.

Floor mosaic, ca. 200–250 CE. (Source:Wikimedia Commons)

Floor mosaic, ca. 200–250 CE. (Source:Wikimedia Commons)

Uranus is on my mind, too, because I love its energies and it’s particularly impacting my own natal chart these days.  But today I’m thinking about Uranus’ retrograde cycle because it is passing a critical point in the cycle.  Currently in direct motion, Uranus will continue moving forward until July 6, when it will turn retrograde and come all of the way back to this point in the Zodiac, the point it’s passing now.  This is the Uranus cycle of innovation and it’s beginning now.  We’ll get this round and then another round next December.

Passing Health Care Reform

An example may help you understand the retrograde cycle of Uranus.  Astrologers generally predicted that health care (Pisces) reform (Uranus) in the U.S. would have to be accomplished when Uranus was in Pisces, rather than when it moves into the more self-involved sign of Aries.  The collective idealism of Uranus in Pisces would be necessary to overcome the forces of resistance to change.  The bill passed the House just yesterday, with Uranus at the zodiac point it will return to in retrograde motion next December.

Continuing our example, what does this mean for health care reform?  We’ll have good steady forward motion until the end of May.  Then when Uranus enters Aries, we may see signs of rebellion, perhaps anger that somehow the wool had been pulled over people’s eyes, even those who supported the bill.  In July, when Uranus turns retrograde and begins heading back to Pisces, people will probably simmer down, at least on the health care issue.  And then when Uranus reaches today’s point again next December, expect some kind of final passage or acceptance of the bill, but this is the calm before the storm.  All hell will break loose when Uranus enters Aries again next March.

You’ll pass this way again

What does this mean for us and our businesses?  When Uranus is passing the point it will eventually return to in retrograde motion, it is just beginning its cycle of innovation.  It’s a good time to pause and look around.  What are your issues today related to innovation, discovery, and invention?  It’s time to take the long view and note that the issues you’re grappling with today, whether breakthrough or rebellion, will be around a good long time.  These very same issues will come up again next December to be finally resolved next March.  It may look like you’re making progress, but you’ll need to cover this same ground again from July to next March.

Sometimes our breakthroughs bring instant results and our decisions are permanent, but not now.  Uranus represents the part of us that wants to branch out, experiment, and allow ourselves to be influenced by new technologies and new ideas.  Go ahead.  Don’t stop.  Just note what you’re doing and know that this is not the last time you’ll trek this trail.  This gives us the freedom to experiment, the freedom that Uranus in you loves.

For more information on Uranus, see these posts:
Uranus – an Introduction
Uranus in Pisces – Cisco Systems

Don’t forget. If you have an astrology-related business question (or a business-related astrology question) send it to me at I’ll answer it in these posts, anonymously of course, and we can all learn from each other’s experiences. I look forward to it! Have a question now? Email it and let’s get started!

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Uranus Day at the International Astrology Blog Carnival

Hello, everyone.

Uranus Symbol

Uranus Symbol

It’s Uranus Day at the International Astrology Day Blog Carnival.  Uranus is the energy that urges us to branch out, experiment, try something new.  In business it brings innovation and since it’s about to leave Pisces and enter Aries in May, it’s a good time to look ahead and anticipate the changes it will usher in.  

CJ Wright at Auntie Moon is hosting today’s carnival.  She shares, The articles and media presentations in the Uranus collection are as erratic as Uranus himself. You will discover some of the disruptive changes Uranus loves to spring on us ~ undertaking major moves, suddenly changing stable relationships, and the demand to be a more authentic ME. You’ll find ways to rediscover your inner-teenager, be introduced to some new technology, and receive suggestions on how to work with rather than against yourself as you evolve and grow. Healing therapies are suggested to calm the lightning-fast physical energy and emotional overload that can overwhelm. In the media section, you’ll gain access to online astrological education through videos and podcasts by some of our finest astrologers who freely share their skills and insights with the astrological community.”  

Sounds exciting!  So have fun and if you find articles particularly applicable to business life, let us all know in the comments.

To review my posts on some of the business faces of Uranus, see the articles in the sidebar at the right.  Here’s one to get you started.

Uranus – Change Agent


Signs of the Times – the for-profit nonprofit

Hello, everyone. 

Have you heard about the new “low-profit limited liability company?”  This new form of organization, enacted in Vermont, blends elements of for-profit and nonprofit corporations. 

Ben and Jerry’s 

The plight of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream is an example of why this is needed.  When a small business gets to the point where additional investors are needed for expansion, one way of raising capital is to become a public corporation.  However, once a public corporation, the key goal of the business becomes maximizing shareholder value.  In other words, anything that can be done to increase the value of the stock, must be done. 

When a European corporation, Unilever, stepped in with an unsolicited bid to buy Ben and Jerry’s for far more than the current value of their stock, the Board was forced to sell or face a potential lawsuit from the shareholders. 

This case highlighted several issues.  Ben and Jerry’s, as well as many other small businesses, had a philanthropic purpose as well as a financial purpose.  However, once a business takes on outside capital, the shareholders can decide whether or not the philanthropic goals can be pursued.  Yes, Unilever agreed to continue to give 7.5% of Ben and Jerry’s profits and to fund the Ben and Jerry Foundation with an upfront $5MM as part of the deal.  But what happened to the other social principles, like BHT-free milk and fair trade practices with Mexican and Brazilian farmers? 

Vermont steps in 

Vermont, the home state of Ben and Jerry’s, recognized the need for a form of organization that would meet the current social enterprise trend in the business world: philanthro-capitalism, venture philanthropy, green technology, and fair-trade practices, to name a few examples of this trend.  This hybrid model, the L3C, applies to companies formed for charitable or educational purposes, but it can generate profits for the owners as long as those profits are not “a significant purpose” of the company.  

However, there is no sanction against profits, even significant profits.  And since it is based on the Limited Liability Company model rather than corporate law, there are no stringent laws pertaining to the buy/sell decisions of the owners. 

It remains to be seen how this initial statute will morph as other states take it up and as the public begins to use it.  There is also the issue of the IRS and how they will regard the entity.  But I think it is an interesting example of the times: 

  1. With Pluto in Capricorn, traditional forms of business that no longer serve are breaking down, and new forms are emerging.
  2. With Neptune in Aquarius, the rights of people to transact business as they wish without interference from government or shareholders, has gained strength.  Connections between for-profit and not-for-profit organizations are being formed and distinctions between the entities are blurring and merging.  And entrepreneurs are recognizing more and more their individual responsibility to the whole.
  3. With Uranus in Pisces, we see innovation to overcome the mature stage in the business life cycle where shareholders and the public have more power than the original owners.  We see a movement toward collaboration with other forms of business, such as foundations and non-profit entities.
  4. With Saturn in Libra, we see the support of the law to implement structures of partnership, fairness, and balance.  Saturn in Libra bridges two independent entities, making a stronger prototype through a hybrid entity. 

A step in the right direction, I’d say.  What do you think? 

For further reading on this subject, check out the Neptune in Aquarius, Saturn in Libra, and Uranus in Pisces categories at the right.  Here are some other related posts:

Business life cycle – mature stage

The Globalization of Ben and Jerry’s

Vermont Secretary State – L3C

Don’t forget. If you have an astrology-related business question (or a business-related astrology question) send it to me at I’ll answer it in these posts, anonymously of course, and we can all learn from each other’s experiences. I look forward to it! Have a question now? Email it and let’s get started!

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Seven Classic Skills for Innovation

A personification of innovation as represented by a statue in The American Adventure in the World Showcase pavilion of Walt Disney World's Epcot.(Source:Wikipedia)

A personification of innovation as represented by a statue in The American Adventure in the World Showcase pavilion of Walt Disney World's Epcot.(Source:Wikipedia)

Hi, everyone.

I’ve been doing a lot of research lately on innovation.  I’ve been interested in this because Uranus, the planet that represents innovation, is moving from Pisces into Aries next year.  I’ve often found if I can thoroughly understand the present, I can usually predict the future. So I’m committed to understanding what has unfolded in business innovation in the last seven years so I can advise my clients about what to expect when Uranus moves into Aries.

One of the books I’ve been studying is Rosabeth Moss Kanter’s SuperCorps:  How Vanguard Companies Create Innovation, Profits, Growth, and Social Good.  Moss Kanter outlines seven classic skills for innovation and I thought I’d restate them in astrological terms.  See if you resonate more with one or another.

1.     Tune into the broader context:  see needs and opportunities through firsthand experience with the wider world

What’s wrong in our world?  What needs fixing?  Some of the best ideas come from firsthand experience, situational awareness, of the world beyond the borders of our businesses.  To increase this awareness, some companies send their employees into actual customer situations.   Proctor and Gamble sent a high-ranking manager to live with a low-income family with two babies for a week to get a feel for the real lives of their Brazilian customers. 

In astrology, a strong Jupiter influence indicates a leader who wants to explore alternate ways of being, thinking, living, and learning – someone who can recognize need and opportunity.

2.     “Kaleidoscope thinking”:  turn conventional wisdom on its head and find creative approaches that let a new pattern form

I love this image, “kaleidoscope thinking”, don’t you?  Where you take all of the factors and everything you think you know about them and then splinter them into new pieces to let a new pattern emerge.  Sounds like taking the wisdom of the known (Saturn) and putting it through the looking glass of innovation (Uranus) and creativity (Neptune).

3.     Articulate a compelling vision:  formulate an idea people can believe in and sell it effectively

Sometimes a compelling vision comes from deep in the leader’s creative heart (Neptune) and sometimes from the ground up, from the people around us (Uranus).  Formulating it into an idea (Mercury) that engages people at their core (Neptune), we then need to communicate well and effectively (Mercury).

4.     Build a coalition of committed backers and supporters:  engage stakeholders whose support is necessary to move forward

This point is about keeping everyone with an interest in the project up to date and informed at every step of the way.  Dropping that email to a colleague, reporting on progress to a potential client, building a relationship with a blogger who can let their contacts know what’s coming.   And often you don’t know which supporter will be important at some step in the future, so the impetus must come from a genuine sense of inclusion.  Stakeholders, backers, supporters, these are all represented by the Moon and all that communication takes a strong and active Mercury.

5.    Develop and support the working team:  motivate people to work hard for a common goal 

Where does the common goal come from?  It may come from the leader (the Sun) but these days it is more and more a product of the working team, through their deep understanding of the needs of the end user, the customer.  And how do you develop and motivate the team?  Development comes from training and exposure (Jupiter) and motivation is a process of understanding and meeting people’s needs (Moon) and aspirations (Mars).    

As Moss Kanter says, “A vanguard company is only as good as its leaders’ ability to attract, motivate, and retain skilled people and enable them to self-organize and collaborate.” 

6.     Persist and persevere through the difficult middle stages when innovation is still fragile

Many innovative ideas are hatched in a piecemeal fashion and it’s not until they are implemented that fundamental challenges are uncovered.  When persistence and perseverance (Saturn and Mars) are working together there is willingness to keep on keeping on until all of the underlying issues are exposed (Pluto) and resolved.

7.     Celebrate success by making everyone a hero

This is where the leader steps aside and celebrates everyone in the organization.  And that means everyone.  Celebration of each milestone is extremely important to everyone in the company and fosters a spirit of ongoing innovation and enterprise.  Celebrating (Jupiter and Venus) all of the workers (Moon) leads to creative innovation.  You never know where the next inspiration will come from! 

Did any of these classic skills resonate more with you than others?  It may be you have more of that planet’s influence in your chart.  Keeping all of them in mind and working on developing one or two will keep innovation fresh in us and in those around us.

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Uranus in Pisces – Cisco Systems


AUDIO VERSION:  Uranus in Pisces – Cisco Systems Audio File

Cisco Systems is a name we all know, but few of us know exactly what they do.   During the dotcom boom Cisco was the supplier of most of the gear that guides data through the internet, like switches and routers.  In March 2000 it was considered the most valuable company in the world. Then during the dotcom bust in 2001 much of its stock market value was lost.  In the last seven years, it has responded not only by diversifying its businesses but also reworking its organizational model to meet the new realities of today.

Branching out

A company in the Mature Stage of the business life cycle,  by 2001 Cisco’s core business had already peaked and would never again reach the annual average growth rates it once had.  So the company has developed a strategy to move quickly into new businesses, businesses that can capture the higher rates of growth that are expected at an earlier point in the business life cycle.  This branching out has become institutionalized in the company culture in the last seven years.

The company calls new areas of growth “market adjacencies”.  The CEO of Cisco, John Chambers, gives an interesting clue for this kind of diversification.  Of the thirty or more market adjacencies the company is exploring and investing in, he says he hopes that at least half will be successful.  (Clue #1 for small businesses:  don’t expect everything you try to pay off.)

Cisco’s biggest current bet is on video communication, which it believes will increase tenfold by 2013.  (I believe so too, with Neptune moving into Pisces in 2011, but that’s a different post.)  And Cisco’s not waiting passively by for someone else to develop the technology.  It is planning to push its own video communication tool, TelePresence, into homes, and give “match-day experience” in people’s living rooms. 

Cisco’s TelePresence utilizes high-definition screens, spatially sensitive microphones, custom video-processing technology and networking equipment.  Cisco already uses the TelePresence technology at an impressive rate in its own business, turning videoconferences into approximate face-to-face meetings, 5,500 times a week.  These updated, upgraded videoconferences offer the nuances of body language and tone of voice, allowing coordination and cultivation of relationships among employees across the globe.

“Welcome to the human network”

In addition to and really more fundamentally innovative than diversification into adjacent business lines is Cisco’s restructure of its management process.  Cisco has continually restructured internally, first operating in divisions according to lines of business, then changing to a functional structure.  (The company has a Sun/Uranus conjunction in its chart which indicates its leaders, symbolized by the Sun, are engaged constantly with change, Uranus.) 

Now Cisco has developed an elaborate system of cross-functional committees to bring new products to new markets.  Some of these committees function without a formal leader although there is documented “replicable processes” for how groups are set up and how decisions are made.  Jay Galbraith, a noted management consultant, calls Cisco’s system a “culture of collaboration”. 

There have been drawbacks to this though.  Some people can flourish in a structure like this; lone wolves, as talented as they may be, cannot thrive, and loss of talent ensues.  A fifth of Cisco’s leadership has left the company. 

But Uranus in Aries is coming!

So what do we see here, from an astrological point of view?  This is an excellent example of a company using innovation (Uranus) during the mature and transitional stage of the business cycle (Pisces).  Natural Pisces attributes abound in the story:  diversification to deal with new market forces, committee leadership, and collaboration, as well as global connection, dissolution of structures, termination of hierarchies.

And the risks to this strategy?  If I were their astrologer I would tell them, good job!  You used the Uranus in Pisces time well, taking the last seven years to restructure your business innovatively, both in products and internal culture.  But Uranus in Aries is coming!  The innovation during the next seven years will come through the start-up phase, of the business cycle, from the efforts of the entrepreneur, the lone wolf that you just forced out.  The committee/matrix structure will not lead to ongoing innovation.  And the diversification strategy which worked so well with Uranus in Pisces will need to find a single overriding focus as Uranus moves into Aries during the next year.

Over the next two years, we’ll watch Cisco as we go through the transition between Uranus in Pisces to Uranus in Aries.  My hunch is that the current management will not be able to be weather the shift in focus under the weight of all those committees.  They will be forced to segment the company into smaller units to retain innovation and competitive edge.

We’ll wait and see…

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