Faye Cossar: Cycles of a business, the Company Clock…


The Company Clock by Faye Cossar

 Peter  Senge has been described as a ‘management giant’ and a ‘thought leader’. His book[1] ‘The Fifth Discipline’, has been described as being one that “shook the foundations of business thinking. However the terminology and the ideas of structure that he uses, date back to Plato, in particular his use of archetypes. He says:

“Though experienced managers already know many of these recurring plot lines intuitively, they often don’t know how to explain them. The systems archetypes provide that language.” [2] 

So looking at patterns and structures and even archetypes is seemingly acceptable within business. It was with this in mind that I extended my long study of astrology which uses archetypes, into the world of business for my Master of Arts dissertation. I used an astrological life cycle model for developing an organisational development model, producing my Company Clock.  

 Most organisational development models are linear and end in a straight line, provided the company survives the start-up phase. The only organisational development model I found that comes close to the Company Clock, is the Adizes’ Organizational Life Cycle model, but only in terms of the phases, as it ends in death and is not cyclic.  But companies are made of people and therefore are organic, not just bricks and mortar.  It is logical that companies would follow living organisms and have seasons or cycles. And organisations apparently learn, if one is to believe Senge.

 The company clock model is a cycle based on the Age Progression method by Bruno Huber, A Swiss astrologer renowned for his research into this method. The cycle has 12 phases that follow the order of the zodiac, a cycle always thought to reflect the development of human life. We start at Aries, as a baby and follow through to Pisces, the last sign and also the sign of pre-birth, associated with gestation. And then we go around again. I had seen the benefits of using this method in personal consultations for a very long time and my study showed that it applies very much to companies as well.

 There are twelve phases of six years, making a complete cycle seventy-two years. Huber had his reasons for this number based on natural cycles. In each phase there is a critical point which is based on the Golden Mean, another number reflecting nature.     

 A company starts on the left at zero, using the  incorporation date, and starts a new cycle again at age 72. The symbols are the signs of the zodiac and  reflect the basic qualities of that phase.  The numbers are the critical points in each phase (ages) and are a crisis point, (good or bad) of the nature of the phase. The benefit of  this model is that advice can be given on timing. When should you be doing what in your company and what are the problems you might encounter at the critical points. How can you turn them around? I have applied this model to hundreds of companies and seen managers recognise these phases. Astrology can often give confirmation of what we already know, which can be very helpful in decision making.

 An example of two companies provides a good illustration of how this model (which is described very superficially here), can be used.

Swiss Air was almost 72 when it died. The phase from 66 – 72 is the Pisces phase. A company in this phase should be going inwards and reflecting on its achievements of  the last 72 years. It should be forming new concepts for the future and having new dreams. At 72 a company can have a ‘rebirth’. A whole new strategy after completing one cycle. But Swiss Air didn’t have a new dream. They were trying to hold on to what they had. They hadn’t anticipated the new kid-on-the-block EasyJet. So Swiss Air went into competitive, fighting mode. They got government backing for a block on other airlines. However EasyJet were in the first phase, a competitive Aries, pioneering start-up phase which supports competition and daring. A phase where there is not yet much structure. Where it is ‘all hands on deck’ and where getting an identity is the order of the day. Like a child it is very ‘me’ based. And should be – it is a time to take risks. Many start-up companies don’t make it past the 3-4 year crisis point as the initiators can see that this phase will end and they will have to set up structure and systems. The initiators often get bored. Or there is not enough outgoing activity; selling and risk-taking.

So what happened?  EasyJet launched an attack by offering camping packages to Switzerland, which got around the regulations. The ‘camping’ part was never used and EasyJet  therefore broke into the Swiss market, becoming one factor in the demise of Swiss Air. EasyJet were going with the flow of the natural cycle, Swiss Air were not.                               

 Faye Cossar, heeft als professioneel astrologe  een ruime ervaring in het bedrijfsleven en werkt als adviseur en projectmanager intensief met astrologie binnen organisaties.  Faye ziet astrologie als een belangrijk instrument om vanuit een andere invalshoek antwoorden te vinden op prangende vragen van individu en bedrijf. Sinds 1986 heeft Faye haar eigen praktijk voor astrologie en therapie in Amsterdam. Voor die tijd woonde zij in Londen en Nieuw-Zeeland waar zij haar astrologiestudie begon in de jaren ’70.

More information can be seen at www.juxtaposition.nl . You can also subscribe to the free E-zine at this site. Or make a free half-hour appointment to see the themes of the phase your company is in.

 [1] Senge, The Fifth Discipline, The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization

[2] Senge, The Fifth Discipline, p.94-95.

Over Liz Hathway

Liz Hathway is a British born astrologer currently based in Amsterdam. Liz studied astrology at the Kosmos in Amsterdam, at the Faculty of Astrological Studies in London and with well known horary astrology John Frawley. Liz also holds an MA (with distinction) in Cultural Astronomy and Astrology, from the University of Wales, in Lampeter, and was short-listed for the 2016 Alumni Association MA CAA Dissertation Prize.
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