Bottom-up, top-down and happy employees

Cancer 2007

Cancer, a sign associated with the Moon, is the sign of the home and family. Our land, our roots are important to this zodiac archetype. The Moon in a personal horoscope, shows what we need to make us feel nurtured. In business, our office and our sense of belonging to the firm, form part of this group of qualities.

The Moon in a company horoscope will show what the company needs to feel nurtured, to grow. I extrapolate from there and suggest that the Moon will also show the staff culture from bottom-up, as opposed to the management culture from top-down.

If we have a country chart we can use the Moon to ascertain the culture of the ‘people’, as opposed to the government culture.

Who fits?
One of the many problems facing companies today is that of absenteeism. Staff are stressed, ill, unhappy or they just plain leave. It is difficult to attract and keep good staff. This costs companies enormous amounts in loss of work, loss of billable hours, loss of investment in training and time spent for recruitment, which in turn adds to the growing list of managers to-do lists. Would knowing how to make staff happy and feel nurtured make them stay? Or come to work more? And if so how do you ascertain what they need? And how do you fit with your company? Everyone is different right?


Chicago – one of mine.

Yes – everyone is different, and everyone feels nurtured by different things. Do you know what it is for you? What did you mother give you when you were feeling a bit unhappy or sick? Chicken soup? A hug?  A good talking to? Or was she at work feeling guilty? What I needed was FOOD. A Vegemite sandwich worked wonders, perhaps an example of New Zealand’s country bottom-up culture (Moon) which happens to be the same mine (Taurus!)  Indeed everyone needs different forms of being looked after. However in a company there is an overall feeling of what feels good. Companies attract staff based on how they tend to care for their staff. The companies with the lowest absentee records are probably attracting staff whose needs match the company’s way of nurturing.

So I believe it would help to know, understand and use, the bottom-up company (or country) culture to retain staff and keep them involved. What is usually meant by bottom-up is that there is input from the shop floor for company initiatives, or development is driven from the lowest level. The many discussions about bottom-up development, or bottom-up management are still going on after many years. We now talk of employee input or self-managed teams. Individual power and involvement.  Perhaps these are all attempts to keep staff happy, healthy and especially at work.

staff culture

Ok not strictly a sandwich:) wikimedia commons.

Top Down
The bottom-up approach seems to fail in most companies as soon as crises arise. At any management panic, the top-down approach kicks back in and management take all decisions. A top-down approach usually means a goal defined by the board with a hierarchical structure. Although companies give lip-service to employee involvement, in practice this is seldom structurally the case. Strikes are infrequent now but still happen if management get too ‘bolshy’. Mostly the solutions are financial.

But perhaps money isn’t always the answer. How did you feel if you wanted a hug and you got an ice-cream? Or if you wanted an ice-cream and you got a hug? Top-down is fine sometimes, decisions need to be made and leaders must take risks. So they need to have the power of decision-making. But how much easier would it be if the two cultures could act together or at least communicate? There is not always conflict of course. If you want to start a company where management and staff have the same culture, my tip would be to start a company on a New Moon, when the Sun (Management culture) and Moon are together. Oftentimes though, there is a distinct clash.


A grey London from the Shard – another one of mine.

How can astrology help?
In the work I have done in companies I have noticed that the top-down or rather management culture applies at every level. To give an example, an authoritarian board means that middle management will try authoritarian techniques with staff below them, as will team-leaders and so on. So astrology can help identify how this works at every level.

This was very clear in one company I worked with, and I was able to give pointers as to how this archetype could be used positively. The answer to this Capricorn archetype, in their case, is to define responsibilities clearly and to give clarity, otherwise this results in a blaming culture going downwards.

This company, however, has a strongly Aquarian bottom-up or staff culture. This also works on every level. What staff need at every level when dealing with their managers is recognition for their ideas. They are nurtured by being rewarded for their innovation and independence. This makes it extremely difficult for middle-management, who are supposed to be strict with their staff but want to be innovative and even rebellious in a company that is set on having rules and regulations. And where the boss is the boss. The middle managers complained that their staff never do what is agreed or what they are told and at the same time their own hands are tied. Astrology offered a great tool for discussion, but sadly, the management were not secure enough to take on this challenge to solve the problem, as it meant having to look at their own roles.

moon signs

Dali’s 12 zodiac signs.

12 tips to keep staff happy or to find your company

When you know the company moon sign (or your own) here is a taste of the tips that can be given:
Moon in Aries: Staff need to take action, compete and to initiate. A bottom-up scheme could work well.
Moon in Taurus: Staff need security, pensions and health care. Generally, good financial conditions are going to be important.
Moon in Gemini: Staff need to have their say. Communication ideas should be encouraged.
Moon in Cancer: Staff need to feel like they are part of the family, a good canteen or meeting around the coffee machine will be welcomed.
Moon in Leo: Staff need to be recognised and appreciated. They may also like to have the spotlight.
Moon in Virgo: Staff need a sense of order and need to feel they are useful and adding to the overall mission. They need to feel their helpfulness is rewarded.
Moon in Libra: Staff need good relationships and harmony. Working in teams or cooperating with other departments will work well.
Moon in Scorpio: Staff need influence and privacy. They need to feel they are in control.
Moon in Sagittarius: Staff need freedom and probably like travel. The vision of the company will need to be known by staff and education will probably be important.
Moon in Capricorn: Staff will want to achieve and see the next step in their career. Career reviews and  planning would work well as would having structured teams that have defined responsibilities.
Moon in Aquarius: Staff need their ideas to be heard and appreciated. They want intellectual freedom and to do things their own way.
Moon in Pisces: Staff will need room to express creativity. The company needs to have an attitude of helping with global issues.

Faye Blake-Cossar

Interesting website of the month

This TED talk- Shut up and listen isn’t exactly about top-down bottom-up but the lessons are relevant.

Quotes of the Month

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela in 2007 – New York Times blog photo Leon Neal

A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.”


“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”
Nelson Mandela, himself a Cancerian.

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