Business aligns with astrology to match staff

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NANCY REAGAN was famous for consulting hers, and the Princess of Wales reportedly never made a move without taking advice from one. But now the world of business is using astrology before making crucial boardroom decisions.

Bosses are renowned for making choices based on facts and figures, and in an area where the bottom line rules it seems unlikely that companies would turn to the stars before appointing new members of staff. But a new website to be launched tomorrow claims it can warn businesses of trouble in the boardroom by matching executives according to their astrological compatibility.

YAS Corporation says it could have predicted the fallout between Alan Sugar, the former chairman of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, and Terry Venables, then his chief executive.

By looking at people's birth dates the company produces detailed character analysis and at Spurs it would have predicted "constant friction, if suppressed" between the two men. The clue is to be found in the alignment between Jupiter on Mr Sugar's chart and Mars on that of Mr Venables.

On a positive note, the partnership between Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, whose working relationship has often been the subject of speculation, "will share common ideas about ethics, politics, and many social values. They will make an excellent business team, especially in any endeavours that require reaching out to the public".

Peter Mackenis, chief executive of the California-based company, said a number of businesses, including a mobile phone operation and a City of London bank, had approached him about the technology.

"Ford never launches a new car without checking the date first, and it is interesting to note that Ford has the Orion, Aries, Taurus and Mercury," Mr Mackenis said.

"It started as a bit of fun when someone showed me the program, and then I ran a few friends and colleagues through it and realised it was exactly right," he said.

"You can have an instant rapport with some people and think they would be good to go into business with, but then you find out that you do nothing but sit about talking about your ideas without actually achieving anything.

``This technology helps you to decide whether you should actually go ahead.

"People are often sniffy about astrology in public when they think someone might hear, but when they can check things out in private they go for it. This tool can just give you an extra edge."

Mr Mackenis said the program's software, known as Seer, is more accurate than star signs because it is based on a person's birth date, which allows it to be more precise than simply using one of the 12 signs of the zodiac.

"We also have a way of predicting how a person's business day will be and whether they should sign that contract or not, and we will be developing group software that will allow a whole department to decide if someone should join their team.

"I think it will be used by venture capitalists and consultants. In the same way that graphology is used increasingly this will be just another tool," Mr Mackenis said.

The site will be free for the first few months while any glitches are ironed out, and after that people will be allowed two free consultations and then be charged pounds 10 for the next.

If all goes according to plan, as of tomorrow you can look up your own boss - on - and find out if he's going to have a good day or whether you should pick up that phone and call in sick right now.


Ruud Gullit, former manager of Newcastle United, and Alan Shearer, Newcastle and England captain

Seer says: "Shearer's ideas of how things should be done may conflict with Gullit, who will probably seem stubborn and imperious to Shearer.

Business partners with the same square [configuration of signs] may find it affects their creative or physical work together and will end up shouting at each other. In this situation if Gullit is the boss he will give Shearer ulcers."

The reality: Shearer and Gullit had repeated disagreements over team matters. Ten weeks ago, after a losing streak that culminated in Gullit dropping Shearer, the Dutchman resigned. Many believe Shearer will eventually become Newcastle manager.

Chris Evans, former Radio 1 breakfast show presenter,

and Matthew Bannister, former controller of Radio 1

Seer says: "They will stimulate each other into thinking big, but they will not be able to work together because Bannister will be too restrictive or critical and will always be finding fault or putting a damper on Evans' light-hearted and easy-going manner. This is definitely not good for business."

The reality: Evans walked out on his radio show in 1997 after Bannister refused to allow him to take Fridays off so he could do his television show. Evans had dubbed Bannister "the Fat Controller", and Bannister made it clear that he thought Evans was out of control.

Greg Dyke, new director-general of the BBC, and John Birt, outgoing director-general

Seer says: "They may have to compromise between what Birt wants and what Dyke thinks should be done. Birt will bring out Dyke's intellectual side and they will stimulate each other into thinking big, but they will spend a lot of time in long-winded discussions without reaching any conclusions. There will be confusion in trying to co-ordinate their schedules and appointments, and Birt may unintentionally hurt Dyke's feelings by being overbearing or taking charge."

The reality: The two men will have to work together for the next few months, although Dyke formally started work at the BBC on 1 November, Birt insists he will stay on until the end of March when his contract runs out.