The Earth, Wind and Fire School of Management

A meeting over coffee this morning started on the subject of IT consultancy, and somehow drifted into astrology. I still place myself in the camp which says ‘1 in 12 people can’t all have the same type of day’; but it made for intriguing conversation nonetheless.
One thing which really struck me was the notion of air, fire, water and earth (in that specific order). At the top of the management chain are the air people, who waft around from topic to topic. They call it strategy, vision, whatever. Everyone else calls it something quite different. The fire people sit one level down, taking the air people’s ideas and generating heat and passion around them. But they need water people to carry those ideas out to the earth people at ground level.
Looking back, a surprising amount of my career experience fits that formula. Most of my bosses have been ‘airheads’. 😉 And for my most successful projects, I can identify the ‘water’ person who helped my work flow down to the more earthy folks. (I can think of a few which failed due to the lack of such a person, too.)
None of which should be taken as a value judgment, in any way. Just as the ancients believed life was made up of those four elements, maybe we need all four elements – in that specific order – to make a successful project. Just a thought.