Check Your Company's Aura
by Shirleen Holt
Something was wrong at Michael Baekboel's shipping company. Productivity was down, profits had dropped 15%, morale was in a slump and one employee in particular was sucking the life out of him.
So Baekboel hired a new brand of business consultant: a psychic.
I learned I was a die-hard people pleaser, that I had conflict avoidance and that I have to create boundaries.
Baekboel may be one of the few executives to admit that he consults with clairvoyants, but he isn't alone. Business readings, as they're called, are one of the few growth sectors in this shrinking economy. Managers or nervous workers are seeking psychic advice on everything from business strategy to creating the perfect job.
Psychic Horizons in San Francisco recently launched a program for corporate readings. Gotmarketing.com included psychic Imara on its list of experts. And in the lobby of San Francisco's Triton hotel, guests can get a tarot card reading almost any night of the week.
Even traditional consulting firms are seeking the psychic perspective. Bonnie Morgan, an intuitive in Marin, Calif., says analysts will ask for her input while preparing reports for their clients.
It's another way of knowing and seeing, says Helen Lee, who specializes in corporate readings for Psychic Horizons. "It's giving people information on another level." That information could be anything from sensing a troubled partnership to "seeing" why a supplier is continually behind schedule.
Corporate executives and psychics may seem like strange bedfellows, but their sensibilities are closer than we think, says Lee.
"The more successful [the executives] are, the more they recognize this type of information. They're bottom-line oriented. It's not that they believe in it, it's does it get results?"
Perhaps, but the paranomal is still controversial enough that few CEOs will acknowledge it publicly. Joe Firmage had to step down from USWeb after he announced his beliefs in space travel and extraterrestrials. Dean Rudin, a respected psychologist who is looking for a scientific basis for psychic phenomena, got fired from the University of Las Vegas-Nevada when his work started drawing media attention.
Although business books are rife with spiritual principles, they're packaged into the language of success. Anthony Robbins' techniques on achieving personal power are the same as New Age "creative visualization" exercises -- yet palatable for the MBA set. And legendary CEOs like Jack Welch and Herb Kelleher credit much of their managerial skill to simple gut instinct, the masculine form of intuition.
What's helping psychic consulting come out of the closet may be the pedigree of the psychics themselves. Imara is a former marketing executive with an MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management. Laura Hopper, founder of Psychic Horizons, is a former investment banker. And Lee, who works with Hopkins, is a corporate lawyer with degrees from Yale and Stanford.
Few business psychics claim their psychic readings actually tell the future; it is, after all, subject to change, they say. Instead they examine probabilities by "seeing the energy" surrounding people, organizations or ideas. Lee looks at whether the company puts its mission statement into practice; if the principals are running scared; if communication problems may be threatening the organization's health.
So does "intuitive data," as psychic readers call it, work? Rudin, whose Boundary Institute now studies the subject, says some research supports the notion. He cites experiments in which people who believe in a sixth sense scored better on average than skeptics in predicting which card would come up.
To business believers, the results speak for themselves.
Michael Baekboel's reading, which focused as much on him as it did the organization, caused him to change his management style. He laid off the problem worker, set benchmarks for productivity and let it be known to the staff that they were accountable for their own performance. It worked.
"Whether that's because my consciousness shifted or the placed shifted, I don't know. It got results."
• Reading People From the Inside
• Practical Intuition
• I've Got a Feeling