Let time stand still this summer

By the time you read this my family and I will most likely be on an island deep in the Swedish woods. Being there -  without wifi, electricity and other people - makes me feel as if time stands still. A great opportunity to let my mind wander.

I have spent a lot of the spring writing and I am looking forward to sharing the result with you in the autumn. I hope we can meet at a book release or two and in a webinar about how to free yourself from the faulty notion that "you don't have time".

We all have time. 

For now I will enjoy my time and my life in the warm embrace of summer.

I hope you will too and I am looking forward to being in touch with you again this autumn.

Enjoy your summer!

Me on the island, 2011.


The Beauty of Art - part 10 : The answers

The painting in the Beauty of Art part 10:

is indeed Composition with Red, Blue and Yellow painted 1930 by the Dutch artist Piet Mondrian. The painting is oil on canvas and can be found in Kunsthaus Zürich, Germany.

I did not know Piet Mondrian was Dutch until I lived in the Netherlands and learned more about Mondrian when I passed by a museum with some of his paintings.

It was not that strange that I did not know, since Mondrian changed his name from the more Dutch sounding Mondriaan (double a) to Mondrian to "emphasize his departure from the Netherlands, and his integration within the Parisian avant-garde" in 1911.

Just like we saw in the Beauty of Art part 9the artist had created other paintings in completely different styles before finding the style he became known for. This is one of Mondrian's earlier works:

Willow Grove: Impression of Light and Shadow, 1905

He wanted to create paintings that would express what he called Neo-Plasticism and he was one of the founders of the Dutch modern movement De Stijl.

His most known paintings consisted of white ground upon which he painted a grid of vertical and horizontal black lines and the three primary colors - like in the Composition with Red, Blue and Yellow.

Unlike Carl Larsson, who found the love of his life and stayed together with her until death parted them, Piet Mondrian had a short marriage - only three years long - with Greet Heybroek and after that he never re-married.

He died in peumonia, leaving unfinished paintings behind. I can imagine that is a good time to go for an artist, right in the middle of creating.

As always with art, there are different opinions. Some of you love the art of Piet Mondrian. Lisbeth for instance describes how his art talks to her and makes her want to sing, while the fish art is more like her mother's knitting: beautiful but nothing that appeals to her.

Others expressed that they can somehow understand the beauty of  his art, but that it is not anything they would like to have on their wall at home. Some would like to have his art in their home, if not as a painting than on something else, like a chair.

Heike, who is an artist herself, says that she feels a lot of admiration for Mondrian. She understands  how much courage it takes to choose your own way, stick to it and create something that deviates so much from what has been created before.

Personally I can see the beauty of his art, a great expression of  "less is more". For me, the simplicity I perceive can get in the way of my admiration. So to me it is pretty and clean, but it does not leave me impressed.

The work of the fish on the other hand impresses me. I love when I get reminded about the greatness and complexity of our fellow creatures.

Thanks for your participation!


The Beauty of Art - Part 10

I got the idea to this Beauty of Art from a fish. A fantastic fish that shows us how little we understand of nature and its greatness. This fish creates amazing art, and we get to see it thanks to BBC-Earth.

I recommend the 3+ min video if you have not seen it already.

The resulting piece of art is an amazing pattern:

This inspired me to choose a painting based on a pattern for this week's Beauty of Art quiz:

What is the painting called?
Who is the painter?
What type of art is this?
Where can this painting be seen?
How does this painting, and the art by the fish, make you feel?

Let me know your answers / guesses!

A summary of the answers will come in the next blog post.


Be like a bee at work

When I urge you to be like a bee, you probably think I mean you should
Be busy as a bee
Many are busy. Busy managing their inbox, attending all the right meetings and ticking off items on their to-do lists.

Sometimes people keep themselves busy rather than making a difference. Like checking the mail instead of taking on the difficult task that really needs to be managed.

These people are busy doing nothing at all.

That is not at all what I mean when I say you should be as a bee.

What I am referring to, is what bees do in the winter. They gather into a ball of bees to keep each other warm. The ones that are in the outmost layer will be colder than the rest. Here comes the nice part; the task of being in the cold - of being in the outer layer - rotates.

Photo: PaoSan
The bees make sure they take turns doing the hard work. So should we.

Where I work, we do this by limiting the amount of times one person takes on certain tasks. Like task force work that I have handled many times:  intense work to solve a problem that shouldn't have reached our customers in the first place. Or tough transformation projects where a lot of significant data, related to how our customers bill their customers, is moved from one version of a product to another one and absolutely nothing may go wrong.

We ensure these tasks are rotated between people, just like the bees rotate the task of being in the outer layer during winter.

Another thing we can learn from bees, is the way they risk minimize by letting just a few bees go away to find new places to gather nectar. They do not all go away on a whim, leaving the bee hive empty.

Bees make sure the bee society keeps working at the same time as they explore new possibilities. 

Similar to what we do at work when a few persons investigate future technologies and work with innovation and disruption, while the rest make sure the company continues to develop and sell the products that make money today.

One thing that bees do - and that we do too little where I work - is to tell where the nectar is by dancing. The bees come back and dance in 8s. The longer they dance, the further away the nectar is.

The bees communicate by dancing. I would like to see more of that at work. 
To conclude:
this is what I mean when I say we should be like bees at work:

  • Taking turns doing the hard work
  • Let some colleagues investigate the future possibilities while the others make the most of the current ones
  • Use dancing as communication. That will be a lot more fun than the standard power point presentations.