I don’t know how many tasks are in a project plan to launch a rocket into space, but launching an online community must have nearly as many. With a week to go before our October 3rd (est. 8:00PM Eastern Time), the list of “to do’s” is still substantial. Yeah, it ain’t rocket science, and we’re not launching any human beings into space, but we are launching thousands of Kronos customers and hundreds of partners into a new support community to collaborate, get answers, and launch ideas of their own.
Time to get back to work on the launch, but here’s a community tour storyboard (Password – communitycloud) I put together to give you a feel for what community will be like.
T-Minus 7 days… All systems are go.
This week I received an email titled The 7 Reasons Seeing Theater is Good for Your Career. It’s an interesting take. I’ve seen some great shows over the years starting with “Beauty and the Beast” back in 2001 with my kids. Come to think of it, theater does occasionally come up in business small talk. Anyway, the Disney theatrical adaptations have driven much of my attendance over the years, and my son loves musical theater. Just last night he dropped a hint about “Wicked,” probably his favorite. I believe it’s coming back to Boston.
Witch brings me to our CEO. As Ursula the Sea Witch sings in “The Little Mermaid,” “the boss is on a roll!” Rather than editorialize, I’ll just provide the facts, ma’am. Read ’em and you’ll understand how our CEO contributes to our culture, employee engagement, and resulting business success.
- “Corner Office” feature in the New York Times
- Top 20 CEO on Glassdoor
- Just this week, named 2016 CEO of the year by the Mass Technology Leadership Council
“Together we’re unlimited
Together we’ll be the greatest team
There’s ever been”
– Defying Gravity from “Wicked”
The working title of this this post was “10% Mindfullyer,” but I’m pretty sure mindfullyer isn’t a word. The whole “mindfulness at work” is a growing thing at companies like Google, Target, and General Mills. I mean, you’ve got to be mindful when you’re making Cheerios for millions.
I’m on my own little journey to better insight and mindfulness. One guy doing a great job helping to promote meditation as more “mental exercise” than “woo woo” new-age phooey is ABC journalist Dan Harris. His book 10% Happier is a great read. I’m now onto a book by “Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction” guru, Jon Kabat-Zinn titled “Full Catastrophe Living.” It’s a slower go than 10%, but it has revealed a few gems on the benefits of mindfulness. Here’s one:
“Even the tiniest manifestation of mindfulness in any moment might give rise to an intuition or insight that could be hugely transforming.”
In other words, pay attention, especially at work. In a meeting? Get off your phone. Close your laptop. Webinar? Stop multitasking. Pay attention. Listen. As the great mindfulness philosopher Ferris Bueller once observed, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
Here’s a “Talks at Google” video of “Real Happiness at Work” by Sharon Salzberg, the Godmother of meditation in the US. We’re doing it at Kronos, too. I missed the first monthly session because of our community user acceptance testing, but I’m looking forward to the future “sits.” (that’s what they call them in the mindfulness biz). If you want in, you can come work at Kronos and if you’re interested in the “woo-woo,” check out this quickie video by Mr. Harris and Ms. Salzberg on meditation for beginners.
I began to notice it on Friday night. Whenever my eyes would close, I’d see this “after image” still sizzling on my rods and cones. After tearing hundreds of crabgrass plants by hand in preparation of planting new grass, my photoreceptor cells, hands and back just couldn’t shake the experience. After 4 days of it across my third of an acre, on Sunday I was finally able to mow it low, spread some new topsoil in the bad spots, then walk the balance of 21,346 steps to lime, fertilize, seed, and roll.
I won’t go so far to say the weeding was Zen-like, but there was a peacefulness to crawling that ground with hand spade and rubber bucket, and yeah, it was satisfying to feel those tentacled creatures rip from the ground.
Today we begin our internal “weeding” of the Kronos online community to seek and destroy the weeds (and bugs) that would hinder the experience of our customers, partners and employees when the site goes live less than a month from now. Here is a sneak peek at the home page:
- Topics – Topics help community visitors easily find the content they are looking for. The community uses “tagging” to assign topics to content. For example, content (Q&A, discussions, knowledgebase articles, documentation) associated with Workforce Timekeeper would include, at a minimum, the tags #Workforce Central and #Workforce Timekeeper. “Featured Topics” are a nice visual way to put important topics front and center.
- Get Answers – Community visitors can search for answers, and if their question (or one like it) has been asked, it will be returned in their search results along with answers provided by registered customers, partners, and Kronos employees. Only registered users may submit new questions or answer questions. “Get answers” also allows a questioner to select the “best answer” to their question.
- Documentation – All product documentation will be accessible in community as it is today in the customer portal. Some product documentation will be available without logging in.
- Discussions – This is similar to a Facebook feed. Discussions will often take place in “groups” that registered users may join depending on their interests. We expect our groups at launch to be based on product platforms (Workforce Central, Workforce Ready, etc.), industries (Healthcare, Manufacturing, Retail, etc.), and even some existing customer and partner groups.
- Ideas – Have an idea for a new product feature? As a registered user, you can submit it in the community! If you discover the idea already exists, you can vote on it and discuss it!
- Learn – Here you’ll find links to all things education and training, including a direct link right into KnowledgePass for those of you with a subscription.
- Services – Get information on Kronos services, including a link to Upgrade Central, where you can get all the information you need for upgrading your non-SaaS products.
Weeding… It’s necessary so the healthy content of the lawn, or in this case, community, has a chance to grow.
Next week I’m grabbing two days with my head in the sand on Cape Cod with my son and grand-daughter. The grand-baby begins third grade on September 1st, and she’s really looking forward to it. The “first day of school” conjures up different emotions from different individuals, even those in the same family. Take this picture of “Mike,” one of my Facebook pals with his two daughters before their first day. Such a juxtaposition of feelings…
Now I’ve got to jump back into work with a team getting schooled on launching our Kronos online community October 3rd, so here’s a Friday filmstrip on how Kronos helps teachers in K-12 school systems “be like Mike.”
I love good sci-fi, and the trailer for the film “Arrival” looks great! In it, Amy Adams plays expert linguist Louise Banks who is enlisted to help communicate with aliens who have dropped in on Earth. One article likens the film to the adaptation of Carl Sagan’s “Contact” that starred Jodie Foster. I can only hope. Or it could just be another movie with stuff blowing up. “Arrival” opens on Friday, November 11th, right before…
Hey, speaking of speaking foreign languages, one of the cool, albeit challenging aspects of working for a global company like Kronos is the variety of languages we communicate with. Our kronos.com website is available in nine languages. The reason I bring this up is because of an email I received in Chinese about KronosWorks. I can’t read it, but I find it interesting and beautiful. KronosWorks opens on November 13th. Plan your arrival.
This week I was doing a little whining… Wait. It wasn’t really whining, it was more like fretting over a project I’m working on with many moving parts, including customers, employees, partners, agile software development, and many unknowns. You know, the “we don’t know what we don’t know” unknowns.
I intended to wrap that up on Monday with the “you get to do this” reminder from my boss. She’s right. It’s a cool project that I’ve wanted to do for years now. Unfortunately, I was not a word generating machine on Monday, because Sunday night I went to Fenway Park to see Pearl Jam, and well, my first foray into Monday didn’t end until about 1:30AM. Anyway, it was my first time seeing the band, but for my friend, Barb, it was 19 or 20. She’s not sure. PJ is family to her. It was an amazing experience, the kind you tuck your phone away (mostly) for. During the 3 ½ hour show, the cameras would pan the crowd where most of the Pearl Jam community were singing every word. I’m embarrassed to admit I knew only about 1/3 of their songs, but back when the band (and I) were younger, I was a member in a different musical community, with its home on an AOL message board called No Depression–Alt.Country. It brought together fans of a musical genre that has produced some great music over the years, and was an online community for sharing the music, the lyrics, the live show experiences, and even tips on how to get great tickets.
There’s a wonderful little history of the “ND board” and what it meant to the guy who started it. He ends the article with this:
“As I tucked my daughters into bed this evening, I wondered who their musical heroes will be. If they are lucky, like me, they won’t necessarily be musicians at all, but a few well-chosen friends whose musical soul mirrors their own and from whom they’ll find acceptance, inspiration and togetherness. Even if it arrives across the internet.”
Now 20 years later, the project my boss is leading, and I’m helping to launch will bring an online community to Kronos customers, partners, employees, and anyone else looking for information about workforce management. My hope is that there they’ll find “acceptance, inspiration and togetherness. Even if it arrives across the internet.”