There are a couple common pathways to client-side leadership in localization. One path may be to start at a localization vendor and shift to a client-side role, working up to leading a globalization team. For those of us who grow up in Localization, we stretch when learning how to be effective in our company. For example, how the company functions, its culture and norms and how localization fits into the business strategy. Our core DNA – or first language – is localization.
Another typical path can seem less organic, but is also common. You may demonstrate leadership and make sound business decisions in your current role, such as program, content, or product management, or come from another group, such as engineering or marketing. You have your company’s DNA in your spirit – it’s your first language – and your strong performance has gained the company’s trust, so they ask you to take on globalization leadership. You stretch to learn this industry, how to build and manage a globalization program and implement best practices in a new field.
Global Guild founder Loy Searle has mentored people from both paths.
“If a company is focused on something other than globalization, like software development, banking, entertainment or government, people in globalization roles can find themselves in a niche function that brings a feeling of isolation and loneliness. These people especially need support and tips on how to better argue their case or get what they need for their departments,” Searle said.
This is where Global Guild’s mentoring groups can help.
For example, one leaders’ group, comprised of people new to a globalization role or to the industry, as well as industry veterans, creates a safe space with a network of peers focused on collaboration, skill development, and knowledge sharing
“The first thing the groups do is to create a list of discussion topics, which are ranked by interest,” Searle said.
The list includes topics to explore, such as how to know if you’re getting quality translations, what the client-side responsibilities are regarding quality, and what tools or technology processes should be used. Groups dig deep into how to determine what should be done in-house vs. outsourced, automating processes and finding solutions for workflow gaps.
“Everyone is challenged, especially on the client side,” Searle said. “If you’re new to a leading a team, there are big responsibilities, such as making a case to management about budget, resources, and technology. Individuals share challenges as well as their best practices and successful techniques for the benefit of others in the group.”
Searle stresses that while the groups share challenges and collectively brainstorm improvements, each group maintains strict adherence to NDAs and confidentiality.
“While there is an opportunity to share deeply and really dig into an area, for example, quality measurement, reviewers, vendor reviewers, scorecards, etc., it is forbidden to share corporate secrets,” Searle said. “We do not discuss protected IP, trade secrets, rates or pricing.”
Every meeting offers an opportunity to gain new insight and leave with actionable intelligence. Searle recalled that after a recent meeting, a member said the group helped her find a way to help an employee who was frustrated about quality and complaining without offering a solution. The member gained insight from the group that enabled her to recommend both ownership and measurable quality program actions. The member now had a clear path to help solve this issue.
“A key part of the groups is not only to find friendship and rapport,” Searle said. “This will come naturally over time. The point is to pull good ideas and practices out of the group so everyone can benefit and identify the risky practices that someone might not be able to see for themselves – the hidden gotchas or ideas.”
While the individual members are geographically distributed, the groups meet via video conference within compatible time zones on Fridays. The time slots are set up to accommodate what is usually a quieter day and time for most people. The current leaders’ group, which is accepting new members, is scheduled Friday mornings – a friendly time for the Americas and western Europe. This geographic distribution also brings a world mind-set that is familiar in the globalization industry, but can still be unusual within some corporate cultures.
New groups are continuing to form, each comprised of different demographics. Searle foresees forming new groups consisting people from different business functions who aspire to become globalization leaders or directors, as well as a Program Management group. Searle also plans a mixed leadership group with people from both the client and vendor sides of the industry to promote better insight, communication and best practices.
“Understanding between the vendor and client sides is a gap in our industry,” Searle said. “Clients don’t always understand what vendors do or the challenges they face, and vendors may not always know what clients do, the many internal customers they work with and the obstacles they face.”
Could you benefit from joining a peer mentoring group to learn globalization best practices, strategy and leadership or sharpen your management skills?
Find out for yourself how a Global Guild mentoring group could help you and further your career.
How? It’s easy: Slots are still available in the leadership group. Sign up on the website here: https://globalguild.net/sign-up/