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Busy-ness is the new lazy-ness. How to build a culture of accountability around us.

Busy-ness is the new lazy-ness. How to build a culture of accountability around us.

  • Hola Rodrigo! Hey, how are you doing with the reading of your book (El Principito)? You told me you were going to read it before Easter week

  • Ah, well, the teacher told us to read it together with the parents during the Eastern break since there are some chapters that are difficult to understand for a 10-year-old child …

  • Hmmm okay, actually what the teacher said is that you read; and then if there are things that you do not understand we do together a re-reading of some chapters while on holidays

  • Oh, well I think it's best that we read it together

  • Not sure about that, I think the best thing is that you read it, that you make the effort to understand it and then we read it together, but you have to do the homework to which you committed ...


This anecdote, this conversation that I had recently with my son made me reflect on the concept of accountability... I think we live in a world where lack of accountability seems to be a very extended mindset. This situation that I relate here with my son is not a situation that I see only at a family level; also in our industry, in my opinion, there is a problem of lack of accountability.

A Globalization/ Localization department because of the nature of the work we do we interact with many teams, both internally (QA teams, Customer Support, Product Development ...) and externally (LSPs, Localization Conference Organizers, Workshop trainers ...) A Localization department in a company has many dependencies to get things done, we interact with many stakeholders, and there will be a series of challenges that we have to overcome to meet our objectives.

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But regardless of what our objectives are, there will be an obstacle that we will encounter. Sometimes it will appear before and others will appear later ... but it will end up appearing ... and that obstacle will be busy-ness.

Busy-ness is the new lazy-ness.

Tim Ferris one of the people I follow most in the digital world (I love his podcast and his ability to ask questions, check out his podcast ) explains his view of busyness in this interview

Seth Godin, the marketing guru, also reflect on this concept. Seth is a prolific author, he has written 18 books (my favorite one is Linchpin, check out HERE my summary of the book) and he has a point when he says that nowadays laziness is related to fear, to avoid emotional efforts….

Seth Godin - from his  amazing micro-blog

Seth Godin - from his amazing micro-blog

This topic of busy-ness and accountability ... whether I analyze it through the lens of Tim Ferriss, or Seth Godin lens or mine, the truth is that Busy-ness on the wrong things is a kind of lazy-ness. I see that very often, not only in me but in those around me.

How can we get out of this trap of the false sensation of busy-ness/lazy-ness?

One possibility is to focus our energy on the areas that are really going to have a positive impact on the company, on our teams, on our personal development.

For example, it may be tempting to work on an initiative to test which keywords are more effective in different markets (more about ASO HERE), or maybe we are embarking on a project so that our app/software is translated into Arabic….It is even probable that we have the project underway! that we have joined the marketing team and have their "promise" to initiate contacts with local partners to prepare the PR campaign in EMEA. Perhaps we also have the engagement of the developers to prepare the UI in LTR mode. It is quite likely that we have the commitment of our legal team to make sure that from a legal point of view we are ready for our landing at the Middle East...

Everything looks good! We have the commitment of all our stakeholders, including the buy-in of our internal team!

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Everyone is onboard and aligned to launch us to conquer the Arab market. Yay!

And then… the ghost of busy-ness emerges, the ghost of lack of accountability materializes, and suddenly all the good words and good intentions disappear, everyone is busy and the demon of lack of accountability appears. This reflection is the seed for my post this week ...

  • How can we establish a culture of accountability in the Localization industry?

  • How can we make being accountable the norm and not the exception?

  • In short, how can we hold accountable the people with whom we interact?

Patrick Lencioni gives us a couple of ideas that I consider quite useful and powerful in his book The Five Dysfunction of a team (check our here my summary).

I have personally tried a couple of them and they work! So as sharing is caring keep reading below!

  1. Publication of Goals and Standards - if we publicly declare exactly what the team/stakeholder plans to achieve, then, this will enable the Localization team individuals to easily hold everyone accountable, and also make our stakeholders accountable because public commitment is powerful. We do not like to be exposed publicly explaining why we did not do what we agreed to do.

  2. Simple and Regular Progress Reviews - this approach is an easy way to maintain accountability. By regularly checking with one another on both progress, performance, and behavior, a Localization team / Localization Manager is able to assess where we are in terms of progress.

Nowadays we are living in a moment where busy-ness is shown as a badge, and we show that badge with proud; "hey, I'm busy, I'm an important person ", but actually I believe that's a wrong mindset, being busy is often an excuse for not achieving results.

It's important that we manage our energy, and to manage our energy we need to learn to establish a culture of accountability. If we do not manage to establish a culture of accountability within our team, around our stakeholders, we are going to be swamped with many different tasks we have to do that they bounce back to us.

If we allow justification of busy-ness over producing results then we will struggle to position ourselves as strategic partners within our organizations.

And let's keep in our minds that if there's the smallest gap between our expectations and the results, people are going to find a way to pass that problem over the fence to us. So we need to very careful and push back any attempt at justifying and applying one of the basic rules of management to establish a culture of accountability:

 Who does what by when and what's the deliverable?

Which are your thoughts around this topic? Do you agree with gurus such as Tim Ferriss or Seth Godin that busy-ness is the new lazy-ness? Do you see these behaviors in your environment? Do you use this excuse yourself?

I would love to hearing your thoughts and personal experiences around these topics, and if you have also some advice about how to build a culture of accountability please do share below!

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 That’s all for now, going back now to read “El Principito” with my son, clearly I have failed to establish a culture of accountability within my family! 😅

I’ll keep trying!

Have a great week!

@yolocalizo

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