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Leading  teams: 4 tactics to consider before creating a Localization strategy

Leading teams: 4 tactics to consider before creating a Localization strategy

Imagine that you have been promoted to Head of Localization, or that as Globalization Lead of a team you have to develop a new  strategy to conquer the next 1 Billion market.... Or perhaps, you moved to recently to a new company and now you have the responsibility to lead the Localization team.

Imagine any of those scenarios ... Which are the first steps you would take to craft your Globalization strategy? Which are the first actions you would would execute as Localization lead?

In this post, I want to reflect on the 4 strategies, on the 4 tactics that we have to execute to implement an effective localization strategy. Are you IN? Well, keep reading that there we go with the first step!

1.- Understand the situation

We have to understand the situation of the company and our team before undertaking any change. How do we do this? Which tools do we have to understand our environment? 

  • SWOT analysis

A SWOT analysis is an incredibly simple, yet powerful tool to help us develop our Globalization strategy, whether we’re building a Loc strategy from scratch or evolving an existing one. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. When we take the time to do a SWOT analysis, we’ll be equipped with a solid strategy for prioritizing the Localization work that we need to do to grow our business. In this link, you have an excellent guide about how to execute a SWOT analysis

  • Am I aligned with my Manager?

Second step to understand the situation is to reflect on the question: “am I aligned with my Manager? The key here is really making sure we understand what s/he expect from us. Having a meeting with our boss and discuss in an honest conversation about expectations is a good course of action. We can move forward the conversation with the following questions.

  • Is my view of what I'm here to do the same as the boss?

  • Am I here to turn something around?

  • Am I here to sustain success?

  • Am I here to accelerate growth?

Click  HERE  to download the infographic in PDF format

Click HERE to download the infographic in PDF format

  • Employee satisfaction surveys

Review (if any!)   employee satisfaction surveys of your company or your team for last quarters. Previous surveys provide insights into our organization culture empowering us to create effective action plans; Study the survey and pay attention to the ratings on the outliers. 

  • Avoid early mistakes.

The writer Michael D. Watkins explains in his bestseller "The first 90 days"  that it is not necessary within the first weeks to implement new ideas, or to make abrupt changes in our teams or our processes.

We have a tendency to demonstrate to our team, to our boss that we are the correct person for the position, that they have not made a mistake by hiring  / promoting us. We want to make an impact and impress everyone as soon as possible. Slow down, not rushing to make decisions in the first days, in the first weeks. We have many years ahead to show our colleagues our worth!! we do not have to undertake sudden changes from the beginning. As Luis Fonsi says ... let's do all this "Des-pa-ci-to". That is the key to developing an effective Localization strategy. We have to take the time to understand the situation

2.- Identify goals

Let's go with the second tactic!, we have done our SWOT, we have aligned expectations with our boss and we have reviewed the previous quarter's surveys. We took the time to get a pretty good idea of how our environment looks like. In this second step, it is time to identify goals in which we will work in the coming months.

There are several questions we can ask ourselves to identify our goals. Questions like:

  • What factors are likely to lead to our desired outcome?

  • What conditions must exist to create that outcome?

  • What tools do we need to achieve our goals?

  • What skills do we need to achieve our goals?

Once we have answered these questions it is quite likely that we have a document full of goals, actions, and ideas.

And this phase is a dangerous one, since it is quite possible that we will end up with a list of full of goals, with a high priority list; and as it's commonly said …" if you have 25 priorities you do not really have any"

Signal vs. Noise: Using KPIs to Improve Localization Ever get lost in data? In this online panel discussion our panelists share how they use data effectively to improve their localization team, which KPIs they are watching carefully, and how to get rid of the noise.

To prioritize the goals we are going to work on in the coming months, a very effective technique that we can borrow from the Agile world is the concept of backlog prioritization. The concept is simple, in a document, or an app or a Trello board or simply on a sheet of paper we are writing down all the ideas, processes that we want to implement, and then we review, reflect, categorize those ideas … and, we take 3, only 3 goals in which we are going to work in the next 3 months. A 90 days plan!

At first, it may seem like little thing to choose only 3 goals from a list full of ideas, it may seem that we make little progress, but if we maintain consistency, in 1 year we will have implemented a dozen actions. It's not bad, right?

3.- Identify metrics

I covered in previous articles here in my blog about Localization metrics and why they are important. .

The key at this phase will be to identify metric (s) that we are going to use to understand if we are approaching to fulfil our objective or not.  A metric basically is our compass to know if we are getting closer to our goal, or if we are slowly deviating. Localization KPIs are crucial to help us understand if we are pointing in the right direction. The KPIs that we define in this step will also be useful to quantifying the business value that our metric has.

More about Localization metrics in this nice SlideShare from Moravia! also if you have an 1-hour maybe you can watch this Webinar from Wordbee where I was invited with other colleagues to discuss Key Performance Indicators of our industry

4.- Individual accountability

If everyone did what they say they are going to do, managers would not be needed

I don't remember where I read this, but I think is super right!!!  The truth is that as (imperfect)human beings we are, there is an important difference between what we say we are going to do and then what we really do. To close this gap between the wishful world and the real world, establishing an accountability culture in our team is crucial. 

And how do we establish team accountability within our team? In my opinion, is through consistency and monitoring frequently where we are. 

Individual accountability starts by having an individual execution plan where each person is explaining how they are supporting the team goals, it contains a list of actions they are working with, and it includes, and this is the most important part of the execution plan, a section to explain who does what by when and the business value of our deliverable. If we manage to establish a culture in our team, and in (ourselves) of accountability, instead of a culture of excuses we will have a high-quality level of execution as a  team! The teams that find a way to do things, instead of looking for excuses about why they cannot do it, in the long run, they have a really spectacular level of impact at a company level.

Once we incorporate these techniques into our Globalization strategy, we’ll be on the fast track to international expansion and we will be creating an impact with our Localization strategy!

What about you?

What techniques have you used to lead teams when you moved to a new company or when you’ve  been promoted to a new Globalization adventure?

Please leave your comments below and like share if you find this info valuable!

Have a great week!


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