Reporting Up: How to Prove Your Worth Beyond Words, Turnaround, and Quality
One of the most common questions that we field at CSA Research is the evergreen topic of how to convince doubtful executives to fund language investment at optimum levels. Whether it’s a new CEO facing multiple urgent initiatives or the yearly race for resources, localization managers and directors must approach their function as just another business process that their companies monitor, measure, and improve. Being an effective manager requires winning the contest with other functions for budgets, staffing, and corporate-wide recognition.
Here are four recommendations from our ongoing research related to return on investment (ROI) and globalization maturity to support you in this competition:
- Shift the conversation from cost to return on investment. The change won’t happen overnight. However, our research shows that employing hard data to back up your proposals and ensuring that you, your team members, and your allies communicate a consistent ROI message at every opportunity will turn the tide.
- Align your KPIs and metrics with those of your management chain. Whether your function is overseen by marketing, retail sales, or engineering, the top executive for that group will be measured according to some set of metrics – shared or not – so align yours with theirs. If you have trouble determining what they are, your financial or operations colleagues will probably have a fairly good idea and can fill you in. Map what you can measure to what your executives monitor and then figure out a way to highlight progress on a regular basis.
- Recruit influencers. There are people outside of documented org charts in every organization who have the ear of executives. Identify who they are, recruit them as allies, and provide the data and information they need to help you make your case at all levels of the organization.
- Include your colleagues. A global mandate from on high doesn’t always filter down to the directors and senior managers assigned to the tasks that enable great customer journeys in local markets. If they don’t fully understand how to deliver what is required, ROI data may not be enough to convince them to allot the required resources. Focus on a few managers who are struggling and find a way to get them the training they need. It may be as easy as your team – or your language service provider – conducting a webinar to outline what needs to be done.
Reporting up and out is a fundamental part of a localization manager’s job. View the process as an opportunity to present your team as an essential component for revenue generation to both executives and colleagues. Show how your group provides critical support for company-wide objectives by integrating your KPIs with the same ones that your upper managers are required to meet. Doing so will go a long way to gaining the resources you need to do your part in winning and retaining international customers.
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