Here’s an interesting activity we did recently. Last week we attended an educational course on Strategic Leadership by the Leadership Exchange at Enterprise University. The course used a set of cards with skills and competencies that you needed to sort by importance that define successful performance in a particular work setting. This is also known as competency modeling.
Because there were so many competencies to choose from, we had to come up with some rule of thumb by which we would rank traits from critical to important (we didn’t think there were any irrelevant ones). It made us think back on how we look at leading indicators. Leaders can inspire to improve, but only if they work on things that can enable change. The sorting of cards helped us facilitate a discussion on what leading competencies enable other competencies. Communication was high on everyone’s list. Developing Trust is both a result and an input. Trust is earned first and then can enable further growth. So how is this trust earned? And so the sorting began…
This made us think about our promise to help customers with their success. How do we help clients succeed in Global? What traits do we look for when advocating global competency and how can we use our leadership in facilitating change? The model we used by the Leadership Exchange uses 31 competencies organized into 4 distinct areas. We’ll use this assessment to come up with our own assessment of how we can help clients succeed:
When looking at managing client expectations, it’s important to have the adaptability and resilience to ensure the job gets done. However, we should never lose sight of our learning orientation. Each project has learning opportunities. This includes explaining why we do things the way we do and making decisions relevant. It also includes learning from past experience and passing that on to our clients.
We’re in the communication business. If we’re not effective communicators, how to we lead change? We’re also in a “trust” business. Clients essentially hand over important business opportunities to the hands of translators. It’s our job as their vendor to develop trust and gain confidence by consistently deliver in actions and values. This opens up lines of communication to coach and develop talent within the organization who can then lead with global.
Skills that drive action can both be reactionary or proactive. Projects need good time management; sometimes it takes compromising and making tough decisions. However, we also need to keep in mind to always focus on Customer Orientation by seeking input from clients before a job starts. A planned approach can drive results more effectively and the more we are able to delegate and empower clients with knowledge, the better we are able to execute to meet strategic objectives.
A global mindset is a difficult task to accomplish. For this you need to understand the whole picture and how processes affect outcomes. Other skills will have to be tuned in order to accomplished a full understanding. This is probably where leadership is strongest at the vendor side. A Language Service Provider should be ready to help clients by providing innovative solutions, global and cultural acumen and market insight. Once markets become more important, this knowledge becomes part of the strategic decision making process. Clients that are more proactive are able to conceptualize and articulate a clear vision.