I once worked in a big corporation in the UK. At one point, I was responsible for multiple tasks, client complaints and my coworkers’ endless inquiries, from the meaning of specific terms in an application to technical issues with their computers. And I loved this job.
I was in a constant rush and, because I forgot how important it was to manage stress and deal with pressure, it took a toll on me. No, I didn’t have a breakdown, I didn’t run away screaming, or quit. I am not a quitter.
One day, under the stress of complaints to resolve and the sense of running out of time I dialed the wrong number and instead of calling one of our clients, I reached the number of a certain services agency which provided pleasure for adults over the phone. Yes, I called a sex line.
Being an honest person, I immediately reported myself to the management after in horror I realized whom I called (the realization took me a while, though). I made people laugh, of course, and probably also became the subject of gossip - basically I became the #1 hit of the day. Fortunately, this was not a disaster costing me my job, but it was a wake-up call, as in: “Wake up, woman, you work under huge pressure, learn to deal better!”
I wasn’t an operations manager and still got to know what working under pressure can do to you. So, if you work as a translation operations manager, you don’t have it easy. I can imagine the pressure of effective delegation of tasks and their execution, dealing with urgent matters, resolving complaints, working on increasing the teams’ productivity and profitability, just to name a few things.
Looking for tips on how to deal with pressure effectively, you can find and you probably have found countless articles like the one by Forbes or this article here. I wish I had read something like that in my old days. They are all good pieces of advice. They, however, cover the generic topic of working under pressure. What about pressure in the LSP business? How can operations managers in the translation and localization industry keep their focus and stay away from trouble?
Apart from following the golden tips from the Internet, like good sleep, playing sports, a healthy diet, reducing cups of coffee from twenty to ten-ish and all that you-know-what, there’s one thing that will not be mentioned there, due to the generic character of these tips.
If you work as an operations manager at a Language Service Provider company, your solution is pretty straightforward but always works: have the right partner for the job. And I don’t mean your own team, I am sure they are perfect. I mean the vendors your company works with.
Having a reliable provider, knowing that no matter the language combination or project your team will receive it on time, makes you able to focus on your daily tasks without the stress that another client complaint is just around the corner.
Relaxed production and project management teams, happy clients, projects delivered on time, on spec, on budget and with required quality, fewer client complaints - all this probably adds up to a good night’s sleep, which then results in your being able to fully focus on your main mission: making the whole process to operate like a clockwork. This is a circle and it can either be a vicious or a perfect one.
To achieve that, all you have to do is motivate your vendor managers to ask the right questions and encourage your project managers not to be afraid of change once in a while.
The beauty of your job is that you are the one who can inspire your team to open up to new ideas, partners and solutions. You can motivate them to be inquisitive about every little detail regarding potential partners and you are the one who then will watch the positive results of decisions made thanks to your insightful approach. Just sit back and watch.
Keep your focus, tame the lion called pressure and relax, you’ve got it.