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Sunnyside Post

Stories, news, ideas and opinions

Lost in Translation

18 November 2020

The world is increasingly becoming a global village. Very few regions remain remote and unconnected one way or another. The internet has shrunk the village even further such that a kid in a village somewhere near the Machu Pichu in Peru or Fiji or Congo may have the same enthusiastic fandom for the English football clubs that some kid somewhere in England may have, all because of technology. However, despite all this, those kids will not experience the same intensity and knowledge that the kid in England might have because of the sum of his experience which may be deeper than mere a broadcast of a match.

Understanding this is crucial for successful teamwork. You may be the senior most person in the room, the most experienced or even the one with the greatest ideas and the most talented. However, your communication or campaign efforts can easily miss opportunities or grind to a halt with one misstep by ignoring local knowledge.

Not all campaigns are created equal. When a team is willing to listen to those with the sum experience of local knowledge, introducing new ideas customized with local context can produce big wins. The people see themselves in the stories, in the issues and see how they can become part of the solution rather than the problem. However, if say a team leader or the “expert” head ignores local knowledge, however good an initiative is, it may suffer rejection blows as the local communities may fail to embrace the new ideas. In some cases, it may not be rejection but misfires that happen because of lack of local knowledge which may result in missed opportunities.

Openness to ideas, no matter where they have come from is key to building successful teamwork. Even experts get it wrong sometimes.

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