Language Barriers and Milestones for a Director in a Global Company (Part 1)

Language Barriers and Milestones for a Director in a Global Company (Part 1)

I will share my shift of thoughts when Money Forward advances its Englishnization and globalization efforts.
Language Barriers and Milestones for a Director in a Global Company (Part 1)

Hello readers

I am Takeda, the Director, Group Executive Officer and Money Forward Business Company COO.

Previously, our Chief Technology Officer Nakade stated in a blog post (Japanese only) that the plans for the Englishnization in our engineering organization will be completed by the end of fiscal year 2024.

I will share my shift of thoughts when Money Forward advances its Englishnization and globalization efforts.

Introduction

First of all, I am not good at English, so there was a time I felt complex.

In my career, there have been several times when I have had to face the waves of English. And I just stood from afar. For so, I once felt miserable in a meeting where everyone was communicating in English. I once got flustered when a foreigner spoke to me in Japanese, I replied in broken English and was laughed at. I have tried to challenge myself to learn English every time I have experienced something like that.

But, nothing improved at all.

However, this time, it will not be the same. The Englishization and globalization of Money Forward's engineering organization is a must to achieve our mission.  Englishization is the first step in globalization, one of the criteria is to gain a TOEIC score of 700 or more. So, with the fact that English will be measured by test scores, my complex reached its peak.

It’s-a-must: Englishization, globalization at Money Forward

Here, I show you a brief overview of Money Forward's situation. Money Forward currently offers over 55 products.

These products always need various improvements, enhancements, and additions to their functions. And we will continue to release new products to achieve our vision of "Becoming a financial platform for all."

Therefore, the development team must become even bigger. The path we chose is to globalize the organization. We want to become an organization where members from all over the world, not just Japan, can thrive.

So, of course, I agreed to this initiative.

By the way, this Englishization is applied with a limit to the engineering organization. However, it does not mean I can not continue my role if I am not proficient in English and don’t work directly with engineering teams. We have set it as a company-wide compass and are taking on a big challenge.

I thought that if I ran away or cheated, I wouldn't be able to face the engineers properly. The number of situations requiring English was steadily increasing.

"Regardless of job type, English is a must for executives," or

"Executives should be able to achieve a TOEIC score of about 700 within a year."

When we first started to use English in our engineering organization, I would get annoyed every time I heard casual exchanges like those.

The more I felt like me and my work was being denied, the more I fell into the dark side. So dramatic, right? (laughs).

Progressing Englishization, increasing number of global members, determined executives

Global members are joining us regardless of my flaws.

In August 2018, Money Forward Vietnam Co., Ltd. was established as the first Money Forward Group company outside Japan with a headquarters in Ho Chi Minh City and a second hub in  April 2022, in Hanoi.

And now, we are seriously preparing a development base in India as our second overseas base after Vietnam. Nakade, our director and CTO, is currently in India.

We currently have members from over 30 countries and regions active in our group. (From Talent Forward Strategy 2024)

As a result, more than 40% of our MFG's engineers is non-Japanese members.

Conflict and turning points

In the summer of 2022, I only had 3 options for my English goal. There are three options.

  1. Completely goodbye English
  2. Quit my job
  3. Make up my mind and study English

After 2 months of serious consideration and worrying, I finally chose option 3

So I started studying English. It didn't bear fruit immediately and wasn't fun. My English was even behind the translation technology. So I made myself up with "I have to do it, or I'll be ruined" and just faced English. To be honest, self-improvement was a self-inflicted wound.
But one day, something happened that brought about a big change in my feelings about English. It was ....

~~~~ Please stay tuned for Part 2 ~~~

 

 

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