Lean In Goes Global: Cross-Cultural Community and Leadership Circles

In a post on the LeanIn.Org blog, Mana Nakagawa reports that Sheryl Sandburg’s book will be multiply translated. This is more than great marketing — it’s about women’s community building across cultures and within.

This interesting report discusses issues of translation, local problem solving, and strategies for building leadership circles in the locally changing globally fluid world of business.

“Over the next several months, more than twenty international editions of Lean In will be released in countries representing a vast range of the world’s economic, political and cultural diversity—from the United Kingdom to Japan, the Czech Republic to Brazil, Australia to India, China to Israel, and many other places around the world.

From the start, the vision for taking Lean In global was clear: while the book’s core issues are applicable to all women, the details of particular problems and possible solutions had to be relevant to women’s different local contexts.

International publishers and translators were chosen for their understanding of and commitment to women’s issues in their respective countries. A challenge surfaced almost immediately: many languages had no direct translation for the phrase “lean in.” To resolve this puzzle, each translator crafted a title that would resonate with the local audience while still embodying the book’s core message. The title has now been thoughtfully translated for each international edition; the original English phrase also appears on the international book covers, tying these different editions back to Lean In’s central call to action.


Once the spirit of the “Lean In” concept had been translated, the next goal was to make the hard data supporting the book’s conclusions relevant to local readers. Our research supplemented the US statistics cited throughout the book with country-specific data wherever possible. This involved investigation into more than twenty-five different issues – from the percentage of women in corporate leadership positions to data on household divisions of labor and public policies – for more than twenty different countries.”

Read more…

This is more than a great idea, based on personal and professional experience. This initiative shows an attentiveness to detail that is crucial in sharing leadership principles and support and developing workable models to support leaders across and within the very specific cultures we live in.



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