Communication

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Technical skills alone cannot take you to the next height

…I’d been a technical professional since the turn of the new century up until I decided to become a trainer in 2007. Between 2000 – 2005, I worked as a researcher for an international research organization. I also worked as a production operator and then a software engineer for a multinational corporation between 2005 – 2007.

These great opportunities gave me chances to work with so many outstanding technical professionals. The majority of these technically superb professionals, though experienced in their field of studies, they struggled to continually advance in their career and climb the corporate ladder due to lack of certain soft skills.

Many technical professionals in accounting, medicine, engineering, math, science, IT, and so on over depend on their technical abilities, and thus, give minimal attention toward improving their soft skills on a consistent basis. They assume that the technical skills that brought them thus far would take them to the next height. Marshall Goldsmith disagrees. He argued, What got you here won’t get you there.”…

 

Taken from page 131 of the book ‘Soft Skills That Make or Break Your Success: 12 soft skills to master self, get along with, and lead others.’

 

Notes:

1. The print and kindle version of the book will soon be available. Stay tuned.

2. Below are some of the follow-up services Success Pathways will soon start to provide based on the theme of the book:

  1. Book signings
  2. Keynotes
  3. Individual workshops
  4. Individual and group coaching
  5. Soft Skill Development program

If you may have any question or need additional information, let’s know. If you’re also interested to get one or more of these services, don’t hesitate to reach out:

Emailassegid@successpws.com and/or assegidh@gmail.com

Tel: 703-895-4551

Soft Skills for collective success

…It’s impossible to meet our corporate goals by solely depending on our people’s technical abilities. The workplace needs, more than ever, team members who have developed certain soft skills. The latter contribute toward more effective, harmonious, and fruitful work environment, which in turn leads to achieving irrefutable results collectively.

In response to NACE’s Job Outlook 2016 survey, out of the ten skills employers look for when they hire, the top-five are soft skills. These soft skills include, “Ability to verbally communicate with persons inside and outside the organization, Ability to work in a team structure, Ability to make decisions and solve problems, Ability to plan, organize and prioritize work, and Ability to obtain and process information.”

 

Taken from page 27 of the book ‘Soft Skills That Make or Break Your Success: 12 soft skills to master self, get along with, and lead others.’

 

Notes:

1. The print and kindle version of the book will soon be available. Stay tuned.

2. Below are some of the follow-up services Success Pathways will soon start to provide based on the theme of the book:

  1. Book signings
  2. Keynotes
  3. Individual workshops
  4. Individual and group coaching
  5. Soft Skill Development program

If you may have any question or need additional information, let’s know. If you’re also interested to get one or more of these services, don’t hesitate to reach out:

Emailassegid@successpws.com and/or assegidh@gmail.com

Tel: 703-895-4551

Soft Skills that Make or Break Your Success- Preface

Preface

Researches show that the lion share of success comes from soft skills than technical. Sadly, many professionals over depend on their technical skills. And thus, neglect to develop their soft skills proactively and in turn pay dire prices individually and cause havoc in their organizations. Common complaints such as high turnover, conflict, lack of synergy, and low levels of productivity in many of today’s organizations come down to lack of certain soft skills.

This book is based on the story of a successful professional , Dan Murphy who works for a multinational research organization- Global Health Research (GHR). Dan was promoted to lead a multimillion dollar project because of his superb technical skills as a researcher. Unfortunately, due to lack of certain soft skills, problems started to prop up. He couldn’t get along with his peers, and lead his team members.

After several attempt to help, verbal warnings, and then a written one for his file, his immediate boss- Susan Jeffrey, decided to remove him from leading the project. However, since Dan was one of the superstar researchers at GHR, this caused havoc and forced the CEO- Paul Gray, to intervene. Finally, Paul negotiated a deal, which required Dan to attend a three-part Soft Skills Development program, and to work with a mentor in order to continue lead the project.

The book narrates how the problem began, the negotiations, and the main discussion points from the mentoring sessions. The first part of the book covers the discussions among Dan, Susan, and Paul. Introductions of the remaining three parts (Mastering Self, Getting Along, and Leading Others) narrate the discussions between the trainer and attendees of the program. The 12 chapters narrate Dan’s one-on-one mentoring sessions with his mentor- Rafael Arthur.

The main discussion points of each mentoring session include:

  1. Four key lessons he learned;
  2. Some of the assessments, processes, models, and/or tools he found helpful; and
  3. Immediate actions he plans to take as a result of attending that particular workshop.

The story of GHR and its staff in this book is fictional but realistic. GHR and its employees serve as an illustration of common challenges many companies around the world may face because of lack of certain soft skills. As a former researcher and workshop facilitator for scientific and research organizations, the examples are based on my experiences though the identifying details have been changed.

The program Dan attended is composed of 12 interactive workshops necessary to master self, get along with, and lead others. These 12 soft skills are industry and culture neutral. In whichever industry and country you may belong, they empower you to achieve extraordinary success in your personal life, career, and business.

Speaking of extraordinary success, by default, we all strive to succeed. It’s within our DNA. By hook or by crook, every one of us goes the extra mile to succeed- to achieve more, and go to the next level. We all, individually and collectively, have a desire to succeed.

Of course, success is subjective. It’s in the eye of the beholder. What you consider success may not be recognized as success by someone else, and vice versa.

To achieve the success that you’re pursuing, you need personal mastery; you need to get along with, and lead others successfully. And, this book contains great insights, tools, and processes that empower you to develop the 12 soft skills that make or break your success in life, career, and/or business.

 

Notes:
1. The print and kindle version of the book will soon be available. Stay tuned.

2. Below are some of the follow-up services Success Pathways will soon start to provide based on the theme of the book:

  1. Book signings
  2. Keynotes
  3. Individual workshops
  4. Individual and group coaching
  5. Soft Skill Development program

If you may have any question or need additional information, let’s know. If you’re also interested to get one or more of these services, don’t hesitate to reach out:
Email: assegid@successpws.com and/or assegidh@gmail.com
Tel: 703-895-4551

 

85% Success comes from well-developed soft skills

Research conducted by Harvard University, the Carnegie Foundation, and Stanford Research Center revealed, “85% of job success comes from having well‐developed soft and people skills, and only 15% of job success comes from technical skills and knowledge (hard skills).” 

Unfortunately, many inventors, new hires, supervisors, managers, business owners, and professionals over depend on their technical skills. Accordingly, they neglect to develop their soft skills proactively and in turn pay dire prices.

Success Pathways understands the critical roles soft skills play. We provide soft skill workshops to empower your people attain success in what they do.

The following are some of the soft skills workshops we provide. Our workshops are very interactive and engaging filled with latest insights, practical tools, processes, and methods your people could use in the workplace right away. You may click the links below to read the synopsis and learning objectives of each workshop:

  1. Communication Strategies
  2. Effective Presentation Skills
  3. Turning Conflicts into Opportunities
  4. Negotiate Like a PRO
  5. Promoting Diversity and Embracing Inclusiveness
  6. Essentials of Project Management

If your team needs one or more of these workshops and/or to learn more, please feel free to reach out.

Note: Success Pathways Press will soon publish a reference book that provides insights, stories, and processes to empower readers develop the right attitude, mindset, and soft skills necessary to succeed in what they do. We’ve also designed a program for organizations that would like to empower their people by inviting Success Pathways to their organizations. We will work with you to customize the program to align it with your corporate culture, organizational setting, and the needs of your people. If you’re interested to be notified when the book and the program become available, let’s know.

Emailassegid@successpws.com

Tele: 703-895-4551

Featured Workshops at SPW

The following soft skill workshops are featured at Success Pathways. You may click the links below to read the synopsis and learning objectives of each workshop:

  1. Communication Strategies
  2. Effective Presentation Skills
  3. Turning Conflicts into Opportunities
  4. Negotiate Like a PRO
  5. Promoting Diversity and Embracing Inclusiveness
  6. Essentials of Project Management

If your team needs one or more of these workshops and/or to learn more, please feel free to reach out:

Email: assegid@successpws.com

Tele: 703-895-4551

Empower Your Project Management Team…

As I prepare to facilitate a workshop on project management, I thought sharing with you one of the reasons why some smart project managers ask us to conduct this workshop for their teams.

Here is how it works. We customize each workshop for our clients. We ask some questions to specifically tailor the workshop for that particular client. One of the tailoring questions we ask is: “Why you wanted to arrange this workshop?”

Each client has its own specific reasons. “Because I want my team members to understand how project management works” is one of the reasons many of our clients share in common.

These are seasoned project managers. They fully understand how project management works. They know the ins and outs of successful project management.

But, these project managers understand that no project succeeds without a successful team. And, successful team needs constant empowerment.

If you haven’t invested to empower your project management team yet, here are some of the benefits that may prompt you to consider arranging a workshop for your project management team. When they participate in this workshop, your team members:

1.    Capture the big picture and clearly see where they fit in.

2.    Understand their critical roles for the success of the project.

3.    Know the WHY of what they do.

4.    Participate actively (proactively) throughout the lifecycle of the project.

5.    Learn the best way to set their goals, plan to carryout their tasks, efficiently manage resources, effectively communicate with stakeholders, prepare and distribute well written reports, initiate and implement change, handle conflicts wisely, and many more.

If you are interested to arrange a one or two day workshop on project management for your team, let me know…

 

Assegid Habtewold (AZ) facilitates workshops on project management at Success Pathways. Here is the link to check out the learning objectives of our project management workshop: http://successpws.com/?page_id=1553

AZ has Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Degree, Master’s in Computer Science, and Doctor of Strategic Leadership. He is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) from Project Management Institute (PMI). Before he began facilitating Project Management workshops, he had managed Science and Research, IT, and Media projects. He is also certified by SkillPath/National Seminars to facilitate their popular seminar: “Fundamentals of Successful Project Management”

Mastering providing tough feedback

To succeed in getting along with and leading others, we need to master providing tough feedback. Unfortunately, giving tough feedback is easier said than done. Nonetheless, though it’s a very tough challenge, it’s possible to master this soft skill. It’s within your reach to remain nice while at the same time giving honest and tough feedback to the people you love and care about. The best approach to provide tough feedback that I suggest to my audience when I facilitate ‘Delivering Constructive Feedback’ is to customize every feedback to the individual.

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Let me quickly share with you a process that I shared in my upcoming book, which will be published soon. To provide tough feedback:

  1. Find the right place and time to give the feedback for that particular person. Where and when you offer your feedback determines its outcome. Choose the right atmosphere and timing if your desire is to succeed in giving tough feedback.
  2. Create a positive environment. Always begin with a positive tone. Everyone has some strengths and things that are going very well. Acknowledge the strengths of the person and what have been working well before you talk about what went wrong, weaknesses and limitations of the person.
  3. State the issue very clearly. Clearly indicate what isn’t working, what must change.
  4. Be specific. Don’t just use generic terms. Stop beating around the bush. Be specific and give some examples and instances.
  5. Provide some options. If the feedback requires making changes, give the person the opportunity to suggest some ways to improve the situation. If the person doesn’t have anything to suggest or if you have better options, provide some options.
  6. Offer support. Once you reach agreement on how to resolve the issue or improve it, ask the person any help he/she needs from you. If the issue requires monitoring and arranging subsequent meetings, work out the details with the person.

Of course, you don’t need to strictly adopt this process as it is. You may customize it and use it as it fits your objective condition on the ground.

Assegid Habtewold (AZ) is an author, consultant, coach, speaker, and trainer at Success Pathways, LLC (http://www.successpws.com). He facilitates soft skill workshops (including Delivering Constructive Feedback http://successpws.com/?page_id=1486) for some government agencies, technology and research companies, and non-profits. If you’re interested to empower your people with our soft skills to experience harmony, synergy, low turn over and conflicts, and so on, you may contact us via email: Assegid@successpws.com (and/or assegidh@gmail.com) and we’ll be happy to work with you to create customized workshops right for your team.

Your People Skills, Your competitive advantages

Someone from my LinkedIn network posted the quote of Robert Kuok- the richest man in Malaysia: “When I hire people, I look for great attitude. I don’t look for MBA or PHD.”

I liked the quote. Normally, I’d have just liked it and moved on. But, the quote is a perfect fit to the theme of my upcoming book. Thus, I wrote the following comment: “It’s a great strategy. I forgot where I read but John C Maxwell, a renowned leadership expert, suggested that employers should first look for affinity- whether the person has the right mindset, and attitude to fit within the corporate culture- followed by character, and then skills necessary to do the job. This shows that soft skills (intangible) skills are more important that hard (technical) skills. The temptation, however, for many leaders is to look for skills, and qualifications first.”

Following the above comment, in the comment section, someone posted a very good question: “Well, why then waste all the energy in going school trying distinguish yourself. I would have a better attitude if I don’t owe all that money on student loan.”

This is a legitimate question. If we don’t put Robert’s quote in context, it looks like he undermined the importance of skills. He is not. You cannot just hire a very impressive bystander to do heart surgeries in your hospital. You are not crazy enough to give your BMW car for a guy who isn’t a mechanic but full of positive attitude and people skills. You got my point…

Here is my response: “Good question. Why wasting our time, energy, and finance to go to school if hard skills like accounting, engineering, IT, surgery, and hundreds of other technical skills we need to perform our primary job description aren’t important compared to attitude and character? Going school and acquiring these skills is mandatory. They are the bare minimum. We need them to get into the door. But, they cannot help us succeed without the right soft skills like positive attitude, and other people skills, which many schools neglect to offer to their students. Employers would like to make sure that the new hires fit into the corporate culture. Therefore, if they have hundreds of candidates all of whom have PhD in physics and they need one person, most employers go for the one who has the right attitude and character who would be the right fit to the existing team than the one who has the highest GPA. The most important thing to professionals is to master our craft (technical skills) plus invest on our soft skills to become skillful in our communication, EI, problem solving, decision making, teamwork, etc. These intangible skills, which we may not get from formal education, are our competitive advantages to succeed in any career/environment….”

Well, I thought you might be interested to read this interesting conversation.

By the way, how do you rate your people skills (1 to 10, 1 being very poor, 10 excellent)? If you gauged your soft skill competency below 8, you need help. Whatever time, resource, and energy you may dedicate to improve your soft skills, it’s worth your investment. It compliments your technical abilities. It also empowers you not only to survive in this very competitive era, but also to excel and thrive.

Whether you are a professional, business owner, politician, activist, community organizer, what have you, you need to work on your people skills. Your technical abilities cannot take you far; they cannot separate you from the crowd in your field/industry.

Just so you know, your zeal to serve isn’t enough!

Assegid Habtewold (AZ) is an author, consultant, coach, speaker, and trainer at Success Pathways, LLC (http://www.successpws.com). He facilitates soft skill workshops for some government agencies, technology and research companies, and non-profits. If you’re interested to empower your people with key soft skills to experience harmony, synergy, low turn over and conflicts, and so on, you may contact us via email: Assegid@successpws.com (and/or assegidh@gmail.com) and we’ll be happy to work with you to create customized workshops right for your team.

By the way, Assegid’s upcoming book, which will be published soon, addresses the very theme touched in this blog. We’ll announce on our website when the book becomes available. Stay tuned!

Becoming an Inclusive Leader

In the 21st C, where competition is fierce and going to be fiercer, inclusive leaders are the only ones that are capable enough to lead their organizations to the next height. Inclusive leaders don’t feed their ego and seek to be right all the time. They are graceful when their ideas and positions are questioned. They don’t demand compliance from their people without merit. They’re confident enough that they are not threatened when diverse views and ideas are expressed within their organizations.

They, on purpose, promote diversity of viewpoints internally. They are inclusive who entertain ‘organized disagreements’ knowing that such an organization enjoys a great deal of benefit from the collision of diverse ideas. They understand that when ideas collide, the best idea prevails. Rather than being entrapped by ordinary and common ideas and preventing their organization from becoming the best in what it does, inclusive leaders liberate their organization from such imprisonment of mediocracy by creating a safe environment that encourages well-organized disagreements.

For their organizations (whether they are for profit, non-profits, charitable organizations, political parties, NGOs, etc.) to innovate and continuously improve and grow- they pay the necessary price. Some of the prices include but not limited to being vulnerable to be challenged, willing to listen even those ideas they don’t like and understand, and open to be corrected when they are wrong, and when their ideas and proposals are inferior.

Your country, community, and the world at large needs confident and inclusive leaders in the New Year who are willing to design within their organizations organized disagreements, entertain diverse views, and who are willing to tolerate outliers within their organizations.

Inclusive leaders, rather than attempting to build cult around their personality and surrounding themselves with a monotonous team filled with ‘yes’ men and women, they are committed to the higher purpose of the organization and the Greater Good by allowing people to speak their minds freely and without being ostracized!

What kind of leader do you want to be? What will be your legacy? Do you want to be remembered as a control freak? Or, are you willing to become inclusive? It is your choice. Here, in front of you, is a New Year to become a more inclusive leader. If you’re not in a leadership position right now, what kind of leaders are you supporting? What role (s) should you play in the New Year to make your team and leaders more inclusive?

If you would like to become an inclusive leader in this New Year and beyond, first, be bold and decide to break away from the tradition of intimidating dissenters. Purposefully invite people that may not agree with you all the time. Recognize and incentivize those in your team who are willing to risk and express differing views.

Create a culture that promotes diverse viewpoints and a corporate culture that embraces inclusiveness if your desire is to tap into the talent, uniqueness, experience, and full potential of all of your people! It’s a different era, demands to have a different attitude and approach as a leader in this awesome century.

Wish you in the New Year success as you attempt to become a more inclusive leader!

Assegid (AZ) Habtewold is the owner and lead trainer at Success Pathways, LLC. He facilitates Diversity and Inclusiveness workshops. Here is the link to learn the learning objectives of our Diversity in the Workplace workshop: http://successpws.com/?page_id=1990

Becoming an Impactful Communicator

PresentationMany people think that communication is all about talking. They presume that the more they talk and articulate their ideas, the more they win the support of others. That is half of the equation. Becoming an impactful communicator requires more than that.

What so ever golden words you may use as you communicate in person, people may not connect with you because of your mere wordsmith skills. We are humans. Our brain is wired to gather, analyze, add meanings, and reach conclusion at the speed of light, so to speak. Our brain takes in data both verbal and non-verbal cues through our eyes and ears (intuition too) to reach quick conclusion about the messenger (his/her credibility, authenticity, trustworthiness, etc.).

If you’re only depending on your words alone you can only transmit a fraction of your message. Don’t get me wrong. Your words (and contents) are important. However, you should also be aware that your voice’s tone, bitch; and most importantly, the way you dress, gesture your hands, move your body, and so on play the lion share in transmitting your message to the intended audience and in turn to meet your goals from a given presentation.

You could be perceived as credible and trustworthy who is worthy of their time or you could be counted out as not worthy of their attention. In the latter case, they won’t make any change as a result of your presentation. What is the use of standing in front of people unless you meet your goals?

In order to win people’s heart, influence, and inspire them to take the action you want them to take, you need more than just uttering powerful words. You need to display passion, exude energy, use your voice and body in your favor and to communicate effectively.

Hope, these tips are helpful. Otherwise, our workshop that empowers professionals, business owners, managers, and leaders to develop impactful presentation skills takes two days. I’m not ambitious to think that I could coach you here virtually on how to excel in your presentation skills but I’m sure the tips you got from this blog inspired you to invest more on your presentation skills if your desire is to have impact in your communication.

By the way, impactful communication also entails active listening. I’m not talking about giving your ears alone. Active listening demands giving your heart too. You need to listen both what is said and what hasn’t been said in a given conversation. For that matter, Management guru Peter Drucker emphasized, “The most important thing in communication is to hear, what isn’t being said”.

You should also work on your cross cultural communication skills if your audience are diverse. You should also make sure to excel at communicating using various media. This is especially important in the 21st C. You need to be skillful in communicating effectively virtually using email, phone, social media, etc. Let me stop it here…

Assegid (AZ) Habtewold is the owner and a lead trainer at Success Pathways, LLC. He facilitates business, managerial, and leadership interactive workshops. Here is the link to learn the learning objectives of our Presentation Skills workshop: http://successpws.com/?page_id=1549, Facilitation Skills: http://successpws.com/?page_id=1517 and Communication Strategies: http://successpws.com/?page_id=1503 If you’re interested, he can also design and facilitate for your team a customized 2-days intense workshop if your desire is to empower your people to take their communication and presentation ability to the next level.