Strategy

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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

Using humor as a weapon to become approachable

Sense of humor is one of the tools we need as leaders. It helps us to become approachable and a leader easy to work with. As leaders, we need our people to give us tough and constructive criticisms. We need them to take chances and willing to fail. We need them to feel safe to suggest ideas that may seem silly. Sometimes, the solutions that we need desperately may come from those ideas people discount as silly.

If we’re unapproachable, it becomes very hard for other people to work with us. If we’re too formal and too rigid all the time, it makes getting along with others a little tougher. It’s also unlikely to get serious feedbacks from others. Our people won’t be willing to take risk. They may not venture to speak their mind.

So far, some leaders resisted this recommendation. They came up with so many reasons why they cannot and/or won’t use humor in the workplace. Some of the justifications make sense. Nonetheless, one of the most frequent reasons that haven’t convinced me yet is: “We all aren’t gifted comedians”.

Yes, we all can’t make jokes every other minute like Trevor Noah and David Letterman et al. Yes, we all aren’t comedians. I myself struggle in this area. But, I learned to make jokes on my stumbling and myself.

By the way, you don’t need to make jokes on a minute-by-minute basis to become approachable and playful. There’re many opportunities around you, here and there, which you could tap into and become playful once in awhile.

Warning! If you aren’t a gifted comedian don’t make jokes, especially in the expense of others. The safest approach is, I found out that, making jokes on yourself and your stumbling, and so on.

Try it! You may find it helpful. However, note that if using humor and becoming playful isn’t appropriate and right fit to your organizational culture and the situation you find yourself, be creative to come up with other methods, using humor is just one of the approaches you may consider. Good luck!

 

Success Pathways, LLC (www.successpws.com) provides interactive and dynamic soft skill and leadership workshops for diverse clients using latest adult learning methods.

Generating and Managing Your Energy on a daily basis…

Realizing for the first time the importance of energy management was a breakthrough for me.

I still remember where I heard about it the first time.

Before that revelation, I had been trying my best to manage my time, which- as we all know, is limited.

We all have equal time regardless of who we are. Whether we are rich or poor, educated or unlearned, tall or short, popular or obscure, time treats all of us equally. We all have 24 hours per day. That is why C. S. Lewis noted, The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of 60 minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.”

On the other hand, I came to realize that, unlike time, our daily energy is not fixed. We can generate, and manage our daily energy ‘indefinitely’. Accordingly, I immediately identified key sources of energy, came up with a simple and straight forward plan to:

  • Balance and renew my energy,
  • Expand my energy capacity, and
  • Create energy management rituals on a daily basis.

The results? Extraordinary!!! Wondered so many times why I hadn’t known about this earlier 🙂

Once I got some results, I decided to incorporate energy management in our time management workshops.

Now- more than over, I strongly believe that, as Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz wrote, “Learning to manage energy more efficiently and intelligently has a unique transformative power, both individually and organizationally.”

Do you manage your energy on a daily basis? Have you got some successes? Are there challenges? How do you plan to overcome these challenges?

If you (your team) ever struggle to manage time and energy effectively, let me know…

 

Assegid (AZ) Habtewold is the owner and lead trainer and coach at Success Pathways, LLC. He facilitates Time Management workshops. Here is the link to learn the learning objectives of our Time Management workshop: http://successpws.com/?page_id=1569

AZ has been facilitating very interactive and dynamic soft skill and leadership workshops including Time Management for diverse clients using latest adult learning methods. In his upcoming book, which will be published soon, he provides insights, tools, and processes to empower readers develop effective time and energy management attitude, mindset, and skills.

The Case for Developing Effective Time Management Skills

There are some reasons why many people don’t want to invest their time and resources to develop their time management skills. A few of these individuals think that managing time doesn’t have to be developed. They argue that it’s common sense. What do you think? Is it really common sense and any one can manage their time effectively without putting some efforts to learn best ways such as using some latest tools, processes, techniques, and technologies?

Let’s be humble. We’re not born with mastery of time management. We don’t have the innate ability to manage time effectively. For that matter, we are predisposed to mismanage time. I conquer with Peter Druker- the father of modern management, who admitted, “Man is ill-equipped to manage his time.”

Well, I also met some who are passionate about why they don’t want to develop time management skills. They argue that developing such a skill deprives them from being spontaneous and enjoy the fun that comes when they do things haphazardly. They proudly call themselves ‘Free spirited’. They consider themselves activists who fight for their freedom against the ‘controlling TIME’. They go as far as belittling TIME by saying, “It’s created to serve us, not to become boss over us’.

There are some truths here. Yes, time shouldn’t be allowed to control us but we don’t need to show time who the boss is by winging it as we wish. We can still be our own boss and use time to serve our goals by becoming smarter in using time effectively, and by using it in our favor. The point is: We can still be skillful in managing our time without losing our freedom.

There are others who believe that they perform best when they are under pressure. They proudly call themselves ‘Deadline Junkies’ 🙂 Of course; it is very hard to counter argue with someone’s experience. If they say that they put their acts together and perform well when they are under pressure, well, I would like to trust them. They may perform outstandingly when under pressure.

But, I’m skeptic about whether doing things at the 11th hour is wise even if I’ve the capacity to do so. Yes, I may deliver results just before the deadline. The question is: Can I produce quality results while I’m rushed against time?

Of course, there are others genuinely concerned that they don’t have additional time to spend in order to develop time management skills. It’s understandable. They’re already out of time, and struggling to meet deadlines. How can they spend the time they don’t have with the hope to become better in managing their time in the future?

This reason too is legitimate. Yes, in the short term, you need to put an initial investment by believing that, in the long run and down the road; the return on investment outweighs the time you may put down initially.

What about you? If you’re great in managing time effectively personally, what about your team members and colleagues? From 1 to 10, how do you rate yourself (and your team) when it comes to time management, one being very poor and ten very excellent? If you (or your team) scores less than 7, you need to invest on your time management skills.

Assegid (AZ) Habtewold is the owner and lead trainer and coach at Success Pathways, LLC. He facilitates Time Management workshops. Here is the link to learn the learning objectives of our Time Management workshop: http://successpws.com/?page_id=1569

AZ has been facilitating very interactive and dynamic soft skill and leadership workshops including Time Management for diverse clients using latest adult learning methods. In his upcoming book, which will be published soon, he provides insights, tools, and processes to empower readers develop effective time management attitude, mindset, and skills.

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

Adopting to Change, Flowing with the Current…

ChangeEverything in life and nature changes except change itself. It remains the only constant that doesn’t bow down to the course of nature. Change has been with us since the beginning of history. The only thing that changed is the pace of change that has been quickened especially in these days.

In the 21st C, either you change and flow with the current or die. You cannot stand on the way of change and survive to tell your side of the story. Even if you don’t like it or feel uncomfortable about it or angry with what is changing; you cannot stop it. It didn’t just change. It had been there for years. Now, it just surfaced and exploded in your face 🙂

When the CEO of Nokia cried in front of an audience saying that they did their best but still lost it, what he didn’t realize was that they didn’t just lose when Microsoft acquired them. They had failed to sense the change that was coming ahead of the curve. And, that negligence had a steeping price.

Ask yourself, did your organization or business or even you as a person anticipate the change that is now overwhelming you? The answer is simple. If you are just mad, angry, and helpless as you struggle to cope with the change, you didn’t anticipate what was coming well before the change exploded and became obvious. That is okay, it happens. The real question is, what do you do about it, now change is here?

You don’t need to lose twice by resisting the change that you haven’t anticipated coming. This time, brace to flow with it and find ways to maximize the opportunities that may exist within the changing pattern. Don’t allow yourself and organization lose twice and maybe forever… The ball is in your court…

History proved us again and again that even in the midst of recessions, new millionaires and thriving businesses emerged.

In the midst of rapid changes that are going on in the US, and around the world, as much as there are challenges, risks, and dangers ahead, there are overt and hidden opportunities you should tap into by turning your anger and frustration into meaningful and fruitful actions.

Yes, some are going to lose big time while others may win in a given change equation. But, there are some people and organizations who may find themselves in the first group who won’t surrender to lose it all. If you are in the other side of the fence and one of the losers, don’t give up yet, be like those who have braced to face the change boldly and those who attempt to change the course of the change in their favor. Regroup, and strategize to adopt to change, and change the course of history for good.

Brace to face the change that is inevitable. Don’t spend too much time and energy in complaining and resisting the change you cannot stop or slow. Understand that it’s wise to flow with the current and achieve your goals what so ever up hill the battle may be to succeed in the changing circumstance that may not favor you right now.

This afternoon, together with some awesome community leaders, I’m going to talk about the nature of change, what happens when we don’t change, and stories of organizations and nations that couldn’t be able to discern a change ahead and paid dire prices, and some models to reference as we navigate through the change that is happening, and tools and approaches to overcome fear, uncertainty, confusion, and so on as we pass through a rapidly changing landscape around us.

If you’re in the DC Metro area, and available this afternoon (@4pm), why don’t you come and let’s have conversations about change management. Here is the address: Lincolnia Senior Center 4710 N. Chambliss ST, Alexandria.Hope to see you soon…

 

Assegid (AZ) Habtewold is the owner and lead trainer at Success Pathways, LLC. He facilitates Change Management workshops. Here is the link to learn the learning objectives of our Change Management workshop: http://successpws.com/?page_id=1491

‘Plans are useless but planning is indispensable’

TimeWhen I share with people how some organizations plan decades ago, they hesitate to believe. It’s true. I study organizations and facilitate strategic planning sessions.Toyota, for instance, has a 100-year strategic plan. Many hospitals, recreation centers, universities, non-profit organizations, political parties, and businesses have up to 50-year strategic plan. When the data stack against them, they believe that it may be possible that some may have long long  long term plans. But, they wonder whether it’s practical to have such a long term strategic plan considering how fast the world changes on a consistent basis. 

Yes, it’s true that things change fast and it’s unlikely to find what you project years and decades ahead to remain the same. However, that should not stop one from having a long term plan. You just need to keep updating your plan as you progress. It’s good to have a long term plan. Break it into phases. Have middle and short term plans. Further break down the short term plan. Carve out a yearly plan each year.

Refer the yearly plan as you come up with a quarterly plan. From the quarterly, monthly. Continue like that- from monthly, a weekly plan. Use the weekly plan to schedule your major tasks that lead may you to accomplish your major goals on a weekly basis.Don’t stop there. Monitor your progress, and make changes daily, if necessary. Besides, evaluate your short, mid, and long term plans once in awhile. Let’s say, evaluate your yearly plan, quarterly; your short term plan, yearly; your mid-term plan, once in a few years; and your long term plan, every five years.

That being said, let me share what General Colin Powell had to say about plans and planning. He fought many wars and he knows what he is talking about. He said, “No battle plan survives contact with the enemy.” But he also wrote, “Plans are useless but planning is indispensable.”

Herald of Success Newsletter on “Is your strategy working?”

Success Pathways’ newsletter- Herald of Success- in its 8th edition covered the theme “Is your strategy working?”:

ChaseYou’re passionate, and you know what you’re doing. You have a clear vision, and you’re committed for its realization. Still:

1. You need to have a well thought out strategy to pursue and realize your vision.

2. You shouldn’t initiate strategy development to just tackle challenges. You should also consider crafting strategies to tap into the available opportunities too.

3. However, make sure you don’t lose who you’re, and what you stand for accidently as you craft new strategies and/or as you change your existing strategies.

4. Develop a strategic planning document. The process of brainstorming, drafting, and writing down the details of your strategy has many advantages. But it should be a living document where you should revise it frequently.

5. Strategies are causes, and the results you achieve at the end of the day are the effects. Have you seen increase in your revenue and rate of production, cost and lifecycle reductions, increase in clients, and so on? If the results are unsatisfactory, you need to change the cause, in this case, the underlining strategy. That is why Winston Churchill noted, “However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results”.

6. Result in quantity shouldn’t be the only measure to know whether your strategy is working. What kind of quality changes the strategy have brought? Have you seen improvement in your products, services, operations, customer satisfaction, and other important parameters?

7. Even if a strategy is successful, in whose expense is the question? A strategy might have brought the needed results and promoted changes but if it squashed what you value the most such as your values and people as they implement the strategy, you may need to revisit this strategy. You should also measure the kinds of impacts it brought on your stakeholders and partners.

Let me stop here. However:

  • Note that my book entitled “The 9 cardinal building blocks for continued success in leadership” will soon be published. We will notify you as soon as the book is out. The book provides lots of insights, reality checks, processes and steps, measurements as you lead strategy-driven life and business. The book provides frameworks for both long-term and short-term strategic planning, considerations as you craft your strategies, and items you should include in your strategic planning document. Stay tuned…
  • In the meantime, I will continue to share with you more contents and videos from the book. You may subscribe to our YouTube Channel so that you may be notified as soon as we upload future videos.
  • I also encourage you to join our social networks. Go to our website (www.successpws.com) and you will find the various social media icons at the top right hand corner. I reflect on a daily basis and share my thoughts, and the thoughts of many great leaders on our social network sites. Therefore, don’t miss this opportunity to get a daily dose of inspiration, wisdom, and encouragement.

If you may have any questions or comments, please feel free to write me email at assegidh@gmail.com or give me a call at 703-895-4551.

Looking forward to hear from you.

Update: Crafting a long term strategy with writers

Last Wednesday January 09 2013, Assegid had a wonderful opportunity to facilitate a strategic workshop with Writers in Montgomery County. The meeting was held at Montgomery College, Rockville Campus. The program began around 7: 15 PM.

The main goal of this workshop was to emphasize the importance of developing long-term strategic plan now to shape the future of our writing. Some of the specific learning objectives were:

1. To identify the main driving/restraining forces that impact the writing industry

2. To recognize the major trends that influence the industry, and

3. To use one of the strategic foresight tools to develop a long-term strategy.

 

For detail, visit http://assegid.com/?p=231

Workshop: Shaping your writing future by crafting strategic plans now

Theme: Shaping your writing future by crafting strategic plans now

·  Do you want to survive and thrive in this globalized and highly competitive information age by developing the skill to ‘read and interpret’ what is going on within the writing industry in particular, and the world at large?

·  Have you ever wondered on how strategic thinking and planning could help you tap into the available opportunities the new era presents and overcome the challenges it poses as you pursue and fulfill your writing dreams?

·  You have already known the importance of having a long-term strategic plan but you never got a chance to learn the basics on how to approach it systematically and using some simple tools?

If you answered ‘Yes’ for one or more of the above questions, this experiential workshop is right for you. The workshop is interactive. There will be brief presentations, large and small group discussions, and a question-and-answer session.  It is designed to empower writers like you with the necessary insights and skills that enable them to craft a long-term strategic plan using one of the strategic foresight tools.

Below are the main learning objectives. At the end of the workshop, participants will:

1.   Appreciate the importance of long term strategic plan for writers, and how other industries have been using it to succeed continually,

2.   Recognize the major driving and restraining forces that affect the writing industry,

3.   Identify key trends that influence the industry, and

4.   Learn on how to use strategic foresight tools to craft a long-term strategic plan.

Here are some of the questions that will be explored:

  •   Are we prepared to satisfy and meet the needs of our respective future audiences who will inhabit the coming ‘smart world’?
  • What will the writing industry at large and our particular genres look like 50, 30, 20, 15 or 10 years from now?
  •  Are we positioned strategically now to excel in this coming smart world?
  • And more…

Please note that the insights and skills you will gain from this experiential workshop not only equip you to become a strategic writer but you may also apply the skills in the workplace, and for your business.

When: January 09, 2013
Time: 7 – 8 PM
Place: Montgomery College, Rockville Campus. Physical Education (PE) building, Room 136
Directionhttp://cms.montgomerycollege.edu/edu/maps.aspx?id=23746