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Aug 26- Empower the Community Weekend- Presentation on Soft Skills

On August 26, 2017, I’m scheduled to present on soft skills twice (@1: 30 pm and 3: 30 pm) for 30 minutes each on soft skills. This is a great event filled with outstanding speakers and jam-packed programs. If you’re in the metro area, don’t miss it. For detail including to purchase your ticket, schedule, location, and so on., visit www.empowercw.com


Upcoming Events on Soft Skills:

  1. Guest FacilitatorOrganizer: 21st C Community. Event: Weekly Career Success Webinars. Dates: August 16, 23, and 30, 2017. Time: 9 – 10 pm EST. To sign-up and attend the webinars, go to this page: https://icattnet.adobeconnect.com/r1ftzpeisab/The audio recording of August 16, 2017, webinar on soft skills. Part 2 is on Aug 23 @ 9 pm EST: Part I- Increasing Self-awareness
  2. Facilitating a 2-day workshopOrganizer: Sholla Corporation. Event: 2-day boot camp style intensive workshop. Date: Saturday and Sunday, September 2 – 3, 2017. Time: 9 – 5 pm. Place: For more, check out this link: http://successpws.com/?page_id=2409


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Report on August 11th conference

The Skilled Immigrants annual conference in Alexandria on August 11th was very successful. As part of the first panel, I shared my experience as an immigrant, and the soft skills necessary for immigrants to succeed in the US.

A couple of sponsors donated over 35 Soft Skills That Make or Break Your Success book to participants.

2-Day Boot Camp Style Intensive Workshop

Sholla presents a boot camp style 2-day intensive workshop based on the newly published book entitled ‘Soft Skills That Make or Break Your Success: 12 soft skills to master self, get along with, and lead others successfully’. Here is a link to read the synopsis of the book, press release, and to download the first part and the conclusion of the book for free: http://successpws.com/?page_id=2254

Learning Objectives:

This workshop gives you the necessary insights, processes, and tools to develop your soft skills that empower you to take your life, career, and business to the next level. The workshop has five over-arching objectives. At the end of the course, participants will be able to:

  • Understand the vital roles soft skills play in mastering self, getting along with and leading others
  • Discover the soft skills necessary to succeed in managerial positions
  • Assess which soft skills have been missing that deterred them from attaining personal mastery, getting along with, and leading others successfully
  • Identify tools, processes, and approaches that enable them to improve their soft skills that equip them to master self, get along with, and lead others
  • Develop action plans to practice what they learned right away when they return to the workplace


Course outline:

Part I: Soft skills to master self:

Soft Skill 1: Increasing self-awareness

Soft Skill 2: Regulating Emotions Wittingly

Soft Skill 3: Managing Time and Energy Wisely

Soft Skill 4: Solving Problems & Making Right Decisions


Part II: Soft skills to get along with others successfully:

Soft Skill 5: Playing Teamwork

Soft Skill 6: Communicating Effectively

Soft Skill 7: Promoting Diversity & Embracing Inclusiveness

Soft Skill 8: Turning Conflicts into Opportunities


Part III: Soft skills to lead others successfully:

Soft Skill 9: Motivating Others to Aim High

Soft Skill 10: Coaching & Mentoring to Empower Others

Soft Skill 11: Negotiating With Others for Win-Win Deals

Soft Skill 12: Leading Others Through Change Smoothly


About the author and Trainer of this workshop

Assegid (AZ) Habtewold wrote three books including his latest book entitled ‘Soft Skills That Make or Break Your Success’. He has been serving some Government agencies [National Institutes of Health (NIH), General Services Administration (GSA), US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Forest Services, and National Cancer Institute], Public Schools, Fuji Films, Everis, Westat, Per Scholas, and so on. AZ has also been working with world-class management consulting companies such as CI International and ICATT Consulting. He has been facilitating workshops on the 12 themes incorporated in his third book. He also has been working as a contractor to provide public seminars and on-site workshops for seminar companies such as SkillPath, and National Seminars. AZ has the following degrees: Doctor of Strategic Leadership, Master’s in Computer Science, and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. He has over 20 years hands on leadership experience that began as a youth and student leader. He has been providing training and facilitating workshops for more than nine years in the US. AZ came to the US in 2005, is a US citizen, and lives in Silver Spring, MD.



  1. We have limited seats. 20 participants for the first batch. First come, first served.
  2. Each participant gets a copy of the book for free.
  3. Handouts will be sent once you register for the boot camp.

If you may have any question or need explanation, please call at 703-895-4551 or 240-429-1445 Email: info@sholla.com

To register, go to Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2-day-intensive-workshop-on-the-top-12-soft-skills-tickets-36813945502

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The Pope of Soft Skills

On August 4th, 2017, just before facilitating a workshop based on my new book at Veterans Plaza, Silver Spring MD

If you’re wondering why I’m called the Pope of Soft Skills, check this brief video clip from yesterday’s presentation at Veterans Plaza  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pVZlforyS2g

My next presentation is going to be on August 11th, 2017 in Alexandria VA. The event is organized by A Consortium of Northern Virginia Workforce Development Organizations.

Theme: Workforce Conference: Rebuilding Your Professional Career in the US’.

This is especially important if you’re an immigrant who would like to take your career to the next level. This kind of opportunity comes once in awhile. Use the opportunity to jumpstart your new career you’ve been dreaming to launch for a very long period of time. If you intend to revitalize, relaunch, rebuild, and/or make a career change, this conference equips you with the necessary info, tips, and guidances.

If you know someone from your family, among your friends, and colleagues who may benefit from this conference, please inform them to attend this vital event.

Don’t quote me 🙂 I heard that some companies have already ordered my book to give to participants. I’m not yet sure how many copies. If I were you, I’d go there early and get a copy. This is a fantastic book so use the opportunity, of course, to hear many great speakers, and it doesn’t hurt to get a great book for free. 

To learn more about the time, place, and most importantly to register, please check out this link: http://successpws.com/?p=2393

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Resume writing and interviewing skills are overrated

Both resume writing and interviewing skills are critical. In the 21st C, nonetheless, they are overrated. I’ll show you why, and what to do about it.

Simply put, resumes let you circumvent the automated gatekeeper, also known as soulless automated resume rejecters. Nowadays, corporations use software to screen candidates. Recruiters don’t read thousands and hundreds of resumes any longer. They depend on resume screening software to short list candidates. In modern days workplace, your resume can only allow you to dodge resume robots. That is it! No more, no less.

Once you’re in front of a recruiter (s), it’s another kind of game. You may think that you can get into the door if you just ‘perform’ and impress the interviewers. Bless their hearts. Many well-meaning organizations ‘prep’ job seekers on interviewing skills. They prepare them on the kinds of questions recruiters may ask, how to dress, smile, hand shake, and respond to some of the commonly known challenging questions.

These ‘crash courses’ are aimed at circumventing recruiters, the second layer gatekeepers. I must admit. They sometimes work, especial if the recruiters are novices. But, many of these prep classes are insufficient to equip job seekers to win seasoned recruiters their side. These classes are incapable of helping candidates continue to succeed once they set their feet in.

Speaking of experienced recruiters, they are fake proofs. They use behavioral questions. They don’t just ask the usual yes or no questions that are taught in interviewing skills crash courses. What do you think will be the response of a candidate if a rookie recruiter asks, “Are you a hard working person?” “Do you get along with others?”, and other similar questions? The candidate will definitely say a resounding Yes to each question. She may even roll her eyes and use some nonverbal cues as if to say why you even asking me these questions.

Don’t miss read me here. You need a killer resume. You need to prepare for interviews. No short cut! But, your attitude shouldn’t be to fake it until you make it. Be genuine to know the organization, its mission, corporate values, the job description you are applying for, and so on. Most importantly, be yourself. I like Judy Garland’s advice, “Always be a first rate version of yourself and not a second rate version of someone else.”

Remember this. You’re not for sale. You too are also choosing whether to work for that company or not. Go there not just to be selected, to pick too. Go there to understand the working environment, the company’s culture, and so on. You may not want to work for that company if your values collide with theirs. If the corporate culture doesn’t allow you to flourish, why accepting the job knowing that you wither away and suffer?

That being said; go past preparing for interviews. Aim beyond bypassing the two layer gatekeepers. Have well-developed technical skills and know-hows to impress the domain expert- the hiring manager.

Above all, develop your soft skills proactively. Otherwise, even if you’re hardworking, your technical skills off chart and a nice person, your body languages, eye contacts, demeanor, energy level, communication approaches, and interactions with recruiters may send wrong messages, and you may not be selected regardless of your superb hard skills, hard working ethics, and excellent character.

Knowingly or unknowingly, many recruiters make the hiring decision within the first 3 – 4 seconds. As you walk in to greet and shake hand with the recruiter, she is gathering lots of data using her senses. With that brief first impression, she makes her mind to hire or not to hire you. That is why people say first impressions last.

You may wonder why? It’s simple. The brain processes a vast amount of data within a few seconds and reaches conclusions. That is how our brain is wired to function. It’s helping us. It tries to make our life easier. Most of the time, consciously or subconsciously, we side with our brain without questioning its hasty conclusions, and in turn, take actions.

Yes, we need our brain’s super computing power. Unless we’re mindful, however, it could cause us make decisions based on inadequate data and some unconscious biases. And, recruiters are not exceptional. They may over depend on their brain and intuitions. They may not be aware that anything they do after that first impression hiring decision is to justify their initial choice. And the initial first impression could be flawed.

Whenever I sit in a panel to screen candidates, I make sure that I use behavioral questions. I’m a human being. I’m aware that I possess a mighty brain. It processes the data that are gathered through my senses within the first 3 – 4 seconds. Based on my past experience, core values, and what I see, feel, intuit, touch, and hear right there, I may climb a virtual ladder in my mind to quickly reach a conclusion. Since I know how the brain works; however, I don’t immediately buy into its hasty conclusion and suggestions. I dig further. I use scenario-based questions. You recruiter may not take these steps. He may totally depend on his brains suggestions.

Let me be clear here by giving you a simple example. Sometimes, you meet someone for the first time and within the first few seconds, without knowing the very reason why you trust that person. You start to share your info, give your phone number, and even take the person with you to introduce him/her to your family and to have lunch or dinner. On the other hand, occasionally, you may meet someone for the first time. You cannot put your finger on it, but somehow you mistrust that person. It doesn’t matter whether this person is the world’s number one trustworthy person. Your brain, be unknown to you, climbed that virtual ladder in your mind and reached a swift conclusion.

Recruiters are humans like you and I. Unless they have self-awareness and conscious about how the brain works, they too are victims of their own brain. And therefore, they may reject the right person and favor the wrong one based on limited data within the first few seconds. Your job is to be the right person plus get selected, and this takes well-developed soft skills.

Steve Jobs of Apple used to create scenarios to select the right candidates who fit the corporate culture of Apple. Of course, some of his screening approaches were too risky, and I’m not here suggesting using all of his methods. For instance, he used to ask weird questions and put his bare feet on the table in front of candidates to watch how they would react. He was trying to figure out whether these candidates function well in a casual, no holds barred environment at Apple.

If your desire is to circumvent the automated gatekeeper, yes, have a great resume. To bypass recruiters work on your interview skills. Don’t also forget that many companies put you in front of a domain expert to test your technical skills before they let you in based on your resume and performance during the interview. In that case, you need to have your technical expertise handy to impress the domain expert. Still, your technical skills cannot guarantee your ultimate success; they qualify you to get the job, to set your feet in. That is it!

Once you’re in, if you want to flourish and continually succeed in that organization, you need 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).” Your technical skills only give you a low 15 % chance to stay there and climb the corporate ladder.

Of course, many who, somehow, circumvented the multiple layers of screening without having the right skills, according to Mark Murphy, fail within the first 18 months. What is interesting, however, is that He said, “89 percent of them failed for attitudinal reasons [soft skills]. Only 11 percent failed due to a lack of hard skills.”

The bottom-line is to win recruiter (s) your side, get into the door, and succeed in that organization you need certain soft skills. You cannot over depend on your killer resume and interviews skills alone. If the recruiters are experienced, they sniff your lack of soft skills. You cannot pass them by only preparing for the kinds of questions most recruiters ask.

Thus, resume and interviewing skills are overrated. What you need before getting your feet in and afterward are well-developed soft skills.

Knowing the vital roles soft skills play for success in the workplace and beyond, I wrote a fantastic book entitled ‘Soft skills That Make or Break Your Success: 12 soft skills to master self, get along with, and lead others successfully’. Go to the website of Success Pathways, LLC to learn more, download the first part of the book for free. If you’re in the DC metro area, don’t miss my upcoming presentations on August 4th and 11th. I’m also in preparation to provide boot camp style 2-day or 3-day intensive workshops that will start soon. To learn about these events, check our website @ www.successpws.com

Guest Speaker- August 11th @ NVCC Alexandria Campus

Don’t miss an important career development event in Alexandria VA. The event is organized by A Consortium of Northern Virginia Workforce Development Organizations.

Theme: Workforce Conference: Rebuilding Your Professional Career in the US’.

This is especially important if you’re an immigrant who would like to take your career to the next level. This kind of opportunity comes once in awhile. Use the opportunity to jumpstart your new career you’ve been dreaming to launch for a very long period of time. If you intend to revitalize, relaunch, rebuild, and/or make a career change, this conference equips you with the necessary info, tips, and guidances.

If you know someone from your family, among your friends, and colleagues who may benefit from this conference, please inform them to attend this vital event.

Date: August 11th, 2017.

Time: 8: 30 am – 2: 45 pm.

Place: 4915 E. Campus Drive Alexandria, VA 22311.

To learn more, register and reserve your spot, click here…

Note: I’m invited as one of the guest speakers. My time slot is going to be between 9: 15 – 10: 00 am. I’ll talk about my new book plus share some of my cultural challenges at the early stage of my stay in the US, and more.

Coincidentally, the theme of the conference aligned with the topic of my new book. That is why a couple of generous sponsors purchased many copies of my book to give it to attendees. Hope, you’ll be one of the lucky ones…

A presentation based on the new book

21st Century Community (www.21stcenturycommunity.org) cordially invites you to participate in the Monthly Career Success Summit- This is information and action filled event!!!
Friday, August 4th @ 6PM (EST)
Every First Friday of the Month  @ 6PM (EST)
Downtown Silver Spring – Civic Center 
Veteran’s Plaza Spring Room.
The Friday, August 4th career summit will feature Dr. Assegid Habtewold, the Pope of Soft Skills.
Topic: Soft Skills That Make or Break Your Success.
Soft skills play the lion’s share of success. However, many people over depend on their technical expertise. And thus, neglect to develop their soft skills proactively and in turn pay dire prices individually and cause havoc in their organizations. Whether you’re looking for a job or a professional aspiring to climb the corporate ladder or an entrepreneur who just opened a business or expanding to reach more customers or a senior manager supervising dozens of team members, you need certain well-developed soft skills to succeed in what you do. In this workshop, based on his recently published book, Assegid Habtewold will show you how the 12 soft skills discussed in his book make or break your success.  This jam-packed workshop provides you eye opener insights, approaches, and tools, which you could immediately apply in the work and marketplaces to take your life, career, and business to the next height.
Assegid Habtewold is a coach, consultant, speaker, and trainer at Success Pathways, LLC. He just published his third book entitled ‘Soft Skills That Make or Break Your Success: 12 soft skills to master self, get along with, and lead others successfully’. He has over two decades of leadership experience and has been empowering leaders from diverse industries. Assegid has different professional background: Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, Master’s in Computer Science, and Doctor of Strategic Leadership. He frequently blogs and facilitates workshops on the 12 soft skills discussed in his new book.
Other activities include: 
  • Practicing Your Elevator Speech
  • Scavenger hunt of community career resources
  • speed professional networking 
  • Informational  Interviews
Dinner is catered by our sponsor, Balager Restaurant.
Assegid donated two of his books to the 21st C Community. We will use them as door prizes. The two persons who will come first will be rewarded. Be one of them…
While this event is presented free of charge, donations of any amount are welcomed and accepted to support and fund future programming.  
For more information, please call Behailu Bekera 202-834-7710; Mulugeta Dessie 301-366-6058; Gabe Hamda 904-382-5471; Mesfin Felleke 775-240-1497

Soft Skills that Make or Break Your Success- 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.


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


Going beyond using lame excuses…

No ExcusesBlaming our past for not taking action to change our destiny for good is taken from a weak man’s playbook. Even if we’ve inherited a flawed past with so many disadvantages, we’ve the unlimited power to use today and inherit a glorious tomorrow. There should not be any excuse about our heritages. If we don’t like them, we’ve the power to change them for good. Let’s go beyond using lame excuses.

Unfortunately, I never met a person who got stuck, failed, or left behind taking responsibilities and own his/her circumstance. They always point to something or someone including their parents, relatives, peers, teachers, and the system where they grew up for where they are in life NOW. Paradoxically, only those who are truly successful are the ones profusely admit and then take ownership of their failures. This attitude of ‘I’m not the product of my circumstance’ enabled them to overcome extraordinary challenges.

One of the common themes among excuses many people assign for their failures is ‘I was raised in a dysfunctional family’ or ‘I grew up in the wrong side of the fence’, and so on. These things happen all over the world. Nonetheless, we have countless successful people who overcame obstacles they faced during childhood or when they were young. Many of these individuals rather used the misfortunate circumstances into their own advantage.

Another huge excuse many people use is ‘I’m the way I’m because of WHO I’M.’ These individuals think that who they are was fixed long time ago and they don’t have any say NOW. They wrongly believe that the DNA they inherited from their pedigree predisposed them to fail. They’ve a distorted belief about the infinite power that resides within them. They don’t realize that they may not change the past but they are the authors of their future and they have the necessary power at their disposal if they just believe that they are the creator of their own destiny.

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I’m not here just giving you a pep talk. Go ahead, research, and study. Space doesn’t allow me here to provide you details but there are some biologists who believe that genes can change in your favor. Your inner voice- your true self, can change the pattern of your genes. Yes, you may not be able to change your height, the color of your eyes, and the feature of your face but you definitely have the power to chart a new path for your life, career, and business by changing your genes and in turn by having the right attitude, sharp and quick brain, and healthy body.

Latest scientific discoveries about the brain- more specifically neuroplasticity, also demonstrate that our IQ isn’t fixed; our brain didn’t stop growing when we were young. Unlike past beliefs, most of which are faulty, our brain is limitless and an ever expanding organ. It changes, adopts, and our neurons multiply on a daily basis. It isn’t that it doesn’t grow. What you’re feeding it to grow that matters. You could feed it defeats, excuses, and limitations and it grows and becomes powerful to fulfill your self-prophecies against your own destiny. Or feed it great things, as you’re born great with unlimited potential, it grows to shape your future and deliver for you a glorious destiny. It’s up to you. The question is: Are you willing to go beyond using lame excuses to define, shape, and attain your glorious destiny? You can do it by changing your attitude, accepting responsibilities, taking bold and positive actions one at a time. I can only see a bright future for you. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help…


Dr. Assegid (AZ) Habtewold is a motivational speaker at Success Pathways, LLC. His passion is to inspire people to make positive changes in their attitude, mindset, values, and in turn to take bold actions to transform their lives, professions, and organizations. To learn more about the themes of AZ’s motivational speeches, check out this page: http://successpws.com/?page_id=20 The list isn’t complete. If the topics you’re looking for couldn’t make it to the list; let’s know, we can come up with the right topic and customize it for your audience.

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Communication Strategies for Technical Professionals


Last week, I posted on my face-book timeline a casual statement saying “Many people told me that my accent is OK & they understand me very well. It’s very hard to stop being OK when you’ve EXCELLENCE as a value.” Considering English is not my native language, and we were taught English poorly while we were in High School and College, I’ve come a long way. Nonetheless, I’m working on my accent on a consistent basis even if more than 90% of English language native speakers understand me 100% of the time. This status post attracted some interests from some of my face-book friends, and also from some acquaintances off line. I’m not here to further talk about what have been already discussed there. You may check it out yourself, and if you’re interested, add your say 🙂

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In this quick blog, nonetheless, I’d like to clarify one important thing for those who struggle to work on their accent. I met some great friends and colleagues who struggle to buy into the idea of modifying their accent to communicate better. Regardless of having thick accent, which is getting in the way and affecting their career advancement, they don’t want to do something about it. They may have so many reasons why they’re not taking action but it boils down to one thing, I figured 🙂 They don’t have passion to see it through. The root cause of lack of passion is one- you’re not desperate enough to change. You’re some how surviving regardless of that limitation so why should you invest your time and energy while you’ve so many other important and urgent things that need your attention 🙂 Understandable, right?

The other reason is a belief. Many of the people I had a chance to strike conversation about accent consider acquiring another accent as if they’re betraying their native culture. When you’ve that kind of invisible belief behind the scene, it sabotages your success by denying you to have motivation. While you are in this mode, it’s unlikely that you invest your scarce resources such as your time and energy in order to modify your accent since acquiring a new accent takes time, and a serious commitment to learn and, most importantly, practice what you’ve learned.

Personally, I don’t feel like acquiring the accent of a given culture I live in as betraying my native culture. I know who I’m, from where I came from, and also celebrate many of my culture’s heritages. On the other hand, if my desire is to succeed in a new culture, I need to be flexible, and adapt things that are important in that culture. What is your goal? When people understand you easily and clearly, they always look forward to have conversation with you, relate, and work with you. When that happens you keep your relationships and in turn succeed in what you do. One of my favorite motivational speakers- Les Brown, said, “Effective communication is the number one tool to succeed in any endeavor. Communication determines whether people vote for you; write you a check; invest in what you do; and buy your services and products.”

The bottom line is that the purpose of communication is to understand and be understood. If your native accent stands in the way and prevents you from being understood in the place where you work and live, modifying it isn’t betraying your native culture. It’s called being reasonable, flexible, and most importantly, being humble- going the extra mile to serve others who don’t speak like you. What you’re doing is making the lives of the people you work and hangout with easy and pleasant. Of course, many people may reciprocate and attempt to understand your accent that you may not need to make lots of efforts. But, you don’t have control over that. For that matter, let’s be honest, you’re a ‘minority’ and the one who benefits the most from being flexible. Don’t you think? Believe me, I understand what I’m talking here. Myself, I struggled a lot initially until I betrayed (not my culture) my ego, and began investing on acquiring a new accent. I’d have done the same if I move to Italy, India, or Ghana to live and work there. Therefore, do your part and see what you’ve been missing 🙂

Of course, improving one’s accent is just one part of becoming an extraordinary communicator. Let me give you a practical example how lack of communication has been getting in the way and preventing many technical professionals from advancing in their career. I’ve been a technical person: a veterinarian, and then an IT guy worked as a researcher, production operator, and software engineer for multinational organizations since the turn of the new century up until 2007. I’d worked with so many great colleagues who were superb in their technical skills. Because of that they were rewarded, promoted, and admired a lot. Some of these professionals, however, stopped there. They thought that the most important things for their career success were their hard skills, and therefore, they neglected their interpersonal skills.

These professionals, though experienced and qualified, they struggled to climb the corporate ladder because of lack of interpersonal skills such as the inability to communicate with diverse stakeholders from different upbringings, cultures, professional backgrounds, etc. Many technical professionals in accounting, medicine, engineering, maths, 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 what have made them successful technically and thus far, would take them to the next height. Marshall Goldsmith disagrees. He said, “What got you here won’t get you there.”

By the way, because of the critical role communication plays, I provide Communication Strategies workshops for technical professionals. This one-day workshop enables participants to overcome communication barriers and become effective communicators. It empowers them to develop effective communication, improves their listening ability, increases their competency to cross cultures without committing deadly sins, and more.It’s a very dynamic and interactive workshop designed to engage participants in pairing, and small and large group discussions. The workshop is filled with latest insights, models, tools, and processes that equip participants to take their communication ability to the next level, and in turn succeed in their personal, professional, and business endeavors. Let me know if your people need this workshop. Your team and organization greatly benefit a lot and at many levels when your people are great communicators. When that happens, your organization achieve high productivity, synergy, harmony, and most importantly, you’ll experience less conflict and minimal turn over…


Assegid (AZ) Habtewold is a trainer at Success Pathways, LLC. He provides trainings on technical, managerial, and business skills including Communications Strategies for technical professionals in science, accounting, medicine, IT, engineering, and so on. Here is the page that provides more info about Success Pathways’ Communication Strategies workshop:  http://successpws.com/?page_id=1503 To learn more about the other available training themes, check this link: http://successpws.com/?page_id=1411 

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