Develop & hone your soft skills continually

The last and third takeaway from my speech last Sunday was the need to develop and hone our leadership skills consistently if our desire is to succeed and continually excel as 21st C professionals, leaders, and/or entrepreneurs. Technical know-how and skills may take you hours or days (in some cases weeks) to understand and master.

On the contrary, developing many of the soft skills necessary to lead may take you months, if not years. What is challenging, you cannot just develop and shelf them forever. You have to constantly improve them on a consistent basis without being tired.

For example, initially, you may succeed to communicate in writing and verbally under normal circumstances. As you advance in your leadership and the more your scope increases, the more advanced communication skills you desperately need. For instance, ordinary communication competency you learned last year or ages ago 🙂 doesn’t cut it when you find yourself in a stormy situation as you deal with a thorny customer, teammate, what have you. It doesn’t help as you struggle to lead your team out of a crisis.

As you can imagine, I cannot share here with you everything you should know, tools, models, and approaches you should use to work on your soft skills to take your leadership to the next level. I encourage you to read good books, attend seminars, webinars, get a coach, and most importantly, practice what you learn.

If you are interested to check it out, I wrote a book that identified 12 soft skills that make or break your success. You can get the book from Amazon or just download the pdf version and begin reading right away:

Leadership begins with self

The 2nd takeaway from my speech on last Sunday was ‘leaders who 1st fix themselves can only fix what is on the outside of them’.

I used to think that I am a leader to fix this troubled world, other people, and institutions than myself who needed the huge fixing 🙂

Sadly, on a daily basis, we see novice to senior leaders out there who try to influence others before they do themselves, the most difficult being you will ever face. But, we cannot lead what we cannot manage.

We cannot manage what we don’t know, and that is why self awareness is the key and foundation to self management and in turn self leadership.

If you are interested to increase your self awareness and ultimately influence others, check out the first chapter of my book ‘Soft Skills That Make or Break Your Success’:

Leading a purpose-oriented living

One of the 3 takeaways I shared yesterday at the ESFP 2nd dinner gala was the importance of purpose-oriented lifestyle, to take leadership (or initiate a project or open a business) that aligns with your purpose (or your cause, passion, calling, what have you).

Be it GREAT business owners, inventors, change agents from history took leadership in the area which was very close to their heart- something they cared so much.

Those who were out to chase just money, popularity, and things like that that are nothing to do with what matters to them the most intrinsically didn’t make it, even if they made it, it didn’t last.

Ethiopian Ambassador to the US, his Excellency Fistum Arega

What about you? Are you serving where you are passionate? Are you leading a purpose-oriented lifestyle?

To learn more about the latter and read the stories of great ones from diverse cultures, generations, and age groups who led a purpose-oriented lifestyle, check out my 4th book, which provides the three pillars of GREATNESS:

Huge Thanksgiving discount to download our books for just 3.99 USD

As we celebrate this Thanksgiving season, one thing I wish you to be thankful for is how much you are highly favored and created to manifest greatness in your own unique way. You’re a greatness material. No one ever been created and will ever be created in your likeness. You’re unique and a precious gift to your community.

Regardless of your limitations and flaws, you are the one your community has been waiting for so long and desperately to serve it in the area of your passion. You are born in this century for a very strong reason than just to barely survive and get by. You are meant to serve your community and organization with your unique purpose and talent. This is the hour you have been waiting for. This is your time to shine as you serve others based on your talent and gift.

To help you develop the right mindset and skills set that empower you to live up to your full potential, I wrote three great books. I was where you are today. I was sorry for myself. I’m humbled today where I actually live each day pursuing my passion in life empowering leaders in the US. If you told me that I’ll one day talk like this and write these books with these titles, I’d have doubted you and questioned your sanity.

I didn’t know that I was greatness material. What I heard and kept hearing for years was that people like me were meant to just get by and try our best to just survive. However, when I studied the great ones from diverse cultures and generations, I learned that they were like you and me when they began their greatness journey. They were not sure whether they would one day be great and serve their community with excellence. They had a glimpse of who they truly were and the full potential they carried. They took a risk and ventured out to serve their respective communities based on their purpose in life. They envisioned the completion of their purpose and demonstrated an unwavering commitment to what mattered to them the most.

Of course, having the right mindset wasn’t enough. In their generation, there were maybe many who had the same attitude without the necessary competencies. The great ones you and I admire developed certain key competencies, which in turn enabled them to turn their dreams into realities.

My friend, you are worthier than where you are right now. You are a miracle waiting to be manifested to the world in grand style. You supposed to unleash the greatness chained within you during your lifetime. I believe in you. Why? Many discounted and failed to read what I have to say. You are different. You are eager to read what I have to say! I wrote these three books for crazy people like you! They help you develop the right mindset and soft skills necessary to unchain your greatness.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I’m giving you a huge discount that lasts only till this coming Sunday. Download my books only for 3.99 USD each and read to configure/reconfigure your mindset and develop/refine your soft skills to tap into your full potential and ultimately unchain your greatness.

If you are an underdog like myself and have been thinking you don’t amount to anything meaningful, well, you have come to the right place. Let’s make history together. Let’s give our best and play our fair share to transform our life, community, and organization. The 21st C calls on you to step up and be who you truly are and to give your best…

You will be surprised, as I did. I spent more than 2 decades to study and narrate the story of the great ones from diverse cultures, which are incorporated in my books. What I learned was that the great ones you and I admire were in the position where you are now today until they made a shift in their mindset, ventured out boldly, and developed the necessary competencies that allowed them to unchain their greatness to the fullest.

You are not far away to tap into your full potential and die empty giving your best in the area of your passion. This is time to come out of your comfort zone and live up to your potential. This is your season. You have come to this page because this is your turn to step into your greatness journey. Click this link and download the three books that enable you to develop the right mindset and the necessary soft skills you need to unchain your greatness:

Three of our books are available in PDF format

Whether you are a professional or business owner or a school teacher or mom or dad or supervisor or manager or executive, you cannot succeed in your leadership role without continually growing. One of the avenues to grow is reading books.

If you are a person who would like to have the right mindset and skillset necessary to succeed and become great in what you do, check out my latest three books. They are now available in pdf format.

Click the links below which take you to the landing pages that provide more info and a PayPal Buy Now button to pay 6.99 USD for each book, download and bein reading these great books.

  1. Unchain Your Greatness
  2. The Highest Level of Greatness
  3. Soft Skills That Make or Break Your Success

Soft Skills That Make or Break Your Success free download

Download for free more than 60 pages of the book ‘Soft Skills That Make or Break Your Success’.

To sign up with your email and then download the pdf file, click here…

Excelling in Your Management & Leadership Skills

Whether you are a business owner, project manager, department head, community leader, or just a professional who would like to excel in your ability to lead others, you need to attend this timely workshop. The workshop is going to be facilitated by Dr. Assegid Workalemahu Habtewold. He is an author, speaker, coach, and trainer who has been empowering managers and leaders in some government agencies, major corporations, and community organizations in the US.

You are already a leader and have achieved some form of success. However, it takes intentional growth to take your management and leadership competency to the next level. You need to learn the latest management and leadership insights, tools, approaches, and models from the experts to excel in your management and leadership competency. If your desire is to go to the next height, manage and lead others successfully, you should invest in yourself. You should be proactive and go ahead of the curve. This journey should start with developing the right mindset and some mandatory skillsets.

In this dynamic and interactive workshop, Assegid will share with you latest management and leadership insights, principles, models, tools, and approaches he has used to empower leaders in the US in the past 10 years by contextualizing them within the Ethiopia culture and workplace settings. The workshop emphasizes the importance of managing and leading yourself first before you successfully manage and lead others. You could also clearly see that you cannot manage and lead successfully without the ability to manage your scarce resources such as time, finance, and energy effectively. Managing emotions, forming and leading an effective team that functions like a well oiled-machine, properly managing your projects and change are also critical to succeed as a leader of the 21st C. Whether you are a beginner or experienced leader, whether you are at the top or in the middle, the management and leadership skills you develop in this workshop would empower you to lead 360 degree. It enables you to have continual influence wherever you may be in the organizational hierarchy.

Thus, sign up for this one-day intensive workshop to learn latest and practical management and leadership insights, models, tools, approaches, and skillsets that empower you to excel and take your leadership competency to the next level.

Learning Objectives:

  • Distinguish the difference between managers and leaders
  • Learn how leadership starts with self
  • Recognize the place of self-awareness to succeed in managing and leading others
  • Acquire tools that enable to manage self and attain personal mastery
  • Understand how emotions are formed and how to develop one’s emotional intelligence
  • Develop the ability to tap into one’s emotions to achieve great results
  • Realize the need to manage time and energy to increase productivity
  • Use tools and approaches that empower one to prioritize, schedule, and protect time
  • Form and lead a team that functions like a well oiled machine
  • Learn the most important principles of successful project management
  • Gain insights and methods to manage, lead, and finish projects successfully
  • Understand how to initiative, implement and lead change in changing times
  • Recognize different change models and choose the one that guides your change process
  • Pinpoint the source of resistances and how to overcome resistance to change
  • And more.

Target Group: Business Owners, Professionals, Supervisors, Managers, and Community Leaders.

Date: Saturday, August 3rd, 2019

Time: 9 am – 5 pm

Place: ICT Mart Bldg Arat Kilo, Behind Tourist Hotel, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Contact Info: American College of Technology (ACT) Tel: +251 95 504 0404

Pre-registration is required: To reserve your seat, sign up at Eventbrite. Limited space: First come first served basis.

Intensive Leadership Development Workshop

The initial flyer of the July 6th, 2019 intensive leadership development workshop. Take advantage of this opportunity and register by going to the Eventbrite page shared on the flyer. 200 USD per person value for free. Register quickly before the few remaining seats are taken. Volunteers and Sponsors are most welcomed. If you would like to volunteer or sponsor, reach out to me. Hope to see you there… #PROLeadershipAfrica

The Place of Leadership Development to Implement the Ethiopian Education Roadmap

Ethiopian Science and Academic Network and One Pupil organized a conference at Ethiopian Embassy in Washington DC on May 18th, 2019. Congratulations to the team for organizing such a successful event. We need these kinds of platforms to deliberate and strategize on how to improve our education system, one of the key factors to transform our country. The theme of my 15 minutes presentation was “The Place of Leadership Development to Implement the Ethiopian Education Roadmap.” This article captures the main essence of the presentation.

From the start, I disclaimed that I’m not here as an expert on
education, but rather, as a leadership practitioner who began taking lead as a youth leader in the early 90’s. As the president of AAU students’ union, in the late 90’s, I had also some golden opportunities to witness the place of leadership from a very close distance- from the classroom to the ministerial level. I was lucky to serve together with some great student leaders, and work with faculty and department heads. Unfortunately, I also observed some failed leadership while I was traveling to the different faculties of AAU, a few universities outside of Addis, and some government offices. In short, I had enough exposures to attest the vital place of leadership for our education system.

I was also there presenting as a leadership professional. I wrote books, articles, and blogs on the theme of leadership. I’ve been coaching and training leaders of some government agencies, major corporations, and community organizations here in the US. During my recent travel to Ethiopia, last November, I had chances to conduct some consultative discussions, make keynotes, and facilitate workshops for some corporations and learning institutions. I am grateful for the opportunities I was given. These experiences allowed me to closely witness the eagerness of the leadership of these institutions to bring leadership experts like myself to empower their people. I also saw the hunger and thirst for knowledge from participants. That is to say, I was there presenting as a leadership professional to share my thoughts on how leadership development is critical to implement the Roadmap successfully.

H.E. Fitsum Arega, Ethiopian Ambassador to the US

Before jumping to talk about the vital role leadership plays for the implementation of the Roadmap, I gave a context. Reminding the audience that Ethiopia is experiencing change, I pointed out that in the past people used to say ‘change or risk stagnation’. But, in the 21st C, it’s ‘change or die’. You might have already noticed, many individuals, organizations, and communities ‘died’ because they had resisted change. Like the dinosaurs, many ‘died’ because they failed to befriend with change. They were unable to make a deep change on time. Otherwise, all victims of change tried to catch up with it but it was too late. They were stubborn to undergo deep change when it mattered the most and paid dire prices.

Ethiopia now is in a critical juncture aspiring to undergo a
transformational change. This is encouraging. Hope is on the horizon. However, we should understand that change means one thing to some and another altogether to others. It is subjective. What is more? Change has also levels: Superficial and Deep.

For example, if my current shoe is hurting me, I just need to buy a new one. I don’t need to go through lots of structural and deep changes. However, if I had an accident and if I broke my leg, I need a deep change that may include amputating my leg and having a substitute. Another example. If a company is experiencing a revenue decline, it may need to make some quick changes to reverse gear and begin increasing its income. Nonetheless, if a company is losing its customers in mass and its market share going down the spiral, it has to go deep change before it goes bankrupt. This kind of change, nevertheless, demands to change at so many levels including the top leadership, the policies, brand, and the underlining culture of the organization.

Depending on where we are, we can choose either level of change. Both are relevant in their rightful place. But, we have to stop and make that call wisely. Sustainable development at the national level calls for a deeper change. In my personal opinion, the kind of change that Ethiopia needs at this juncture is deep change, not superficial. If we are on the same page on this, for a given deep change to succeed, the least, these must be carried out:
1. Reforming the culture
2. Putting in place the necessary laws
3. Building/rebuilding institutions
4. Remodeling the education system
5. Developing the people

Though each of these is important, in my presentation, I only
highlighted the last two points. In my future writings, I may cover the remaining top three. For now, as you may already know, Ethiopia decided to reform its education system. That is why we have now a new Roadmap. This is outstanding.

As I disclaimed earlier, I wasn’t there as an expert on
education that I didn’t talk about the actual Roadmap and its content. My focus was about the need to raise competent leaders who could implement the Roadmap so that its intentions are translated into concrete results. And, in turn, Ethiopia, through her new education Roadmap, may equip the next generation leaders who enable her experience true transformation in one generation.

Change isn’t a one-time phenomenon. It’s a process. Sometimes, it takes years, even decades. Though change is fluid and doesn’t take a straight-line, for the sake of understanding, let’s break down change into three phases: Initiating, Implementing, and Sustaining. Note that there are many major and mini-steps within each core stage. A given organization or nation may also pass through multiple stages at the same time. The activities that should be carried out under each stage also vary from a given change case to another.

The Roadmap is now in the Initiation phase. There may be some implementations underway though. At this point, it is very critical to think about developing leaders at all levels to implement the Roadmap so that it may achieve its goal and objectives. As the saying goes: ‘leadership makes or breaks’. Look at any nation or organization, even a family. If you see that nation or organization or family flourishing and advancing, no doubt, though there may be other factors, the single most important factor is leadership.

We may not agree with its definition and may remain to argue about what kind of leadership is necessary for a given organization or nation. Interestingly, like beauty, we all know leadership when we see it. When we walk into a place or organization or village, we will immediately sense the presence or absence of leadership. That is why the phrase ‘leadership makes or breaks’ resonates to many around the world.

You can have everything you need for a change and still may not succeed. If there is a lack of proper leadership from the top to bottom, the change will fail. For the Roadmap to get implemented successfully, we need competent leaders. However, we cannot have such leaders without investing our
time, energy, and resources. We need to plan and strategize to develop leaders.

In short, for the Roadmap to bring meaningful change and finally produce productive citizens who are part of the solution to transform Ethiopia, we need to develop the organizational and leadership capacity of leaders from the top to the grassroots- classroom level.

Every new effort starts with an idea, then you write it down, and finally, you implement it. Afterward, you evaluate to see if it worked and attained the intended results. If it succeeded, great, if not, you regroup and start the process all over again. At each level of this flow, we need leadership with unique qualifications.

When the Roadmap was released, it passed the ideation phase. After documenting the new ideas that aimed at improving the education system, next is gathering inputs to improve it and ultimately implement it. The latter is the toughest. That is why going forward, it is key to develop competent leaders at all levels to implement the Roadmap successfully.

We need leaders at all levels. The top leadership- at the Ministry level is the highest leadership that should focus on vision casting, and providing clear directions, and this Roadmap is one of the deliverables of the top leadership and those professionals who consulted and advised the leadership. The vision also needs effective strategies. The top leadership in close consultation mainly with leaders at university and college levels, I presume, have already come up with or may still be working on it to enlist potential strategies and tactics to implement the Roadmap. At the end of the day, leaders of faculties and departments, their admin staff, and teachers/faculty members are the ones who play critical leadership roles for the successful implementation of the strategies and tactics on the ground to translate the vision into realities. The vision may abort if there is a lack of competent leadership at this level of the hierarchy. Leadership is especially critical at this level in the hierarchy due to the fact that leaders/teachers not only they should equip their respective students technically, but also they are expected to demonstrate leadership in empowering their students by molding their attitudes, mindsets, people skills, and character. They cannot do that theoretically. They should lead by example. If they themselves aren’t well developed as leaders, they cannot fulfill this obligation. Remember, students may not pay attention to what their leaders/teachers are saying but rather what they do. There is a saying, “Your actions are so loud that I cannot hear you.”

Of course, at the end of the day, we need new breed technocrats in all fields of studies who are not just technically superb but also well equipped as problem solvers, proactive, innovative, and creative geniuses with ‘I can overcome and succeed’ mindset. These are important qualities of leadership. They should also develop character and demonstrate consistency, authenticity, and credibility to serve the public with integrity. These vital leadership attributes should be developed while students are still in school before they go out to serve. Parents and local community leaders, and other stakeholders at the grassroots level should also be empowered to play their respective roles for the successful implementation of the Roadmap.

Developing leaders should be done by following two routes: Short courses to achieve urgent and quick results, and long term programs for lasting solutions. Since implementing and harvesting the results of the new Roadmap takes years, if not decades, the relevant body at ministerial level should prepare for the long term development of leaders at all levels while partnering with other stakeholders to provide quick leadership development courses so that all stakeholders are ready to shoulder their respective leadership responsibilities to implement the Roadmap. The long term effort may require establishing a leadership organ (institute) or partnering with the existing leadership schools at various universities to custom design and provide some leadership programs according to the level of leadership of each stakeholder.

Whether in the short or long term, leadership development efforts should consider developing holistic leaders. The programs should incorporate contents that can produce all rounded leaders who have a) The right mindset and attitude, b) The necessary technical know-how and soft skills (people skill), and c) Character. Providing mere leadership programs that only focus on developing skills doesn’t lead to raising competent leaders. It is like pouring new wine into an old wineskin. We cannot raise new breed leaders who can implement the Roadmap and at the end of the day change the destiny of our country while providing the usual leadership training without addressing outdated and counterproductive mindset and flawed character.

That being said, how can PRO Leadership, a non-profit organization established in 2009 in the US, help in raising competent leaders who can successfully implement the Roadmap? Together with its strategic partners, the following are where it can help:
1. Creating platforms
2. Designing programs
3. Providing contents
4. Delivering motivational speeches, training, and mentoring
5. Evaluating these programs

The good news is that PRO Leadership is going to launch an Initiative called ‘Bridging the Leadership Gaps to Tackle the Major Challenges Africa Faces’ on May 29th here in the US and July 17th in Addis Ababa. The initiative outlined how PRO Leadership teams up with its strategic partners to empower youth and women leaders in Africa, starting from Ethiopia, by engaging the diaspora. During these upcoming two launching events, we will gather the inputs, advice, and suggestions of potential strategic partners.

If you’re in the DC metro area, please join us on May 29th, 2019 @ 5 pm at Veterans Plaza downtown Silver Spring, MD and let’s hear your opinion and how you may want to get involved. If you are in Ethiopia, mark your calendar and we look forward to hearing your inputs as well. In the meantime, PRO Leadership has already begun discussing with some strategic partners here in the US and Ethiopia to begin implementing the Initiative one community at a time, and you and your organization may join us implement this initiative within your own community. To learn more about PRO Leadership and the Initiative, please visit our website

Step into Your Greatness

There are perfectionists. They don’t start anything meaningful without making sure it comes out perfect. They wait, as the saying goes until all traffic lights turn green before they put their foot on the gas pedal 🙂 This is pathological, to say the least.

No one is perfect and nothing can be done perfectly. We and what we produce are work in progress. We shouldn’t wait until we or what we do appear perfect.

You are greatness material. The people that you admire, even sometimes worship, were like you before they stepped into their greatness. They did put one foot followed by another, one step at a time before they ultimately attained greatness.

You too can do the same from wherever you may be right now. Begin small. Use what you have on your hands. Maximize the opportunity that presents to you at the moment.

If you do so, the rest will be history. You will be one of the great world changers. Not only this, but also generations to come will celebrate your boldness, sacrifice, and service. I can see that you are heading toward greatness and there is nothing or no one could stop you. Of course, you may stop yourself, the worst enemy of all.

Remember, I am your cheerleader as you claim your birthright of greatness and step into your greatness. Read my two books to learn more about the kind of greatness you should pursue, and the stages you need to pass through before you unchain your greatness within to the fullest, the stories of great ones from diverse cultures, religions, age groups, and so on. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Learn from others, customize the lessons, and contextualize them in your own world and culture.

Go to Amazon to get your copies and also give gifts to the people you care about. It is your season to shine. It is your turn. Don’t let that pass you by. Don’t die full and insignificant. Die giving your best and as one of my mentors used to say ‘die empty!’