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Below is an article posted on many Ethiopian websites:
Title: PM Abiy and a call to build the capacity of key stakeholders
In my latest commentary, I shared the second leadership attribute of Dr. Abiy, one of the New Breed Leaders of Africa. I pointed out that since he had done his homework and developed his personal growth very well that he outgrew his past leadership positions and outlived the challenges he had been facing. This is my hope that this same quality is one of the virtues that could empower him to lead the country’s transformation successfully.
However, before I cover his third leadership attribute on New Breed Leaders of Africa Facebook page, I’d like to emphasize that the personal development of the top leader alone is not enough to undertake a lasting and sustainable change at this critical moment in the history of our country. Yes, he has a clear vision many including those outside of his party bought in easily. Nonetheless, translating his vision into realities and making a smooth transition to democracy is impossible without having cabinet members, leaders of the various institutions, and departments of his new administration who have well developed personal growth like him. Don’t forget, a nation cannot go any farther than its collective leadership.
That is why it’s very critical for the new PM to assemble cabinet members who share his vision, and those who have also the ability and character to carry out his new mandate. He should appoint those who have done their homework and already worked on their personal growth. Of course, having capable leaders in your team who are constantly able to lead their organizations and teams successfully requires a continuous effort. The PM office should create an office that focuses on empowering the new administration’s leaders’ personal, professional, and leadership development. This is a worthy investment with a high return on investment, and it shouldn’t be taken lightly. This office should be comprised of knowledge management professionals, content designers, facilitators, coaches, and mentors both within and outside of the country including experienced foreign experts in the fields of personal, professional, and leadership development.
Some of you may question and wonder: Why do we need foreigners? Well, simple. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel. We should learn from other countries’ experience. However, we need to customize it to fit our objective conditions on the ground and according to our historical and socio-cultural contexts.
Let’s remember. Ethiopia is a geopolitically positioned strategic country with lots of responsibilities for the stability and prosperity of the region and continent, and beyond. Thus, the new PM has a historic responsibility and a golden opportunity to shape the destiny of the country, and in turn, the Horn and Africa. Nonetheless, this cannot happen unless he has able leaders around him. The question is: Will his party allow him to have the freedom to pick the cabinet members of his choice? Or, at least, can he be given the lion’s share in selecting key cabinet members? We will see.
From the quick research I’ve conducted, PM Abiy has the right attitude; the ability to envision, articulate and communicate his vision, and the capability to execute it; and the character to lead the transition. His vision, which he articulated in his inaugural speech, was inclusive and very powerful. His overall intention, which he has been expressing in recent tours intended to bring together diverse stakeholders, is commendable, to say the least.
Please note that I’m well aware that some stakeholders have already expressed their unhappiness about some of his chosen words, and his priorities so far. By the way, I’m not surprised at all. The stakes are high, and the PM himself has been setting the expectations of all stakeholders high in his speeches and discussions thus far. That being said; however, this is my hope that we Ethiopians employ one of our virtues- patience, to give the new PM a fair chance to prove himself.
Common! He hasn’t even formed his cabinet yet. He is just communicating his vision, strategies, and approaches, most of which are commendable compared to where we have been as a society for the last many decades. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t air your grievances and doubts but delay your conclusion a little bit. Don’t just yet be dismissive. Doing so, at this early point, doesn’t serve anyone well.
I’m not a politician, and don’t have any hidden motive. I ask your patience as someone who cares about our country. I’m sharing my expertise as a leadership expert and workshop facilitator for some government agencies, major corporations, and community organizations for over a decade. I‘ve studied change management cases around the world. A transition isn’t easy, as it seems from afar. There are many factors, players, and phases that the new leader needs to navigate through before he gets a chance to translate his dreams into realities that we all are hoping to see. We’re just at the very first stage of the change process and he is doing his part in this initial phase by communicating his vision and strategies. We too, we should play our roles at this stage proactively.
Please remain optimistic for a while and, of course, while finding ways to negotiate for the consideration of your views, the prioritization of your needs, and the inclusion of your change proposals in the change agendas of the new leader. To be effective in your efforts, please get organized in groups with people who share your goals. Some have already begun doing so and have taken some proactive steps. I applaud the latter. You too, use this critical moment and juncture in our generation to put a dent in the future of your beloved country. Don’t just be an onlooker, and critic alone. Do something while it matters and now! As the saying goes, if not now when; if not you, who?
That being said, PM Abiy cannot turn his dreams- what so ever glorious his vision may appear to him and his supporters- into realities. He cannot turn the liabilities of his party into assets. He cannot also turn the ashes covering this lovely country for so long into beauty without having well-abled leaders from top to bottom in his new administration! Achieving these demands a strong team, not just one or a couple of well-developed leaders at the top. In short, unless the new PM brings in new breed leaders like himself at all levels, it is an uphill battle to fulfill his obligations to lead over 90 million diverse people with different interests and priorities into their Canaan land.
Well, transforming Ethiopia shouldn’t be left to the new administration alone. Other stakeholders such as citizens (inside the country and abroad); opposition parties; the media; civic organizations; community organizations; and regional, continental and global strategic partners and friends of Ethiopia should also play their share in this regard.
However, the reform cannot succeed by having leaders in the new administration who have well developed organizational and leadership capabilities alone. So far, PM Abiy called upon oppositions, civic and community organizations, and the media to play their fair share and engage proactively and meaningfully in creating a vibrant political playing field. He is challenging, especially the oppositions to come out and be equal players with the ruling party. Though his open arms and willingness to welcome and put ‘the alternative parties’ (as he calls them) in a positive light should be appreciated and oppositions should accept his challenge, it should be clear that the opposition parties and the free press need empowerment to develop their organizational and leadership capacity so that they could be able to play their roles.
Though oppositions, civic and community organizations, and the media should be proactive and do their own homework to build their capacity, PM Abiy should also go further than demonstrating his goodwill to work hand in glove with them. He should put in place some laws (revoke others), institutions, and also set aside funding that should be dedicated to developing their capacity. Otherwise, these key stakeholders that are vital to the transformation of Ethiopia into democracy, stability, unity, and prosperity cannot easily and quickly step up to the plate considering where they have been in the past few decades.
At this point, I can see that there may be some complications when a PM of the ruling party showing a vested interest to empower oppositions. I’m also uncertain whether the latter accepts such an offer. If that is the case, what about the PM allowing other stakeholders inside and/or outside of the country to support oppositions and the media to develop their organizational and leadership capacity? This is a win-win. All parties need more helping hands on this…
Many home-based civic, organizational, and leadership institutions should team up to empower both the new administration’s leaders, leaders of the oppositions, civic, community and media organizations. Friends of Ethiopia such as regional, continental, and international institutions that have already been involved in providing development assistance to the nation should be invited to play their share too.
As an Ethiopian-American, I also call upon the US, whose Congress just endorsed HR128, to play a proactive and hands-on role through the appropriate US development agencies in developing the organizational and leadership capacity of key stakeholders including leaders of the new administration, oppositions, media, and civic and community organizations. These key stakeholders need empowerment to implement HR128 resolutions. In order to widen the political space and build democratic institutions, Ethiopia needs to develop its organizational and leadership capability. This is a win-win to both countries. A stable, prosperous, peaceful, healthy, and strong Ethiopia in the Horn of Africa is a win-win to our country and other regional, continental, and international stakeholders who have a strategic interest in the region.
Civic and community organizations in the diaspora and experts in the fields should also contribute their share toward empowering the organizational and leadership capacity of the country.
I’m emphasizing the significance of developing the organizational and leadership capacity of the new administration and other stakeholders because one visionary, charismatic, and well able leader alone cannot lead a lasting and sustainable change in a country like Ethiopia with deep-rooted and complex problems coupled with diverse interest groups. Bringing lasting peace, stability, democracy, good governance, and a vibrant socio-economic and political environment requires going beyond having the goodwill to bring change, the desire to initiate reform, and exuding optimism toward the future. There are necessary soft skills our leaders desperately need to turn their good intentions into realities, their zeal into tangible fruits.
By the way, the business community and citizens too need the same attention since they are key stakeholders in this transitional state the country is in. The young generation stepped up and demanded change and did what they had to including sacrificing their lives with little organizational and leadership empowerment from the grown-ups. If the government is serious about engaging the new generation and making them active players in transforming Ethiopia, it must invest in their capacity to engage by developing their civic, organizational, and leadership skills.
Likewise, regardless of corruption and many other stumbling blocks, the business community tried its best and contributed a lion’s share in the economic development of the nation so far. As the PM himself mentioned during his recent discussion with the community, both public servants and business leaders need to work on their envisioning and execution abilities including developing their project management capability. He also called for discipline, ethics, and character from both sides. However, these things cannot just happen without an upfront investment.
Let me conclude this article by emphasizing the importance of acknowledging the rare opportunity our country just got following the inaugural of Dr. Abiy as the new PM. The latter’s acceptance speech inspired, I’d say, the whole nation except a few. Unfortunately, this new enthusiasm seems to decline in certain sections of our society. Many people on social media began expressing their disagreements with some of the contents of the new PM’s recent speeches. Some started questioning his motives, impartiality, and ability to translate his optimism into realities.
As far as I’m concerned, personally, it’s too early to reach any hasty conclusion. This is the time to try all we can and give our best to equip the key players to undertake their organizational and leadership responsibilities effectively and successfully. They need help. Punitive criticism at this early stage serves little toward our future though essential to air our concerns right away. We have ample time in the future to evaluate and judge the performance of the new administration. Now is the time to roll our sleeves up and do our part first. It’s not yet time to get distracted.
Last but not least, leaders back home- both in the new administration, opposition parties, civic and community organizations and in the media, need to learn from other successful nations, which led fruitful transformations like the one we’re hoping to undertake. Our leaders need to be up-to-the-minutes concerning the latest theories, principles, models, and tools available in the world; especially from countries whose objective conditions and socio-cultural contexts are similar or close to ours.
Zeal alone isn’t enough! Good intentions by itself are inadequate! Vision without execution remains a fantasy! Implementing the change agendas and reforms the new PM promised requires well-prepared, equipped, and empowered executioners at all levels and multiple fronts.
We shouldn’t squander this uncommon chance. The whole world is watching. Can we repeat history? We defeated aggression. Can we defeat poverty, conflict, poor governance, and diseases, the new enemy of Ethiopia, by coming together to achieve our shared goals for the sake of the common good? Could we be able to make the next generations proud? Would they look back to learn that we were capable enough to address our internal differences through dialogue and negotiations without resorting to violence and bloodshed?
Are we willing to be leaders again in Africa in the 21st C as we were during the colonization era? We should make our forefathers proud by resuming our leadership role by taking a leading role to lead the continent out of her shame- chronic poverty, corruption, poor governance, diseases, and so on.
However, we cannot assume leadership again without first putting our house in order. It’s unlikely we could be able to say ‘we’re back’ again while we are unable to settle our differences through dialogue and team up together to address our common challenges. How can we claim leadership without demonstrating that we have the ability to march forward toward a shared destiny as a nation while having some disagreements on the way? If you ask me, at the moment (I’m hopeful going forward), we don’t have the moral ground to be the seat of African Union, let alone to lead our brothers and sisters in Africa as our forefathers and mothers did.
Don’t get me wrong. I know that we didn’t elect him. He may not be your first choice and preference as a national leader. You may have some disagreement with his ideologies, worldviews, and policies. However, here we are. We have now a smart, inclusive, and well-versed leader who expressed his willingness to lead us all into our Canaan. Why cannot we tap into this opportunity?
Let’s give him a little bit time. Most importantly, let’s support him where we can and on issues we agree so that he may have enough leverage to force his own party (those who are fighting to maintain the status quo) makes genuine reforms. Those of us who have the means, expertise, influence, and connections, let’s play our fair share in empowering leaders of the new administration, oppositions, civic and community organizations, the media, and businesses to help them navigate this important season in our history and finally make sure the transition goes smoothly. This call is for all concerned Ethiopians back home, here in the Diaspora, and friends of Ethiopia whose desire is to see a democratic, prosperous, and stable Ethiopia, the Horn, and the continent of Africa.
Assegid Habtewold, Bridge Builder
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If you’re a leader, manager, or a supervisor or even a mere team member in any field, and if you’ve not read the little book ‘The One Minute Manager’, you should do it right away. “With more than two million hardcover copies in print, The One Minute Manager ranks as one of the most successful management books ever published.”
That being said, my goal here and right now is not to promote this book. I thought to share with you what the author, who is recognized as a management and leadership guru worldwide, Ken Blanchard said about Jesus. He wrote, “Everything I had ever taught or written about effective leadership during the past thirty-five years, Jesus did to perfection, beyond my ability to portray or describe. I realized that Christians have more in Jesus than just a spiritual leader; we have a practical and effective leadership model for all organizations, for all people, for all situations.” I conquer!
That is why based on my book entitled ‘Soft Skills That Make or Break Your Success’, I will use Jesus as a role model and show you, in my upcoming Facebook live chats, how the 12 soft skills recognized in the book allowed Jesus to succeed in His earthly ministry more than 2000 years ago. Those of you who are interested to read the book, which is written for anyone regardless of your religious affiliation and based on a case study in one of the leading research organizations, is available on Amazon.
However, as a way of giving back to the continent I came from, Africa and my own fellow Habesha leaders, professionals, and business owners who understand English, I’ll show you how Jesus, other Biblical characters, and past and contemporary leaders from the corporate world have had these soft skills that contributed to their outstanding success.
I’ll share with you insights, stories, and most importantly, tools that can help you take your already existing soft skills to the next height. This is especially transformational to the immigrant community in the Diaspora. Your talents, gifts, intellect, hard work, and so on aren’t enough to succeed in the West. You need to develop the 12 soft skills that make or break your success in the new culture you live and work.
Remember, I wrote this book based on my experience as a trainer for some government agencies, major corporations, and non-profit organizations. These organizations pay thousands of dollars to offer workshops to their leaders, managers, supervisors, and team members on these themes. Thus, don’t miss this opportunity. It’s free.
I’ll post more updates before the launch of this Facebook live chat. In the meantime, I’d like to hear your suggestions. I also encourage you to share this good news with the people you know who may benefit from this program.
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Oprah Winfrey’s acceptance speech when she received the Cecil B. DeMille award at the Golden Globes was inspirational. Here are three significant takeaways from her speech:
- Those who watched her shine on the stage today are tomorrow’s candidates in whatever field they may choose to dedicate their lives
- Time is up for those who undermine the dignity of any human being regardless of their gender, ethnicity, and race.
- A new day is on the horizon.
I. Tomorrow’s candidates
Winfrey had been on the bench and watching while other stars before her were honored to receive this the same award. These awardees inspired her when she was young. Now, this happens to be her turn to inspire millions of kids who watched her make this historic speech. Her story especially resonates to those who are wondering whether they too have what it takes to reach the height she attained in their respective field and industry. We strongly believe that, if they develop her mindset, dedication to grow continually, the courage to take bold actions, and determination to outlast the setbacks she had been facing, no doubt, today’s spectators are tomorrow’s candidates to inspire many others. Wherever you may be in life right now, don’t listen to the little voice within that belittles you. Don’t bow down to the noise around you that tries its best to lower your expectations. You have the seed of greatness within. You have the potential. You will be one of the great world changers in the area of your passion. You have a purpose unique to you. Find that cause and give it your best. It’s your ticket to attain personal fulfillment, serve others with excellence, and inspire many others with your story of overcoming seemingly unbeatable odds. Your hour of greatness will undoubtedly come at the right time. Don’t give up…
II. Time is up
Winfrey said, “For too long, women have not been heard or believed if they dare speak the truth to the power of those men. But their time is up. Their time is up.” ‘Time’s up’ is a movement. Movements don’t just happen. Multiple factors lead to a particular movement. This is one of the proudest moments in the history of humanity where courageous women and men stood against abuses. We’re in the 21st C, and we should never tolerate abuses against any human being because of their gender, race, ethnicity, and so on. A human being is an image of God. God is Spirit, and a human being is a spirit housed in a bio suit. Many use the outside body to think that they’re better than others and belittle others who don’t have the same physical attributes they have. That is superficial. The inner man/woman doesn’t have gender or color or cultural affiliation. A just God equally created us all in His own image. The least we can do to others is to give them the same respect we have for ourselves. Discriminating, and abusing another human being shouldn’t be tolerated in the 21st C. Time’s up!
III. A new day is on the horizon
Winfrey finished her speech on a high note. That is awesome. Yes, there are many troubles around the world. These afflictions of humanity seem insurmountable. It’s easy to feel helpless, down, and give up altogether. However, we are humans. We have come a long way. We have beaten so many unspeakable odds and overcame many tragedies collectively. We have the ability and what it takes to overcome, and Winfrey is hopeful that a NEW DAY is on the horizon. No doubt! Our better days are ahead. Let’s all contribute our share wherever we are for the advancement of humanity, to overcome poverty, diseases, violence, discrimination, and abuses. Here is how she concluded her speech: “I’ve interviewed and portrayed people who’ve withstood some of the ugliest things life can throw at you, but the one quality all of them seem to share is an ability to maintain hope for a brighter morning, even during our darkest nights. So I want all the girls watching here, now, to know that a new day is on the horizon! And when that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women, many of whom are right here in this room tonight, and some pretty phenomenal men, fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say ‘Me too’ again.”
Oprah Winfrey’s speech inspired us because, at PRO Leadership, we firmly believe that leadership is the birthright of all. Each individual has a unique place to take the lead according to her or his purpose in life. However, though there is a leadership gap in every society in the world, we have focused on raising leaders in developing countries. The simple reason is that leadership is more needed in developing countries that are more affected by the major ills of the world.
We also believe that though women shoulder more responsibilities in their communities, organizations, and nations, they aren’t at the front where they have the passion and ability to lead. That is why we advocate for women’s leadership. We cannot address the challenges we face in our communities, organizations, and societies without removing barriers such as discrimination, abuses, and biases against women, and without empowering them to the fullest.
We also believe that the future is for the youth. The destiny of every community, organization, and nation is in the hands of its youth. Unfortunately, many institutions and societies don’t invest in their youth proactively. There is a huge generational gap, which needs serious attention.
Accordingly, PRO Leadership aims at bridging the three (Geographic, gender, and generational) leadership gaps. Join this movement and let’s bridge these gaps and tackle the major ills your community, organization, and society are facing.
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I discovered that those few who achieved envious greatness due to these 6 Ds:
- Detested mediocrity.
- Declared their freedom, at least, within.
- Dared to leave their comfort zone.
- Despised playing it safe.
- Dived into the unknown to live up to their full potential.
- Defied fear and stepped into their greatness boldly.
How many of the Ds have you embraced thus far? Which ones you haven’t yet, and why? What is keeping you at bay from tapping into your greatness within? What is preventing you from stepping into your birthright of greatness?…]
Live from Washington DC: a Conversation with Ethiopian author Assegid Habtewold
Posted by IOM – UN Migration Agency on Tuesday, September 19, 2017
Great leaders have personal mastery. They first conquered self before attempting to conquer the outside world and others. They know who they are, their strengths, weaknesses, blind spots, and clear about their values. They regulate their emotions, manage their time, energy, resolve the problems they face, and also make ethical decisions they face on a consistent basis…
Not only that, extraordinary leaders get along with diverse people successfully. They know their place in their community, team, and organization. They play their unique roles. They communicate effectively, turn conflicts into opportunities, and have high cultural intelligence.
Outstanding leaders lead others successfully because they first developed personal mastery, they first led themselves successfully. They’ve got along with people from diverse backgrounds, priorities, cultures, religions, political ideologies, and so on. They are good in inspiring their people to aim high. They develop their team by giving them individual attention, by mentoring and coaching. They are skillful negotiators for win-win deals. They also know how to lead change smoothly.
If you would like to join these elite group of unique leaders, you need to develop personal mastery, get along with and lead others successfully. And, the new book of Dr. Assegid Habtewold, founder of PRO Leadership, provides you the 12 top soft skills that are vital to take your life, career, and business to the next level.
Go to www.successpws.com, New Book page, and download the first part of the book for free by subscribing at the middle of the page. If you like what you read in the first 40 pages of the book, well, you can go to Amazon to purchase the book only 9.99 USD.
If you have young kids, siblings, relatives, colleagues, and friends, this is a gift worth giving. You’re investing in this future. Plant this seed in their life, it will give them latest insights and tools to develop their soft skills that make or break their future.
If you have a business, team, and leader of your organization, well, why don’t you invite the author to come and facilitate workshops for your team based on all or some of the soft skills.
In the meantime, consider watching his interview with a local media based on his new book. The interview was conducted in Amharic (not in English): https://ethsat.com/…/esat-yetsehafian-dimtsoch-reeyot-dr-a…/
If you’re the DC Metro area (invite also leaders who may be interested), attend the upcoming two events. On Agust 19th, this coming Saturday, Assegid is going to facilitate a 2-hr FREE workshop at Sholla, downtown Silver Spring. On Sep 2 -3, he also facilitates a 2-day boot camp style workshop at Sholla, 300 USD per person. For more, check the attached flyer…
If you’re in the DC metro area and available, this is great news. I’m going to facilitate an interactive workshop based on my new book entitled ‘Soft Skills That Make or Break Your Success: 12 soft skills to master self, get along with, and lead others successfully’. In this one hour fast paced but engaging presentation, I’ll empower my audience to take their life, career, and business to the next level by sharing with them key insights, processes, and tools they can immediately use in the work and marketplaces.
Please note that as leaders, we need to work on our soft skills on a consistent basis. We need those soft skills vital to achieving personal mastery. Leaders who succeeded to lead (master) self, lead others better than those who lack personal mastery. Leaders who developed self-leadership can lead others successfully.
Though personal mastery is a foundation, it’s just the first step of a protracted journey. As leaders, not only we are expected to get along with our team members, but also we are obliged to get along and work with our peers, internal and external customers, and other diverse stakeholders successfully.
Besides, we need to equip ourselves with the soft skills that enable us to lead our team by motivating them to aim high, empowering them through coaching and mentoring, engaging them in constant win-win negotiations, and transforming the team to handle changes.
In short, if your desire is to take your leadership ability to the next level, you cannot afford to neglect your soft skills. And, this presentation provides you a high-level overview of the 12 soft skills that make or break your leadership.
The event is organized by 21st C Community. It’s going to be at the Civic Building, Veterans Plaza, Downtown Silver Spring (One Veterans Place, Silver Spring, MD 20910) @ 6 pm.
By the way, two of my books are door prizes. The first two persons who will come first will be rewarded. Be one of them!
For more info about the event, please check out this link: http://successpws.com/?p=2340
PRO Leadership Global Inc. (www.proleadership.org) is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization based in Maryland, US. PRO Leadership PROmotes leadership, PROduces leaders to bridge the leadership gaps (Geographic, Gender, and Generational gaps) to tackle the major ills worldwide one community at a time. If you would like to support what we do, feel free to reach out to us, and be part of the movement.