Volkmar Vรถlzke'sย BLOG


โ„๏ธ 3 Things I Learned This Year

After 680 issues, this is the last Friday Noon Memo . Thank you for staying with me over the past 13 years (or part of the time).

In the future, I will focus on German-speaking readers (although I still deliver my services in English as well).

You can sign up here for the German-language "Montag Morgen Impuls". (If I was able to identify you as a German speaker, I've already done the registration for you.)

Thanks again for joining me. We'll stay in touch via LinkedIn or other channels.

Now, here's the last memo:

This year was a special one in many ways, unfortunately not only positive. But as I keep saying, it is important to see every situation as a learning opportunity, even if it is negative.

The universe has lessons in store for us all the time. The only question is whether we see them as such.

I know very well that the situation is incredibly difficult for many people right now. And that is precisely why it is so important to look ahead.

So before I go into the Christmas...

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๐Ÿ•บ How To Boost Your Motivation

I don't know about you, but I am demotivated at times. That is quite normal. (Maybe you're breathing a sigh of relief now because you thought I was always and everywhere fully motivated).

Motivation can be lost for a variety of reasons. And it can happen to anyone.

The difference between very successful and fulfilled people and the mediocre is primarily in two areas:

  • Awareness of the fact that we can control our own motivation in a targeted manner.
  • The recognition of beliefs that repeatedly cause demotivation in us

The good news is that you can work on both of these causes.

I notice again and again with my coaching clients how effective it is to improve one's own sustained high motivation with coaching support. (You can also do it on your own, but it's much more difficult because you often don't recognize the causes properly).

Why is this important?

Well, for yourself for one thing: You simply achieve more with more joy. And on the other hand, your motivation - and your...

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๐Ÿ‘ Why We Need More Actual Teams

There are huge differences between groups, committees and teams.

Simply put, teams multiply their forces, while groups just add them up. 10x10x10 is a different number than 10+10+10. True winning teams even manage to multiply their strengths.

Why is it, then, that in most companies I encounter much more the group than the team idea?

In a group, everyone works on their own tasks rather than on common big goals.

And do you know where I find most groups instead of teams? In the boardroom!

The management often consists of a collection of individual fighters instead of a real team. And since the management automatically has a role model function, this usually continues throughout the company.

Even if such companies have been reasonably successful so far, they could certainly achieve much more with more fun if they would think and act more as a winning team from now on.

To help you apply this idea in a practical way, here are 3 characteristics of teams - and thus ideas on how you can...

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๐Ÿ˜ฌ The Biggest Difference Between Success And Mediocrity

If you asked me what is the biggest difference between those people who consistently succeed no matter the circumstances, and those who fail or stay mediocre it is this:

The consistently successful ones follow a simple yet extremely powerful process each time they face any kind of challenge: 

  • Accept the challenge
  • Learn
  • Take massive action in a new direction

Does this sound overly simplistic? Then think twice and check the last challenge you mastered successfully, compared to one at which you failed. Chances are high that in the successful case, you followed exactly these 3 steps, perhaps even subconsciously. 

In contrast, mediocre people and organizations follow a different process: 

  • Deny the challenge or be overwhelmed by the challenge.
  • Try to figure out a solution by yourself.
  • Make little hesitant steps.
  • Complain how tough it all is.

This is NOT exaggerated, but exactly the pattern I see over and over again in companies that struggle to succeed boldly. Here...

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โณ The 5 Biggest Wastes of Time in Leadership

The expression "I don't have time" I debunked in the last Friday Noon Memo as a phrase that means nothing more than "this is not important to me" ( read here).

Here comes another angle of this fact: you may very well be able to pack a lot more into your time (everyone has 24 hours of it per day) if you finally stop wasting it.

In other words, each of us wastes our time on things that are not top priority.

As a result, we don't get to the really important issues - and then say, "I never have enough time." However, it's just that: The cause lies in our waste of time.

The problem: this waste is mostly promoted by the subconscious, based on our deeply anchored beliefs.

So we waste time because we (our subconscious) think it's good and right. How can you change that?

Here are 5 typical - surprising for many leaders - causes of time wasting that I recommend to stop immediately:

  1. Repeated discussion of decisions.

    I can hardly believe it myself how often I see this kind of time wasting in...

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๐Ÿ™ˆ Your Ignorant Mind

A couple of years ago, one of the best violinists of the world, Joshua Bell, participated in an experiment.

The artist, whom people easily spend 500 dollars to see in a concert hall, was playing in the entrance of a subway station. He selected some of the most exciting compositions for his unusual “concert” and played them with the same virtuosity and passion on his three million dollar Stradivarius that he played with at his highly paid concerts.

The results of this forty-five-minute experiment were eye-opening if not surprising for many: hardly any of the more than 1000 people who passed him during this time noticed him, even though the music was loud and clear. A very few listened for some seconds or minutes, and only a couple of people gave money.

There are several aspects to this situation. However, two of them struck me:

  1. There was a lottery booth directly beside the musician where people constantly lined up to buy their lottery tickets. None of these people, who...
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๐Ÿ—ฃ๏ธ Five Typical Expressions - Decoded

For managers, it is particularly crucial to express themselves clearly and unambiguously on the one hand and to understand others correctly on the other.

This is often more difficult than it sounds. Because we all use "coded language." That is, we say one thing but actually mean something else.

This discrepancy between what we say and what we mean often goes so far that we no longer even notice it ourselves. So we use a personal code for certain expressions of our language.

This may sound frightening, but it is completely normal. Difficulties arise when we have different "decoding programs", i.e. when we associate something different with the sender's words than the sender means (whether consciously or unconsciously).

If you as a manager know the most important coded language elements, you can firstly consciously control your own usage and secondly understand others much better.

Here are 5 typical coded phrases that actually mean something other than what the words say:

  1. "I don't...

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๐Ÿงฉ Every Little Bit Matters!

What is your strategic focus? Is it being more cost effective than every other player in the market? Or do you strive to be seen as the most innovative company in your market niche? Or do you prefer putting all your focus on outstanding customer relations?

Whatever your main goal, the most important thing is to become excellent in your strategic focus area. If you want to excel in all three dimensions (cost effectiveness, innovation, customer centricity) then you have to become excellent in all three areas.

What does “excellence” mean? Very simple: to be better by far (in the perception of your potential and current customers) than the vast majority of your competitors or even (with the lack of true competitors) than the expectations of anybody else. 

Everything else is mediocrity, which leads to low performance and the daily fight for survival. I am amazed how many business leaders do not see the clear relationship between lacking excellence and low...

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๐Ÿ’ฅ What To Do When Plans Blow Up?

Setbacks are part of life. Shattered plans are simply part of the game if you want to achieve anything.

Because if you only play it safe, you'll have fewer setbacks, but you'll also hardly make any progress.

Especially in leadership, this simple insight is crucial: If you try to "get through" all your plans and see the opposite as negative, you will always fall short of your potential.

If we always knew in advance what would work and what wouldn't, life would be very simple. But it is not!

In addition, there is another helpful insight: setbacks are almost never fatal. In the vast majority of cases, we can go on afterwards, and often even better than before.

A third point is that the most successful people see broken plans as a breeding ground for something new, according to the motto: “Stumble, get up, keep going".

So how can you apply these insights practically and use your burst plans constructively in leadership and beyond? Here are three tips:

  1. Apply the belief:...

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๐Ÿ“ˆ Your Corporate Growth Mindset

The most successful businesses have a growth mindset. All of them. No exceptions. What is more, they have a mindset of passion and enthusiasm, most of the time also a mindset of happiness. 

There is not one long-term successful and competitive organisation on earth that has a fixed mindset, grumpy people, no spirit, and unhappy customers. Not one! 

So, why do then so many companies run with high complacency (“we don’t want to change!”), lacking enthusiasm, and surely missing happiness? Look around in your business: as long as you do not belong to the top one percent of outstanding organisations, you’ll find signs of mediocrity all around you. 

The key challenge for most is that a growth mindset requires your own readiness to grow, each day, each hour, and each minute. To learn and improve. To listen and adjust. My key question is always this: How many hours do your team members (and yourself) spend learning each week? If the answer is less than...

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