Volkmar Vรถlzke'sย BLOG


The 3 biggest success levers for top leadership

leadership Oct 23, 2021

What is the biggest difference between top and mediocre leadership? Or in other words: What should you work on first if you want to become a “winning team leader”?

Just a few years ago, I would have had difficulties answering this question. But a few dozen coaching customers and a few hundred workshop participants later clearly crystallized some focal points as the levers with the greatest effect.

If you work on these levers, you will almost inevitably multiply your success and positive influence as a leader. Conversely, if you do not pay sufficient attention to these levers, you will always remain below your possibilities. And that almost always means less joy and more frustration.

Here are the three biggest levers for success for you as a leader from my experience:
  1. Full own clarity and certainty as a top leader. In my coaching of executives and in my workshops, I notice almost every time how little clarity there is about what makes top leadership at all and what...
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What you should do more with your team now

A week ago, I wrote about what is more important in leadership from now on ( read the blog post here).

Today I am discussing what you should do more specifically with your team in the future.

The need comes mainly from the fact that with the pandemic it became clear that external influences are becoming stronger and more frequent. Anyone who now hopes for a return to "normality" will need good luck not to perish.

Therefore, more than ever, those teams and companies that consistently implement the following three topics will be sustainably successful in the future:
  1.  Constantly evaluate new opportunities on the market. 

    I see far too little effort in companies that people regularly deal with new business models, new market positioning and new ideas for products and offers. 

    By this I do not mean a "product development department", but that, for example, people from sales and other areas create new business models or Blue Ocean ideas. This also means that many more...
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What will continue to change in leadership

leadership Oct 14, 2021

Again and again I am asked what will change in leadership after the pandemic. That's why I was also asked to write an article for the German-speaking press about it. The title: "Everything remains different".

What do I mean by that? Well, the assumption of constant conditions has already been risky in the past. Outstanding leadership has always been about dealing with and anticipating changes and uncertainties.

The "unknown" is always the success lever of those who are ready for adjustments and see the changes as the best way to achieve outstanding things.

Nevertheless, from my observation, there are some specific characteristics of leadership that will become increasingly important in the future.

As a leader, I recommend that you become absolutely fit in these three topics in order to be able to further increase your success in the future:
  1. Communication is becoming more important. As a top leader, it is now a must that you become very good at communication. You must master the...
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The 3 crucial questions before you hire someone

Few things are as critical to your long-term team success as deciding who belongs on your team and who doesn't.

Although this fact is common knowledge, most decision-making puts too little emphasis on those questions that bring us closer to a winning team in the long term.

What do I mean by that? Well, winning teams function according to different rules than mediocre teams. The standards demanded of team members are sometimes quite different from the standards demanded of people who function well in average environments.

This becomes very clear in a comparison with team sports: the players of a team in the soccer Champions League are not only able to play soccer better on average than others (this is self-evident), but above all, they have different standards for themselves and the environment in which they operate. This includes much more than just the activity itself (soccer in the example).

That's why it's so important to ask someone these three crucial questions before accepting...
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The only 3 causes of conflict

Conflicts are part of life like salt in the soup. Especially in the professional environment, avoiding conflict is one of the causes of poor collaboration.

If we don't address conflicts, they smolder on anyway and lead to an artificial harmony that benefits no one.

Often, fear is the cause of holding back conflict because we don't know how to handle it.

To effectively deal with conflict, it is critical to know the root causes.

Here comes the good news: there are only exactly three basic causes of conflict. Here they are in a nutshell:
  1. Disagreement about the goal. It happens surprisingly often that two people get into a fight, even though the cause would be quite simple to locate: unclear or divergent goals. If the goal is clear and unambiguous, there is no need to talk about anything else - and certainly no need to argue. Therefore: first make sure that you have the same goals.
  2. Disagreement on the path. Even if there is agreement on the goals, there may be differing views on the...
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The 3 most important psychology insights for leaders

leadership Sep 23, 2021

As a leader, how well do you know psychology? Your answer to this question strongly determines your influence, productivity and overall success as a leader.

After all, let's not kid ourselves: Your success is largely determined by the extent to which you can understand and influence other people. And you can't do that without psychology.

By the way, I know from my own experience that you can learn all this. Because being an engineer, knowledge of human nature, influencing and leadership were by no means components of my engineering studies.

What it essentially takes is interest and application, especially through coaching or leading others.

Here are three extremely important insights from psychology, from my experience, that most leaders pay far too little attention to:
  1. Emotion beats logic - every time. How many of our decisions are made purely rationally, logically? The answer: not a single one. In the end, there is always some emotion involved. The same is true for taking action:...
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How to strengthen team bonding

One of the most frequent questions I am asked is how you can make a team out of your people that stand together and work closely with each other.

Unfortunately, the reality is often different: people work against each other, or at least there is a certain indifference to each other's goals.  

We are often so busy with our own stuff that there is no time and attention for the needs and problems of others.

Conversely, imagine what you could accomplish with your team if everyone marched with full energy in a common direction and everyone could fully rely on the others.

The gap between this ideal state and your reality shows your potential as a leader. And even if the gap doesn't seem too big to you, you usually have various opportunities to achieve more.

Here are the biggest levers, from my experience, to sustainably build team cohesion:
  1. Strengthen necessity. I experience time and again that people see little need to strengthen cohesion. In principle, many just want to do a...
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๐Ÿ How to ensure the implementation of strategies

leadership strategy Sep 08, 2021

Do you always fully implement your business strategies? My experience shows: hardly anyone manages to do that.

And I'm not talking about deliberately interrupting the implementation because important parameters have shifted.

No, I'm talking about the fact that you and the leadership team really want to implement the strategy, but it's still not progressing properly.

This does not only waste valuable resources. No, you also lose time and, most importantly, it frustrates people.

There are various companies where the lack of strategy implementation has already become a habit. "This too shall pass" is a typical statement from the people who are supposed to be driving the implementation.

Why is this so difficult? Why do important strategic decisions too often fall by the wayside and opportunities go unused?

Here are the three most important levers you need to operate, from my experience, if you want to implement your strategies and reap full benefits:
  1. Involve people. The mistake is made...
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Why people don't follow you ๐Ÿ™…โ€โ™‚๏ธ

leadership Sep 01, 2021

It's simple: if no one follows you, you don't qualify as a leader. And vice versa: the more people follow you, the stronger your influence as a leader.

We've known about the phenomenon of "influencers" not just since social media. Influential leaders have always had a sizable number of "followers." 

Here, however, is something very simple that is relevant to anyone who wants to influence others in any way: it's about influencing others in such a way that they willingly and freely follow you.

If you can do that, you can move the proverbial mountains. 

By the way, this has absolutely nothing to do with obedient following." On the contrary, the more your people critically question and challenge you, the greater your influence - provided you are willing to accept the challenges and deal with the criticism.

Leaders come to me time and again with the question of why people don't follow them enough: "Why aren't they doing what we agreed? Why aren't they implementing things...

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๐Ÿงญ More productive in sales: Here's how!

When you ask sales managers and salespeople how they can get better at selling, you usually get answers that relate to methods:

"We need to get better at phone prospecting." Or, "We need to contact more prospects." Or, "We need to get stronger at closing." And so on.

That's all well and good. Except that, in my experience and observation, there are two other factors that are even more important for sustainable success in sales: Mindset and personal productivity.

We'll cover the former elsewhere. Today, we're talking about productivity.

Imagine a salesperson creating 20, 30, or even 50% more in the same amount of time: how much more could they create and sell? What I'm saying is: the leverage of productivity in sales is enormous.

Here are 3 key starting points you can use to significantly increase sales productivity:
  1.  Conviction of your own value added. Surveys among customers show that the effect that most influences the purchase decision is the added value that the...
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