Volkmar Völzke's BLOG


🥸 Do you want to get better? Seriously?

The question "Do you want to get better?" is, of course, a rhetorical one. After all, who doesn't want to? But what most overlook is that to get better in a sustainable way, you need a system.

That's exactly why, when it comes to certain things, after a short learning curve at the beginning, our skills keep us on a plateau from which we hardly improve. 

What we need to improve continuously and significantly is what psychology professor Anders Ericsson describes in his book Peak as "deliberate practice."

Here, however, I am concerned with something that lies even before that. Because the reason why we don't really peak, even if it would be absolutely beneficial for us, lies elsewhere. If you are aware of that, you can deal with it accordingly.

Here are the three powerful levers on how any person or team can become better than everyone else:
  1. Clear Necessity. Outstanding individuals have a powerful difference from average that makes them see working on themselves completely...
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⚡️ How to have energy all day

productivity Aug 11, 2021

It's just a fact: you can have all kinds of great techniques to increase your productivity and get more done. However, if you can't keep your energy levels at their highest, it's not going to do you much good.

People who get significantly more done than the average person have higher overall physical and mental energy levels throughout the entire day. In my leadership coaching, this is often an important topic.

This much, though, is true: if you start focusing more on being in control of your energy levels, you'll almost inevitably increase your success. And - most importantly - with more fun and less time consumption.

Sounds too good to be true? 

Here are 3 ideas on how to increase your energy throughout the day (which are pretty simple, but few apply them consistently):
  1. Clarity about goals. Lack of clarity creates uncertainty and robs us of an incredible amount of energy. This effect is usually completely underestimated. Observe for yourself how much more you can accomplish...
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⏱ How to get 50% more done in the same amount of time

productivity Aug 05, 2021

Yes, I know the headline sounds a bit sensational, but it's still true: if you consistently apply the tips I'll give you below, you'll be able to do twice as much in the same amount of time.

It's just that, as with many strategies, they're relatively easy to understand, but by no means easy to apply consistently. What's getting in the way? Our deeply ingrained beliefs and our habits.

And yet, on certain topics, you are already 10x or even 100x more productive than someone who lacks knowledge. A top programmer, for example, programs up to 100x as fast as a beginner.

So, what strategies do you use when you are exceptionally productive? Once you know the answer, you can apply it to everything else.

Here are the top three strategies for getting 50% more done in the same amount of time:
  1. Clarity on value-added activities. It's one of my typical topics in leadership coaching: With which of your activities do you create the most value for yourself, others and the organization? As a rule,...
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👏 What sets top team members apart

winning team culture Jul 30, 2021

One of the most common desires of leaders is that each of their team members pulls together with the others in the same direction and delivers top performance with enthusiasm.

Well, unfortunately, the reality is usually quite different. Almost every team has a strong variance in all matters that would be important for a top team. Some people are not very motivated, others do not bring enough results, and still others take too little responsibility. And so on.

In my leadership coaching, I often direct attention to the composition of the team and what should be done about it if you want to create a top team. In any case, waiting and hoping for the better is not a good strategy (but one I encounter frequently). 

From my experience, there are three key characteristics that distinguish top team members from mediocre ones:
  1. Growth Mindset. Everything else stands and falls with one's own attitude toward personal growth. People with a growth mindset know that, in principle, they...
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📣 The 3 great communication sins

leadership Jul 23, 2021

I think you'll agree: Effective communication is one of the pillars of successful leadership. Because it is through communication that we exert influence and convince others - both are foundations of good leadership.

If that's the case, then I keep asking myself why so much goes wrong in communication. Why is so much communication in organizations ineffective, if not directly counterproductive?

The consequences are tremendous: things are not implemented because of poor communication, misunderstandings arise and enormous reactive power is generated - through unnecessary queries and so on.

The topic is of course complex - and often it is worth working with a coach to improve communication in the long term.

Here are three big communication sins that you can start weeding out right away:
  1. Unclear goals. A quick hint: In the future, ignore any message (email, phone, in person, etc.) that doesn't make it clear to you within 5 seconds what the sender wants from you. You can probably forget...
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The biggest leadership flaws

leadership Jul 15, 2021

Everyone knows this from sports: if you want to improve substantially, you also need to weed out certain mistakes and unfavorable habits. Often, this process is very unpleasant because we have become accustomed to the flaws, so we feel comfortable with them.

The same is true in leadership: if you want to continue to improve your leadership quality, you also need to weed out those ways of thinking, behaving and working that are holding you back.

Over the course of my career - also as a leadership and team coach - I've worked with hundreds of leaders and naturally discovered certain universal patterns that distinguish outstanding from mediocre leadership.

Here are my top 3 leadership mistakes that have a direct negative impact on your own effectiveness and your team's performance:
  1. Lack of clarity and lack of focus. Ambiguity impedes progress. If you yourself are not clear about what you stand for and where you want to go, then you create uncertainty for yourself and in your team (I...
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What makes a strong business strategy

strategy Jul 08, 2021

There are so many myths and methods surrounding the topic of "strategy" that it is a real challenge for any CEO or division head to keep track of the essentials.

If I ask three CEOs what they want to achieve with a strategy - in other words, why they need one - I get at least four different answers. In other words, it's often not clear what makes a good strategy in the first place.

The result: countless folders and file servers full of presentations and documents that all contain some kind of detail, but often do not add up to a consistent whole.

If you then try to roll out such a "strategy", it usually gets stuck at the first contact with the team - i.e. those who have to drive the implementation for the most part.

From my experience, there are three important characteristics that distinguish a strong strategy from a mediocre or useless one:
  1. Ambition. I always say, "If you want to improve just a little, you don't need a strategy, you need a plan." One doesn't have much to do with...
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How to create a top team

Let's cut to the chase: with a mediocre team, you can achieve mediocre results at best. More importantly, you run the risk of becoming progressively obsolete, if only because there will always be teams that perform better than yours.

I define a top team (or winning team) as one that consistently delivers top results and has fun doing it. So, it's not about running on the afterburner, but - on the contrary - full energy for team success, based on high inspiration and fun.

And, it's not just about teams in the narrower sense, but sometimes about entire companies.

When I look around, I see most teams in companies running at half power at most. And most of them are not even fully committed and enjoying their work.

On the contrary, those teams that are top performers are much more attractive to talent and display positive energy.

So, what are the top three levers you can use to create a winning team?
  1. Clarity of identity. You may be surprised that this comes first. The longer I coach...
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The three most important tasks of a leader

leadership Jun 24, 2021

When coaching top leaders, after a while, we invariably come to the question of what the most important tasks of a leader are in the first place. The answer is surprisingly simple, but known by almost no one.

And honestly, it took me several years of practice, various books and other study sources to crystallize these tasks. In hindsight, then, everything seems simple. 

Why is this insight important at all? Well, quite simply, because your time consumption should roughly correspond to the importance of your tasks. In other words, the most important task for you as a leader should also be allocated a high proportion of your attention, energy and time.

It actually sounds quite simple, and yet even top leaders, including CEOs, very often act contrary to this rule. The most common mistake is a high share of time being allocated to direct leadership and operational issues (including urgent problem solving). And these two subjects are exactly not the most important ones when it comes...

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Who do you need to become to achieve your goals?

One of the most powerful concepts in psychology and leadership is that we always behave according to our identity. "Identity" here means the very person we believe ourselves to be.

Sounds complicated? Well, it's quite simple if we explain it with examples: If you give yourself the identity of being a trusting person, you will deal with other people differently than if you have the conviction that others are to be distrusted first, before they have earned your trust.

Or: If your identity is also defined by the fact that you want to live in security and prosperity, you will deal with money quite differently than someone who focuses on risk and variety.

Two things are important here: Your identity determines your success much more than your abilities. And second, you can reshape your identity at any time. You are responsible for it.

And one more thing: teams and companies also have a self-imposed identity that they behave according to. This is extremely important if you want to take...

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