Volkmar Völzke's BLOG


Why we should be more ambitious

In my workshops and also in coaching, I hear this objection time and again: "Why should I even want to achieve more? I'm satisfied as it is!"

Now, of course, there is little to be said against someone being satisfied. But many people confuse satisfaction with happiness and fulfillment. The problem is that you almost always notice the difference only after a long delay:

What makes me "satisfied" today makes me unhappy and, above all, unfulfilled in the long run.

There are studies on what people wish most, shortly before they die, if they could have changed something in their lives: They often wish they had dared and tried more, but never that they had had a calmer and more satisfied life.

If that's not enough for you to question your contentment, here are three more rational reasons why you should definitely be more ambitious:
  1. Standing still is an illusion. There's the famous saying "stagnation is regression". This is absolutely true: there is no "standing still" in nature or in...
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How to squander your influence

leadership May 07, 2021

Why do I keep talking and writing about the topic of influence? Well, it’s quite simple: because you cannot lead without influence.

Often, it helps us to be aware of what we are doing wrong and how we are reducing our influence as a result. Because if we then turn these points around, we increase our influence and thus the quality of our leadership.

It is best to think of a situation in which you did not achieve with others what you actually wanted. Maybe they didn't really listen to you or didn't really understand you. Or they didn't see what you really wanted.

Whatever the case, there can be many reasons for a lack of influence. Here are three of the top ones you're messing up your influence with:
  1. Not seeing what others are already influenced by. It's an old adage that you can only influence others with what already influences them. It's the same with yourself: if someone else tries to get you to do something that doesn't exist in your mind's breadth at that moment, you...
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3 steps for more influence as a leader

leadership Apr 22, 2021

I get asked all the time in my coaching programs and outside of them, "How can I increase my influence as a leader?" Or as a variation of that, "How can I get my people to do this or that?"

The question is more than legitimate because ultimately, leadership is nothing other than influence. Leadership without influence is inconceivable, and using influence always means leading.

Instead of covering the technical aspects of influence (we do that in other videos and in my coaching), here I address three important foundations that are often not considered enough.

Here are the 3 foundations that make more of a difference in your influence as a leader than many other things:
  1. Clarity. Clarity about who you want to influence with what and about your goals is essential, but often overlooked. I see leaders diminish their influence time and time again by not being completely clear on these fundamentals.
  2. Sensing the target group. You cannot effectively influence others until you know what is...
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What are your personal constraints?

You're probably familiar with the Theory of Constraints, which is all about uncovering and removing the biggest bottlenecks to greater success.

Behind this is the unproductive habit that we often improve those things that have little notable impact on results. Conversely, we care too little about what is really the bottleneck to our success.

Why is this so? Two reasons:
  • Lack of awareness. Many people are not even aware of what their biggest bottlenecks are in life and work. A coach helps to identify them.
  • Avoidance. Eliminating our biggest chokepoints is often uncomfortable. Namely, it is our dear habits that stand in our way. Here, too, a coach helps.
To make it a little more concrete, here are three typical bottlenecks for you as a leader that get in the way of your success:
  1. Hanging on instead of letting go. After all, it's good to reinforce what makes us successful. The only thing is that over time, the parameters change so that the very thing that made us successful now...
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What will you make of your gift?

leadership productivity Apr 08, 2021

The first quarter of the year ended a few days ago, and you have been given another 91 days. The crucial question is: are you making the most of them?

Both fulfillment and success also come very much from being aware of the finite amount of available time you have in life. That doesn't mean panicking at all. But it does mean that great things are usually only achieved when there is a certain urgency attached to them.

Otherwise, we all too easily postpone the necessary and sometimes unpleasant actions to the never-never day.

You know that, of course. The only thing is: I see far too few leaders (and people in general) who, for example, choose clear and challenging goals for the next quarter when one ends.

If that doesn't happen, you and your team are unlikely to reach your full potential in the future. That's unfortunate and dangerous.

Here are three ideas for what you should do this week:
  1. Situation assessment. Where exactly are you compared to last year and your previous goals? By...
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Are you too focused on success?

On a scale 1 to 10: How focused on the most value-creating activities are you, on average? By “value-creating”, I mean those activities that represent the best use of your time to move you toward your goals. Those can be personal or business goals.

The key question is not how much time you put into tasks, but how much value you put into time.

This is because time is the only limited resource. Most people would score below 5 on this scale, which even includes accomplished business leaders. 

As a consequence, all successful people try to become increasingly focused. But there is a trap: By becoming focused on only a few things, many leaders ignore any other input that comes unexpectedly. They might be focused, but become ignorant of new ideas. 

Typical statements of CEOs: “We are focused on cost saving. I have no time to listen to your ideas for increasing revenue and profitability in the short-term.” Does this sound ridiculous to you? Careful:

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With your autopilot to a dead end

leadership mindset Apr 02, 2021

Actually, coaching is quite simple: you raise beliefs and behaviors from the subconscious to the conscious mind and thus you can influence them.

After all, any substantial personal growth happens by making different decisions starting today. And this is only possible based on suitable ways of thinking and behaving.

Why do I reveal this "secret" to you so candidly? Well, you always need a coach for this. Because you can hardly turn your subconscious outward yourself, because your subconscious prevents you from doing exactly that.

Sounds complicated? It's actually quite simple: Your subconscious controls you in such a way that you have the best chances to survive and reproduce. Happiness and other success are secondary. Hence, the provocative headline: Your autopilot steers you into a kind of dead end.

How do you get 'out' of it? Here are three ideas you can try even without a coach:
  1. Awareness. Simply realizing that everyone sees the world a little differently - that there are...
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I give up!

leadership productivity Apr 01, 2021

This is the last article I will write for you. I give up. Even after creating and distributing countless blog posts, I see mediocrity and low standards everywhere. I still see people acting as if some other authority led them to their destiny. I see CEOs who are indecisive and hiding. I see ambiguity and fuzziness.

So, I give up!

But wait, today is April 1 - Fools Day!

Therefore, no, I'm not giving up, I'm continuing my journey towards excellence and top performance even further. Why? Because that's my mission. And because it is often rewarding and fun!

Will you support me on this journey? Then define ONE item today that you could move a little towards excellence TODAY.

Yes, today! What of your own behaviors can you change or where can you influence another person to make a step forward and move something from mediocre to outstanding?

Don't overthink it. Pick ONE thing and get started. Here are some ideas that can help you light the fire:
  1. Service. Your life consists of small...
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Time for spring cleaning in your leadership

leadership Mar 25, 2021

"Perfection does not come from not being able to add anything, but from not being able to leave anything out" is a rather well-known saying.

In this case, if we translate "perfection" to mean outstanding results, then it creates a powerful question for your leadership: "What should you cut out that is getting in the way of your outstanding results rather than helping them?"

The principle behind this is that you can only use every minute of your life exactly once. So, is that minute contributing to your top results or rather to other things?

Therefore, it's time once again for your spring cleaning in your daily work. Here are three steps I recommend for your effective "decluttering":
  1. Goals. Once again, get clear on what your truly most important goals are. What do you really want to accomplish this year and over the next few years? What does this translate into for your monthly and weekly goals? Note: Never have more than three top goals!
  2. Decision. Make a list of all the...
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Why should I get better at all?

leadership Mar 18, 2021

Are you and your team at all times hungry for more success, for improvements, for Innovation? If so, you are a complete exception.

Anyway, with most of the leaders with whom I start a collaboration, I notice rather a medium to strong inertia. What often is behind this is a high level of satisfaction with the current state.

The shortcomings and problems (of course, almost always caused by "others") are accepted as normal.

You can live with this attitude, but here comes the point: satisfaction has little or nothing to do with fulfillment and joy.

So when you are confronted with the question in yourself or others, "Why should I get better anyway?" here are three powerful answers:
  1. What doesn't grow, dies. This is an old law of nature and also applies to mental growth. In this case, you don't die physically as a result, but you do die mentally. I have yet to meet anyone who is not growing and is happy at the same time. In some companies, however, I have the impression that various...
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