Volkmar Völzke's BLOG


Small steps to great successes

leadership productivity Mar 18, 2021

From one of the best leadership and success gurus, Brian Tracy, comes this simple thought model to 10x your success: if you just improve yourself by one-tenth of a percent (which is one thousandth), you will be 10x as good in a few years. The underlying reason is the power of the compound effect.

You can be 10x more productive, 10x happier, and 10x wealthier.

Whatever you focus on improving, you can generate this dramatic positive change by just an incremental change each day.

And here comes the point: couldn’t you improve much more each day? Let’s say one percent? The effects will be even more breathtaking.

Now you may ask, if this is so easy, why are more people and businesses not living this philosophy? The answer: because it is easy to understand, but amazingly difficult to execute. Why? Because we need to change habits. Each day. Little by little.

However, to give you hope, here are three powerful ideas you can apply to yourself and your team to 10x your...
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What leaders are most concerned about right now [Recent survey analysis]

leadership Mar 04, 2021

Recently, I had launched a survey among my readers and clients with an important question: "What is your biggest frustration in leadership right now? In other words: What is causing you the most problems, regardless of current challenges because of Corona, physical separation, etc.?"

The auxiliary question was, "If you could change one thing in leadership for yourself, what would it be?"

I was overwhelmed by the quantity and quality of responses, and I'm sure we can all learn from them. The good news is that about 80% of the responses fall into three main categories.

Here are the main response categories, conclusions and recommendations from the survey that you can benefit from directly:


Category 1: Impact as a Leader


Most of the responses revolve around how to influence others as a leader, how to build mutual trust, and how to improve collaboration as a result. Some statements relate directly to the difficulties with physical separation because of Covid, but...

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How to write an article in under 30 min

A common challenge for my leadership coaching clients is weak communication. Even among experienced leaders, I notice a high barrier when it comes to producing short videos and writing articles. Both are extremely relevant to effective communication.

I will take up the video topic another time. Today, let's take care of writing articles in less than 30 minutes, from a "blank slate".

It starts in your own head: for many executives, article writing is an unpleasant and energy-sapping task. The root cause is usually a lack of process and, related to that, the idea that writing an article takes hours or even days.

Building on my experience of writing now about 1000 blog and magazine articles, I have developed a process that allows writing a roughly one-page article (about 300-400 words) in under 30 min, starting from scratch.

Here is the 10 step process to article writing:
  1. Pick a rough topic (e.g., "How can everyone make faster decisions?").
  2. Determine the target audience: who exactly...
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How to boost your people's appetite for change

culture leadership Feb 25, 2021

I recently conducted a survey on leadership and was surprised by the number and quality of responses. Many thanks to all who participated!

Next week, I will present the exciting results in more detail (so that everyone can benefit from them). Today, I'll pick out one point that ran through many of the answers: people's lack of willingness to change.

This topic is as old as mankind: Those who want to change something struggle against the persistence of many.

Except: That's exactly why we need leaders! And here comes the unpleasant truth: Whoever complains as a leader about the lack of willingness to change on the part of others has not done his or her homework.

The good news is that this is something that can be changed. In fact, there are mechanisms to systematically increase the willingness to change in a team and company.

Here are three fundamental steps for doing so (that most never think of):

  1. Foundations. Many leaders lack a comprehensive understanding of why people change and...
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Death by policy overload

leadership productivity Feb 25, 2021

As a leader, you have the choice between two fundamentally different approaches to achieving your goals:

First, you can inspire your co-workers to be hungry for your ultimate goals, your vision, your route to success, so that they will be keen to get there with you.

Or second, you can implement a bunch of policies, rules, and processes to keep your co-workers on the route that you have determined to be best.

Here’s the thing: There is not much space between these two alternatives. 

Having a great vision, but restrictive policies, makes people cynical. Having neither bold goals nor any policies and rules leads to chaos.

Most organizations opt—often unconsciously—for more policies and less vision.

Managers feel safer implementing the next Six Sigma framework or another set of rules than taking the risk of setting clear goals and leaving it to their people to find the best route. The former requires solid management; the latter, real leadership.

Too many policies...

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You need a breath of fresh air!

leadership Feb 23, 2021

“We are what we do consistently” is a common saying. In other words: our habits define our identity. And our habits are mainly based on our beliefs and thought patterns, which we have developed over years, often a long time ago. 

The same for businesses: all of them run based on the habits of their people, which are rooted in common beliefs. 

Here comes the twist: if you want to improve any business sustainably, there is no other way than changing the habits, which requires the change of beliefs and thought patterns. 

Now, a question to my advanced readers: is this change of habits easy or difficult? Yes, it’s difficult. This is why so many change initiatives fail or get stuck half way. Next question: what is the best (and sometimes the only) way to get people to change their beliefs and habits? Answer: new perspectives. 

How, then, can the leaders of organisations of any kind or size expect any sustainable performance increase if they...
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Top 10 ignored truths about success in leadership

leadership Feb 18, 2021
Here is my top 10 list of generally known findings and proven effects that are systematically disregarded time and again even by seasoned executives and business leaders:
  1. Yes, it's true: money is at best a short-term motivator for employees and needs to be continually reinforced like a drug. It is expensive and ineffective for improving performance.
  2. No one can be "motivated", only demotivated. People give their best when the environment makes it easy for them, not when they are forced to do so (even by money).
  3. All long-term successful companies have a clear and distinct mission (why do we do what we do?) that customers can easily understand. Why, then, do so many managers struggle with the "why" question?
  4. Clarity in vision and strategy for all employees are among the top characteristics of outstanding organizations. So why do we find this so rarely?
  5. Why do most managers lead without knowing where they are going? The vision question ("When do you want to be where and with what?")...
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What really matters in leadership right now

leadership Feb 11, 2021

Here's a tricky question in leadership, but one that is extremely important: How much of your time do you really spend on effective leadership and how much time on other topics?

In any case, I almost universally hear from my coaching clients that they don't have enough time for their leadership responsibilities. The day-to-day business takes priority most of the time. I call this condition "leadership treadmill" and unfortunately, I see it far too often.

And it's not just my perception. The burden increases not only because of spatial separation, but also because the environment is changing ever faster and we have to react ever more quickly.

Now, for the crucial question: how do you notice that you are stuck on the treadmill?

Here are some points, any one of which is already a strong indicator that you should change something:
  1. You constantly have too many balls in the air. There is hardly any time to prioritize wisely. Almost everything is urgent and many things are important.
  2. Many...
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The lasting effects of Covid19

leadership Feb 04, 2021

I don't like to hear it anymore: Hardly any topic is as present in leadership as the question of what will change as a result of Corona and what will remain the same.

And yet, the topic is extremely relevant for many, which is also reflected in the question I am repeatedly asked. For example, just the other day by the author of an article for a business magazine, for which he interviewed several experts, including myself (you can request the article in German from me here).

So: how do the pandemic and its associated consequences affect our corporate culture and leadership? What are the opportunities and what are the risks? How can we even benefit as a company in the area of leadership?

Here are three important answers from my perspective:
  1. The pandemic is an amplifier. The new rules (home office, etc.) make deficits in communication, trust, clarity and so on much more visible. What could previously be whitewashed by physical presence now becomes obvious.
  2. Clarity becomes even more...
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Why are you not asking?

leadership mindset Feb 02, 2021
When was the last time you asked a meaningful question?

Seriously, we all tend to get into our daily routines and forget to ask questions. Instead, we try to “get things done” or find solutions to problems. 

I think it was Einstein who said “If I had one hour to solve a problem, I would spend 55 minutes on finding the right question to ask, and 5 minutes to find the answer to this question.” 

Studies show that children ask over ten times more questions than adults do.Why is this the case? Subconsciously, to grow. Asking questions means learning, means growing, means getting to new levels. In other words, when we stop asking questions, we stop growing. 

Your progress and success in life (and in your business) are directly proportional to the number and quality of questions you ask. 

Here is my suggestion: By today, ask more questions to yourself, your colleagues, your team members. Asking questions differs from questioning things or...

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