Volkmar Völzke's BLOG


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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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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