Volkmar Völzke's BLOG


Your Compass For 2021

leadership strategy Dec 31, 2020

Have you arrived well in the new year? I hope so!

And what do you do at the beginning of a new year? That's right: you take on a lot of things, of which you only implement a little later. That's not what we want to do here - namely, by focusing on foundations instead of actions.

Here's my suggestion to help you make 2021 an incredibly successful year for your family, your team, your customers and you:
  1. Establish guiding stars. By this I don't mean simply "goals," but your emotional anchor point in the future. I recommend that everyone define a guiding star for the next 12-36 months. What do you long for, in your personal life and in business? What would make you absolutely happy? The guiding star can consist of several different themes. The important thing is that it is emotionally charged. And that it is ambitious. So, go ahead: write and draw!
  2. Determine new ways of thinking. How do you need to think differently to get closer to the guiding star? Yes, that's right: You have to...
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How great was your year? These 10 simple questions provide the answer.

leadership mindset Dec 27, 2020

I think it's a good habit to slow down from time to time and look back on your accomplishments. This season is a perfect time to do that, and I want to provide you with some powerful questions to ask yourself and others. You can also use these questions for discussion among your leadership team. Just replace the "I" with "we" in this case.

Here are the 10 questions:
  1. How did I make life better for somebody (or for our clients)?
  2. Which of my personal goals did I achieve?
  3. What went extremely well?
  4. What went not as well as I had hoped?
  5. What was my greatest personal development?
  6. Who was grateful for me being around/doing my job?
  7. What did I learn that will have a lasting impact on my success?
  8. Which unimportant activities did I stop doing?
  9. Which important activities did I invest more time in?
  10. Whom should I thank for his or her support?

Tip: record the answers to those powerful questions on video. This could be your personal year-end manifesto, no matter if you share it or not!

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Almost over!

leadership strategy Dec 25, 2020

Now, there are only a few days left until the turn of the year. As you get older, you're almost inclined to think "again?" Wasn't the last one just recently?

And what do you do before the turn of the year? That's right: you reflect on the past 12 months. I'd like to do that briefly here, too, by pointing out three of my blog posts that, from my perspective (and from the perspective of my readers), got to the heart of things particularly well.

So here are my three favorites to reread and ponder:

The amazing differences

Most people never look beyond their own beliefs and experiences. Here are three ideas about what you can do for you and your team to counter the danger of mental inbreeding. Read more



Emotion Eats Logic for Breakfast

We make all decisions one hundred percent emotionally. You can use the underlying mechanisms in a positive way for your business and leadership at any time if you want to get people to act. Read more



How courageous are you?...
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What determines your destiny?

mindset Dec 20, 2020

At this time of the year, most of us take some days off to reflect about life and to be with family and friends. I think we should never wait for Christmas to do so, but make it a daily, weekly or at least a monthly routine to meditate and be grateful for all the good things that surround us. 

I recently stumbled over these well-known wise words, which you might find worth thinking about: 

  • Beware your thoughts, they become your words. 
  • Beware your words, they become your actions. 
  • Beware your actions, they become your habits. 
  • Beware your habits, they become your character. 
  • Beware your character, it becomes your destiny. 
I wish you, your family and your friends a peaceful Holiday Season and I look forward to providing you with fresh insights, ideas and thoughts in the next year. 

P.S. It is never too late to decide still this year, for bold progress in 2021. Just click here and learn more.

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Your personal lockdown

mindset Dec 17, 2020

For most people, this is the beginning of a somewhat quieter time - various companies are closing their doors, and, in this respect, many people are going into their own personal lockdown. This may also be something positive.

In this special year, it's a good time for a little reflection; for example, how your team and you have managed to deal with the out of the ordinary situation.

After all, we all have found ourselves in a situation that no one could have foreseen a year ago. And I think that, given these circumstances and the unpredictability, we have done very well so far (I'm not making a judgment here about the health and fatal consequences of the virus).

Here are three ideas how you, as a leader, can make the most of the year-end slowdown:
  1. Gratitude. It is extremely important for our well-being and for directing our thoughts to feel gratitude. If you are grateful, you cannot feel fear or aggression in that moment. So…what are you really grateful for? Few do this...
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Time for more growth

leadership strategy Dec 10, 2020

When does the decline of a company begin? When the focus shifts from opportunities to problems. From attack to defense. From growth to maintaining the status quo.

That's why my latest publication in the Swiss magazine Organizer revolves around the necessary leap in growth. You can request the PDF of the article here (only in German).

It has always been true that those with more success and more influence have a distinct growth mindset and act accordingly. It is a well-known law of nature that what does not grow dies.

However, a good business with loyal customers does not simply disappear from the market. It can even work very profitably for a long time. But my point is this: this strategy is highly risky and is becoming even more so in today's world. If you play the hold game, you are exposed to greater pressure in every respect, from the sales market to the labor market.

And even more important: with low growth, you miss out on huge opportunities.

The good news is that almost...

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Do you want to fit in or stand out?

leadership Dec 10, 2020

Many of us carry a conflict within us; for example, we want to do something exceptional, something great. We all are proud of achievements we worked hard on.

However, many of us fear standing out, being seen as exceptional, as great achievers, as somebody others look up to. 

I repeatedly find it remarkable when I ask the question to workshop participants when crafting a business strategy: “What would you be proud of achieving?” Many argue there would be no reason to be proud of at work. We are “just doing our job” or “others are even better than we” are answers I often hear. 

Sure, I know what speaks to me in these moments is fear. The fear to be exceptional, to be outstanding, to shine in the light. 

Here comes the twist: This fear to be outstanding is a much bigger obstacle to success than the fear of failure. So, it’s worth addressing this issue when you, your team, and your business want to become more successful. 


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How companies waste money

Recently, I accidentally came across the following conversation on one of the social media sites of the travel company Booking.com: A customer credibly complains that she will not be reimbursed – of about $100 - for a cancelled overnight stay. The company's answers revolve solely around formal justifications as to why the amount cannot be refunded.

Important background: In the last years, the customer booked trips of over $10'000 with the company.

I find such cases interesting, because they dramatically show the wrong priorities of the company: instead of systematically increasing the value of a customer and inspiring new bookings, they insist on process conformity. Unfortunately, this is not an isolated case.

And before you say, "something like this could not happen with us," I suggest you look twice. You'd probably be surprised how much business potential with customers is also falling through the cracks at your company.

Here are three typical approaches to plugging...
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What’s on your first page?

leadership Dec 01, 2020

Recently, marketing guru, Seth Godin, wrote: “There will always be first page news because there’ll always be a first page.” What he meant is that news publishing houses determine which news article should be on the first page for only one reason: to attract readers.

People do not get fearful or angry because of the news themselves, but because of what is shown on the first page. 

There is a positive side to this topic in that the first page means focus. You can change the focus of people by the headlines you show on your first page. Sure, you probably do not publish a newspaper, but you have a virtual first page of your business or your team. 

The issue is this: if you as a leader do not decide what should be on the first page, everybody will put their own stuff on it.

With the effect that everybody has a different focus. And from what I see, this lacking alignment of focus is one of the key issues for virtually all businesses and teams: they don’t...

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What is your next level?

leadership Nov 26, 2020

Recently, another article of mine -  "Are you asking the right questions?" - was published in the Swiss business magazine Handelszeitung. It is about the right focus in challenging situations. You can request it from me here as a PDF file (in German).

In my work as a coach and consultant, I like to talk about reaching "the next level." Some people wonder exactly what I mean by that.

Well, we are all at certain stages of development. When you reflect on your life, it becomes very clear: as a child you thought and behaved differently than as an adolescent. And then again as a young adult. And so on. 

Here comes the point: These developmental levels determine, to a large extent, what we can achieve in each case. In order to have significantly more success (however you define it), we have to leave one level and climb onto another. 

The good news is that you can always decide that for yourself. But: It is usually not easy at all. Because we inevitably leave our comfort...

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