Volkmar Völzke's BLOG


Your problem with feelings

leadership Nov 19, 2020

"People will forget what you say and will forget what you do... but they will never forget how you made them feel" is a quite well-known quote from Maya Angelou, a US-American author, professor and civil rights activist.

This is always relevant when you want to get others to act or to influence them. And that is one of your main tasks as a leader.

You can talk as much as you want, even do things however, the influence on others will always be limited compared to when you trigger certain feelings in them.

An example: If others feel safe with you to say what they think and dare to try something new without the fear of sarcastic comments, they will do so. When people feel a new beginning with the prospect of new fascinating experiences, they will go the extra mile.

The biggest problem is often that people are afraid that their feelings may be hurt, that the security was only apparent, that the vision was not meant seriously. In other words: that their feelings will be hurt and they...

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What you can learn from the US election

Now that the reality show from the USA has come to a temporary end (with a satisfactory outcome in my view), it is interesting to see what we can learn from it for our leadership.

And by that I don't mean the actual content of the discussion (which had been pushed into the background anyway), but the circumstances that made the course of events so exciting for many. After all, we can all learn a lot from this for our communication, especially as leaders.

Because no matter whether you found the whole theater necessary or annoying, there is hardly anyone who didn't care. And therefore, the question ‘what is so fascinating about it?’ arises.

Here comes the point: To achieve any changes in your company or team, you depend on the commitment of your people.

So, what can we learn from the American election campaign?
  1. Clarity of purpose. In the American presidential campaign, the goal is very clear: to get the majority of the electorate as the sum of the individual states. It is...
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What if…?

mindset Nov 12, 2020

What if you started each morning by being grateful for what you have and where you are (no matter where you actually are)? 

What if each day you achieve something substantial? 

What if each day you make at least 3 people smile? 

What if each morning you breathe deeply, drink water, and increase your physical energy level? 

What if each evening, you realise what great things you have achieved today? 

What if each hour, you make progress in at least something? 

What if each week, you make progress towards your grant vision in life? 

What if you realise that you have far more capability than you actually utilise? 

What if most people would be happy to have all the chances that you have in life? 

What if you can make a difference in people’s lives – and you actually do! 

Take charge of your life, your career, your business. Play out fully. Each day. Each minute.

Do you like this post? If so, please forward it to a colleague...

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Who are you?

culture leadership Nov 05, 2020

Let me ask you a profound question, the answer of which might shape your future:

Who are you? And: who is your business or your team? 

What do I mean by this? Well, from psychology comes the insight that our success in life is mostly defined by the self-image we have. For example, if you deeply believe you are a person who is on the planet to do good for people, you will build your life around this identity. If you believe you are a victim of outside circumstances, you also will create a life of reaction and victimhood. 

The key is that most are never truly aware of their identity.

Instead, they just wonder why their life ends up in a certain way. How powerful is it then if you become fully aware of your self-image and become able to change it consciously? It is not always an easy process (and most often requires a coach), but it is possible – and extremely powerful. 

Now let’s transfer this insight to the business world. Specifically, organizations also...

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People love change!

leadership strategy Nov 04, 2020

I am currently working on a global leadership and cultural change project with a major client. One of the goals: massive increase in sales with rising profitability - and all this in highly competitive markets.

The key to this lies not only in innovation and processes, but also - above all - in people's minds. In other words, people tend to stand in their own way with their current beliefs. (Doesn't this somehow seem familiar in your own life?)

From my point of view, the remarkable insight is the following: Many people in worldwide organizations love change. As soon as they are credibly encouraged to do so, the suggestions and ideas for sometimes substantial changes (especially in their own sphere of influence) bubble out of them.

It sometimes seems to me as if we have lifted the cap of the famous genie’s bottle: Once it is outside, it does not want to go back in.

Now, of course, such a change does not happen "just like that," but you have to move important levers. Here are...
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We need better leadership!

leadership Oct 29, 2020

There are things that we make more complicated than they are. In my view, leadership is one of these issues, because no matter which leaders you consider outstanding, it is most likely only a handful of characteristics that make a difference compared to the average.

So, why is it so difficult for many companies to implement outstanding leadership as a standard? I certainly perceive significant gaps in leadership in most companies.

The main reason for this is the fact that, on the one hand, leadership is made too complicated, and on the other, you almost always have to change your thinking and behavior in order to become a better leader. For the second reason, coaching is often a powerful accelerator.

Here are, from my experience, the three most important characteristics of top leaders:
  1. Creating clarity. I find it amazing how many leaders create confusion and promote complexity. Clarity starts with clear thinking, continues with clear language (a topic that is usually completely...
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Start your first 100 days today!

The first hundred days are a sort of magical period: after a hundred days, a new president should have put a stick in the ground and made some important decisions. After the first hundred days in a new job, you should be clear about what you want to achieve, know the main stakeholders, and already made something different than your predecessor. 

Consequently, during these first hundred days, we feel energised, motivated, empowered. We feel as if we can make a real difference. Because we can. 

The sad truth is that the energy and inspiration often decline after this period.You probably know this effect from any major project: after some hype, the engagement decreases and routine settles in, sometimes even frustration. Obstacles that we surmounted with ease in the beginning seem to be insurmountable some weeks later. 

How do you keep the fire burning? Start your first 100 days today!

No matter where you currently are, even if you have worked 20 years in the same job, I...

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What are you getting upset about?

leadership mindset Oct 22, 2020

What are you getting upset about? What is annoying you? What irritates you?

No matter what your answer is, it is not the thing or the person that annoys you, but the connection to a story inside you.

"Whatever upsets you, reveals you" is old wisdom. In other words, you can only get upset or angry about something if you declare it important. And this importance usually comes from some "story" that we tell ourselves unconsciously.

Since it is rarely helpful for your success if you get angry (because it directs your energy to things that don't get you anywhere), I recommend that you get to the root of the problem - and then eliminate it if possible.

This insight is especially important when you are leading people. Their reactions are rarely to the actual thing, but rather to their inner reflections on it. 

The following tips will help you to deal better with "unpleasant" reactions, from others and from yourself:
  1. Your world is not their world. What you associate with certain...
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The essence of all business success

marketing & sales Oct 18, 2020

If you have been following my work for a while, you’ll know how much I like to break down complicated concepts into simple truths. One of these is what I’ll share today.

The question is this: what do you need to focus on the most to be successful in any business (and even in life)?

Think about it for a moment. I’m sure you’ll come up with things like customer focus, a powerful vision, motivated employees, a good strategy, and so on. And all these answers are correct. This is why I work on them with my clients in my programs.

However, the most essential business functions are just two. If you get these two things right, your business will have a hard time failing (even if this is not impossible). If you get them wrong (which most businesses struggling do), you are definitely in trouble.

Want to know what these two functions are? Here we go:
  1. The creation of products and services that people (and businesses) want to buy
  2. Marketing and sales to tell these people...
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The sense and nonsense of budgeting

When I talk to CEOs and division heads (for example, in my coaching sessions), I sometimes have the impression that the budgeting process eats up too much of their time and energy, typically in the fall. As a former large company divisional controller, I can tell you a thing or two about it (and I see the same tendency in medium-sized companies, too).

The problem is that budgeting is 100% unproductive when measured against the company's purpose (mission) and vision (because hardly any company will make "outstanding budgeting" part of its mission or vision).

In other words, managers - and usually many other people involved - are working on something that is a "waste" in the traditional sense. In addition, the budgeting process often replaces strategy discussion. Not only do we then not have a strong business strategy, but also high opportunity costs.

Why does something like this happen? In my experience, there are three main reasons. In the following, I also share what you can do...
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