Volkmar Völzke's BLOG


Why All This?

leadership mindset Jun 18, 2020

Everything is quite easy to understand—if you boil it down to the essential correlations. It’s usually only the implementation in daily life that is difficult.

If you ask parents what they wish for their children when they’re grown up, the answer is almost always, “Be happy!” That is how it works for each of us. In the end, we just want to be happy.

But what does that mean, exactly? Why do we often find it so difficult, and what does that have to do with you as a business leader?

The answer to these questions not only makes you a better leader but also helps you generate your own happiness.

Answer 1: If reduced to the essential, being happy means that we have peace of mind, which, in turn, comes from living in congruence with our inner drives (which are manifold) and from personal development (mental stagnation is unhappiness).

Answer 2: What stands in the way of our happiness are essentially our fears in various forms (because our inner drives...

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The 8 Universal Principles For Top Performance

leadership Jun 16, 2020
What do you need to bring your team or your entire company into the Champion’s League?

I summarized the answer in my book (only in German: “Business Fitness: escape mediocrity!”) in eight principles, which I call “peak performance principles.”

Here they are briefly. For detailed tips on implementation, I recommend you apply for a exploration session with me, personally.

Attention: Do not ask yourself if you have ever heard of them (everyone did!), but to what extent you apply them. I suggest evaluating each principle on a scale of 1 to 10.

Principle 1: Clarity. This comes above all. I have written several times about the fact that lacking clarity is one of the greatest obstacles to peak performance. Attention: Clarity begins in your own head!

Principle 2: Integrity. People are looking a lot more at what you do, how you do it, and what the results are instead of what you say. That is why it is so important that you do what you say you do. This...

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The problem with clarity

leadership productivity Jun 14, 2020

There is one aspect of sustainable success, which is both fundamental and most disregarded by most:

Top performance and outstanding success can only result from absolute clarity.

What many overlook: success without absolute clarity is luck and cannot be repeated or only with high effort.

Yet, the creation of clarity is not difficult, but requires willpower and discipline. I will give you some help here:

There are three areas where you need to create absolute clarity for yourself and your team to increase your success dramatically.

Here they are from my German book “Business Fitness: Escape mediocrity!“:

  1. Clarity in the goals and the ideal future. What do you want for yourself and your team or your company? How does the ideal future look in one, three, five, and ten years?
  2. Clarity in the principles. What are your most important beliefs and principles with which you want to succeed? What are your priorities for your value propositions?
  3. Clarity in implementation. How clear...
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We Can Do This!

leadership Jun 11, 2020

As I write these lines, I’m sitting in the Parc Milan, a beautiful park in Lausanne a few meters from my apartment, and I’m watching the colorful hustle and bustle. Small groups of friends, families, and couples are everywhere, enjoying the evening in the warm, early summer air and having fun.

We are in the final stages of the first wave of the corona pandemic here in Switzerland, and no one knows if there will be a second one. The so-called excess mortality rate is almost non-existent compared to flu years. Apparently, we all acted in time and with enough courage.

I also dare to predict that we will get out of the economic mess faster than some people fear simply because we combine enormous strengths and a strong work ethic.

Here is my point: I find it quite simply enormous and impressive how we, as civilized people, have managed to deal with such a threat. You can complain about our shortcomings as much as you like, but such a concerted global action (with some...

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Your personal success brakes

leadership productivity Jun 07, 2020

In one of my latest blog posts, I wrote that productivity is a habit and many have learned to be unproductive without realizing it – even and foremost senior managers. 

I received some questions regarding this provocative conclusion, because it is a rather uncomfortable idea for most of us:

We are consciously unproductive! Who wants this? The answer: In principle, we all do. Because productivity means that we produce results. And thus also bad results. 

In other words, higher productivity means more mistakes.

Since no one wants those, our brain has mechanisms that limit our productivity. 

Here are three ideas on how to release your productivity brakes: 
  1. Force yourself to “imperfection”. Very often speed is more important than perfection. Rapid prototyping and other methods have taken up this idea. However, many people have not yet.
  2. Beware Pareto: 20% of your activities generate 80% of your results. Surely you know that, but this...
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Laws of Nature and Other Rules

leadership mindset Jun 04, 2020

Last weekend was Pentecost. Do you know why these holidays even exist? Chances are you don’t have an exact answer unless you’re a practicing Christian.

The interesting thing is that whether you know or understand the background of a holiday, you can still deal with it. This reminds me of the laws of nature. Whether you know or understand them or not, they will still affect you.

Gravity, for example, doesn’t care what you think about it or whether you agree with it. If you drop a plate, it will inevitably move towards the ground and probably shatter once it hits the floor. Therefore, the best strategy is to use gravity in a favorable way rather than lamenting it.

Why am I telling you this? Well, the same connections apply to “mental laws”—they exist regardless of your belief or ignorance. The winners in life will always be those who make better use of them than others.

Here are a few important examples of how to achieve more in life with more fun...
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Is your business model outdated?

leadership strategy Jun 02, 2020

Did you notice? Those who thrive (people and businesses) do something extremely well or they do something in a unique way. Or even both. 

Look at the most successful companies, Apple for instance, or Siemens, SAP, and many almost unknown SMBs: in the areas they thrive, there is at least one of these to elements in place: excellence or uniqueness. And they have business models that make these distinctions profitable. 

What I see at too many companies (in particular SMBs) is too little focus on business model innovation.

Often, this is left to chance or random evolution. Instead, I suggest considering these three steps: 

  1. At least yearly, run workshops with participants from all parts of your organisation to (re)invent new business models. There are specific methods to make this exercise very effective and efficient.
  2. Ensure you collect inputs from your customers and the marketplace: what would they dream of, ideally? What would help them make a leap forward?
  3. ...
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The big mass in the middle

culture leadership May 31, 2020

To which group do you belong: 20, 60, or 20? You don’t know what I’m talking about? Ok, here is the resolution: the longer I support business leaders in achieving substantial success growth, the more it solidifies my 20-60-20 rule. It simply states the following: 

  • 20% of the people of any group are keen to implement the new, to apply the learned, to try the ideas.
  • 60% are waiting for something. They are rather skeptical, but not unwilling to move. They listen, but hesitate with execution.
  • 20% are resistant. They will ignore good ideas and sometimes actively fight them.

This distribution is almost always true, no matter what you want to achieve. How does this knowledge help you, as a manager and someone who wants to implement something new? Here is my tip: 

  1. Ignite the fire in the group of the top 20%. Feed their hunger, so they cannot hold back to start the changes you want them to execute.
  2. Provide the middle 60% with certainty and address the typical...
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Making the invisible visible

leadership mindset May 28, 2020
Do you know the phenomenal 3D pictures, where some can only see a three-dimensional image after looking at it in a certain way, while many never see it at all?

Here is an example:

Do you see the 3D image? You have to completely relax your eyes while looking at the picture.

I came across a book like this from the nineties the other day when I was tidying up, and was fascinated again. Why? Well, because something unexpected opens up exactly where you wouldn't expect it: in a 2D image that doesn't mean anything.

And there is another conclusion to take from this: what we see is an illusion anyway, constructed by our brain. In principle, this applies to everything in life and business.

What is the relevance of this for our leadership and business success?

Here are three tips that have the potential to make your leadership and your team much more effective:
  1. Points of view. What one person sees very clearly may be completely hidden from the other. We all have certain clear fields of...
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Scarcity Or Abundance?

leadership mindset May 23, 2020

There is a mindset that is crucial for more or less success, privately or in business: Are your decisions guided by the belief that, in principle, everything is available in abundance or by the idea that there is a lack in everything? 

Do you think that, if you have more of something, then someone else must have less? Or do you believe that, if you have more, others will benefit at the same time? 

I can tell you, based on various studies, from my collaboration with numerous people, and from personal experience, this difference in mindset makes a huge difference for your success and your happiness in life. 

Now, you can probably guess which of these two mindsets leads to more success. It is the belief that everything is available in abundance: happiness, money, prosperity, success, ideas, and so on. 

From my experience, however, the other mindset prevails in most companies; scarcity rules.

If you change this mindset for yourself and your team, gates will open for...
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