Volkmar Völzke's BLOG


The power of consistent action

leadership productivity Jun 23, 2020

Consistent steps in the right direction almost always outperform the big moves once in a while. Intellectually, most people know this simple truth. What most people and businesses fail is acting accordingly. 

The key reason is that it can become boring and even demotivating to constantly work in small steps towards a distant goal. And so most people give up (often only in their mind) before they even come close to success.

That’s why progress becomes slow, teams fail, and strategies never get truly executed. 

Here is the good news: This can be changed! You (and your team) can become dramatically more successful, reduce negative stress, generate more “free” time, and achieve substantially bigger goals by applying a simple yet extremely powerful system for 100 days. The science behind is that we are talking about habit changes. And we change habits by practicing new habits over a certain period. 

You need to practice new ways of thinking and...
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How to get through uncertain times

leadership Jun 21, 2020

After dinner with the Chairman of an international organisation (one of my clients) and his leadership team, an interesting question came up: How can we give people certainty in uncertain times? 

The answer is rather simple, yet unexpected for many. However, let me first build some foundations: 

  1. Uncertain times are a perception. First, I’ve been on this planet long enough to confirm there has hardly ever been a period of more than a couple of months that was not uncertain. And secondly, uncertainty depends on your mindset: what for one is completely safe, is for the other shaking ground.
  2. We need uncertainty. Yes, right, uncertainty causes variety, which is a fundamental human drive. This is why we create uncertainty subconsciously when things get too smooth. When everything is just fine. Not for long: Soon, we will add variety because our subconscious mind longs for it.
  3. Uncertainty is often a reflection of fear projected into the future. Lots of...
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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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Where will you be in 100 days?

mindset productivity Jun 18, 2020

Hey, you can achieve something great in the next 100 days! No, don’t play small:

You, your team, and your organization truly can achieve more than you might currently think is possible. 

I know this is true because I’ve studied success psychology and success methods long enough to tell you: It works! The process is simple. However, the execution is not easy. Big difference. And that’s exactly why most people and business do not even start. 

To help you, I created the unique online program “100 Day Success Challenge”

Here is what you need to do to make the next 100 days the best days ever (even if you don’t purchase my program): 
  1. Accept the fact that you need to change your approaches. When you haven’t achieved substantial progress in the last 100 days (or even longer), the chances are your approach is not working well enough. So, get a new one!
  2. Prepare your mind to be disciplined to advance in small, yet frequent...
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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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The 3 secrets of productivity

productivity Jun 11, 2020
Basically, it is simple: To become more productive, you must start your day productive, stay productive, and finish your day productive. 

Sounds overly simplistic? Wait a moment: A key reason for mediocre performance is quite often that you violate exactly this simple rule: you start off slow, after lunch you lower productivity, and you slow down towards the end of the day. 

The most successful people (and teams) do it the other way around: 
  1. They start the day fast and with productivity-generating routines, such as lots of water, healthy food, and mental programming.
  2. They keep a high pace during the day (click here to learn how) and accelerate even when energy levels go down.
  3. They finish the day strong. There is no “slowing down”: they go through the finish line at full speed.
The key is: nobody can achieve this each day with pure willpower.

What you need instead, is to install new habits. How? That’s the topic for another memo. Meanwhile, just...

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You are weak!

productivity Jun 09, 2020

The problem with all execution of good intentions is that we all are weak. Our willpower is very limited. Since we have known this for thousands of years (that’s why we have been obliged to follow the 10 commandments, for instance), we know since a couple of years that this weakness is physical. 

To force the brain to make choices consciously consumes plenty of energy.

That’s why many leaders feel decision fatigue after half of the day. Again, this is no “soft fact”, but brutal physical reality. 

So, what’s the solution to execute on plans and strategies, considering our limited willpower? Three things: 
  1. Eliminate all unimportant decisions. Remember: each decision needs energy. So, better to keep this energy for the truly important stuff. How? Simply stop thinking about things that don’t matter. Most of us need a coach to remind us of this habit constantly.
  2. Install success routines that you do automatically without thinking about...
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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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