Volkmar Völzke's BLOG


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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The secret to boost sales!

marketing & sales Jun 04, 2020
Today, I have a secret recipe to help you sell more, even if you have nothing to do with sales. 

If you have followed me for a while, you know sales activities are not limited to conversations with potential customers, but a reality of our daily life, be it professional or private; whenever you want to convince someone of something, you “sell.” 

So, what is the “secret recipe” to become more persuasive, to “sell” more?

There are three easy steps you probably know, but probably do not apply daily. Here is your “reminder”: 
  1. Reason. Why should the other be persuaded? What’s his or her advantage for being persuaded? Most of us (yes, even senior sales people) often forget this important first step. There is no persuasion without a clear reason.
  2. Reality. What is the other person already convinced of? Behind this question is the fact that it is much easier to convince people of a “complement” of their beliefs...
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Is your business model outdated?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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The biggest mistakes in sales

sales May 28, 2020

After a long time, I’d like to come back to a sales topic. Or better: How you can unleash huge potential for more sales and profit. 

Examples: Recently, in a men’s clothing store, in the department for suits. After a short time, one of the many under-employed salespeople is approaching me (at last!) and selects some suits for me, showing me where I can try them on, and then: nothing! No asking, no advice. Nothing. And this is not an isolated case. Did I buy? No! Of course not. 

Next: My MacBook Air needs a new battery. The Apple Store is in a different city, so I’m looking for Apple authorized stores close to my home. What do I find? Confusing websites without clear statements about price and no possibility for scheduling an online appointment. As such, I’d rather book the appointment directly at Apple online in 30 seconds. And yes, even the price is clear. 

These are just examples and yet wherever you look, potentials for more sales, more...
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Amazing facts

mindset productivity May 26, 2020

Did you know that the average car is only 6 km/h fast? Or that each email costs about 1 dollar? Or that certain computer software massively reduces productivity in ways you probably don’t even think about? You can read all of this in this article, which was published recently in a renowned Swiss newspaper (in German). 

So are we lost? Are we unable to increase productivity after all? Are we condemned to work harder and harder? 

Not at all! Let’s be serious: if you want to create more results and at the same time reduce your negative stress and uncertainty, there are three important levers. What is striking is that these are often neglected in so-called “productivity programs”. 

  1. Mindset. You need to become serious about productivity! Don’t laugh – many have trouble with it, since this means simultaneously taking more responsibility for their own time. How much more convenient it is to sit for an hour in the next meeting!
  2. Value...
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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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Leading in difficult times

leadership May 21, 2020

What does it actually mean to lead in difficult times? There's an old saying that true leadership shows up in times of crisis. When the sun is not shining, when there are storms to be overcome.

I would only agree with this to a limited extent. Because it takes a lot to set the sails properly when the wind comes from behind. In any case, I always find it remarkable how many good opportunities are missed when all doors are open. Some companies extend their competitive edge massively, especially in good times - when everyone can actually afford to do it.

Here comes the most important truth: the biggest difference in success never comes from the outside, but always from the inside. With the right leadership, you can almost always be massively more successful than the average person, no matter what is going on outside.

Here are three essential leadership success factors for orientation from my “vault", each in "easy" and "difficult" times. You can base your own actions on them:
  1. ...
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Do you think exponentially or linearly?

leadership May 14, 2020

Exponential growth has currently become very prominent with the spread of the coronavirus: a small cause (the bartender in Ischgl in Austria) had an exponential effect (thousands of infected people who, in turn, infected thousands).

So far so clear. The problem is that our brain has enormous difficulty processing exponential connections. Instinctively, we always try to draw linear conclusions. This is where the gigantic misconceptions at the beginning of the corona spread came from (and some heads of state have still not understood it today).

This insight is extremely relevant for successful leadership. The most successful organizations are led with exponential leadership. The less successful ones, however, think linear.

If this seems too abstract to you now, here are a few examples of how you can leverage the exponential potential for your team or company and thereby create a considerable competitive advantage:

  1. Cultural change. If you want to make your culture more powerful, i.e....
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