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Volkmar Völzke's BLOG


The amazing differences

culture leadership Jan 30, 2020

One of the wonderful things for me as a sparring partner, consultant and executive coach is that in recent years, I have had the opportunity to look into well over a hundred companies in all kinds of industries. Many of them became clients.

One thing I always find fascinating: the different ways of thinking, behaving and working that the people in the companies - and above all the managers - use to achieve their successes (and failures).

What is an absolute must for some people may have never been thought of by others. For some, weekly briefings are routine; others even have trouble arranging such an appointment once a year.

Some show fun and humour; others make you feel like you have to go to the cellar to laugh. Some constantly encourage and challenge themselves with coaching and training, while others almost never do anything of the kind.

Here is my point: There is a clear connection between how a team thinks and acts and its ongoing successes.

The problem: Most people never look...

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Learning from Beethoven in 2020

mindset productivity Jan 23, 2020

Welcome to 2020! This year marks the 250th anniversary of Ludwig van Beethoven’s birth. You will certainly hear more about this event over the course of the year—at least, you will if you are a little bit interested in music.

Here, right at the beginning of the year, are some interesting lessons we can learn from his life, in case you think you have too many problems in yours:

  1. Beethoven’s father became an alcoholic, and his mother died when he was 17. He had to take care of his two younger brothers from then on.
  2. His hearing loss started at the age of about 30 and progressed to complete deafness later on.
  3. He could not marry his love because of class differences.

These are only three of his problems. What did he do with them? Did he complain and withdraw? Quite the opposite. Despite all adversities, he played at countless performances and “incidentally” composed 722 pieces, including operas, symphonies, and piano sonatas. 

The next time you want to...

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Don’t take yourself so damn seriously.

mindset Jan 17, 2020

The world doesn't stop turning because of your decisions. Simply do the best you can do right now to improve your own life and the lives of others.

More here:

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An Ingenious Method to Increase Profits

marketing & sales Jan 16, 2020

Here again is a business lesson from real life. If you apply the following, you can double your profits relatively simply (although the implementation is, of course, never quite as easy).

Over Christmas, I was with the family in Baden-Baden, which is famous for its thermal baths. One of these spas has an interesting offer: you go through 17 stations that build on each other to maximize the positive experience. The price of this experience is about twice as much as a comparable offer from another spa. 

Now comes the exciting part. These 17 stations are nothing more than any other thermal bath has to offer: showers, hammam, pool, jacuzzi, etc.

So, what happened? The “17 steps” communicate a value that “two-hour thermal bath” simply does not suggest. 

How can you benefit from this strategy in your business? Here are three ideas:
  1. Packages. Create packages for your services and products that suggest a logical choice for your customers.
  2. Clarity. Be very...
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How to kick-start your year

productivity Jan 14, 2020

How do you make the first quarter of the new year substantially more successful than last year? In the video, I explain a core idea.

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How 2020 Will Be Very Different

leadership mindset Jan 09, 2020

You are likely to hear all kinds of well-intentioned advice on how to be more successful and happier in 2020, and I will not repeat it here. But when I look at past projects and coaching sessions with my clients, there are certainly some places where I would like to see more courage to make significant changes.

Here are five ideas for a completely different (and, therefore, even better) 2020:

  1. Don’t take yourself so damn seriously. We are all fallible individuals who try to make the best out of our lives. The world keeps on turning with or without us.
  2. Your life is finite. Stop putting things off and start moving. At the very least, plan a fixed start date in your calendar. Make use of every day!
  3. You have all the power. You are incredibly powerful when it comes to positively influencing others, but most people suppress this power for fear of attracting too much attention. Make the lives of at least three people a little better every day and do so very purposefully.
  4. You decide...
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Does your sales team rock 2020?

I find it amazing with what degree of complacency some CEOs and sales managers accept a mediocre performance in sales. Almost like a law of nature! There always seems to be enough reasons:

  1. “You simply can't get good salespeople these days!”
  2. “In our industry, customers always bought because of low price!”
  3. "Someone is just a salesperson, or he/she is not. You can hardly change someone!”

And so on. Frankly, I can't hear these excuses any more.

If people put just as much energy into the advancement of their sales as to look for reasons for trouble, we would be already a considerable step further.

My question is quite simple: What do you do to make your sales really rock in 2020?

More growth than in recent years, a higher margin, more enthusiastic customers and so on.

Of course, this is not possible with the old methods. Indeed, most salespeople have to considerably shake up their mindsets and attitude. Not to mention new sales strategies, tactics and...

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3 Important Reminders for 2020

leadership mindset Dec 26, 2019

In this time when most of us are less "busy" with daily routines and more thinking about essential questions, it is good to remember some important principles.

Here are 3 extremely important reminders for the coming year that many of us keep forgetting:

  1. There are no boundaries, either for yourself or for others.
  2. Change comes through action, not through consideration.
  3. Happiness comes from progress, not from security and stagnation.

In the video I explain more background and give tips on each of these three reminders.

I wish you a strong start into the new year!

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A life full of possibilities

leadership Dec 19, 2019

Just before the holidays is a good moment for me to finally listen to the book, The Art of Possibility by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander. Absolutely worth hearing and reading!

The former world-renowned conductor, and now musical director of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, and his wife share not only fascinating episodes from orchestral life, but also, above all, how to unfold the absolute best of people.

These are strong leadership lessons!

One topic I particularly liked and considered to be extremely relevant for almost all leaders is the removal of self-imposed barriers and the opening up of almost unlimited possibilities through outstanding leadership.

Concrete tip:

"If you first give your team members the highest positive rating and then let them write how they will achieve this outstanding rating (in the future), you will eliminate all fears of failure in one fell swoop and open up completely new horizons for outstanding results.

Because the focus is now...

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How to create momentum for 2020 – right now!

leadership sales Dec 12, 2019

Slowly, the year is coming to an end – again. Every year, the same old story!

Let's talk about business (Christmas cookies have to wait): What can you still do this year for 2020, even if you only have a few days left? Quite a lot!

Because now is not only the ideal time to contact customers, business partners and colleagues that you have neglected for too long, but above all to get the coming year going.

Yes, exactly: It is now that your performance in the first quarter of 2020 that will be decided.

Here are three very concrete ideas about what you should absolutely do in the next two weeks to start 2020 in pole position:
  1. Great ambition. Define your ambition for 2020 right now: What great result do you want to achieve in the coming year that you have not achieved so far; that has absolutely nothing to do with your current position. When it comes to sales, you can set a goal of doubling your numbers. In leadership, your ambition can be to develop your team in such a way that...
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