Volkmar Völzke's BLOG


Yes, you need more ambition!

leadership Oct 11, 2019

I just produced a video training on "Ambition" for one of my clients. It's fascinating what meaning this topic gets when you decide to become much more successful as a person, as a team or as a company.

In my experience, lack of ambition is one of the most important reasons why people and companies stay below their potential.

That's remarkable since all children are ambitious: they want to become astronauts or something similar. Later, we are taught to think in terms of limitations, usually for the rest of our lives.

All great progress has been started with thinking outside the norm and with the ambition to achieve fundamentally different results. This applies to social upheavals as well as to science and business.

So what can you do to significantly and sustainably increase the ambition for yourself and your team? Here are three ideas:
  1. Irrationality. Develop "unreasonable" goals that go far beyond the norm, i.e. what is considered normal. Important: these goals must evoke...
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Never think it's easy!

leadership mindset Oct 03, 2019

"Actually, you should fly in with the helicopter", one of my customers once said, alluding to the fact that I have to lead an extraordinary life if I heed all my own wisdom.

Some of my readers and customers get the impression I have everything under control and always know the best answers. After all, I'm always writing about how to be much more successful with teams and companies.

Today I'll tell you a secret: I fight every day just like everyone else to become better and lead a more fulfilling life. And that's certainly not always easy. My mindset acquired as a child is not always helpful.

Perhaps this insight will help you if you sometimes ask yourself why it is so difficult to take even small steps forward at times, while at other times big leaps can be made quite quickly.

As a reminder, here are the three most important insights that will get you through difficult times and give you the energy to hold on (and that every highly successful person uses):
  1. Learning. The most...
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Are you a victim or a creator?

leadership Sep 26, 2019

Do you create by yourself or are you the victim of other people' creations? It is impossible to do both at the same time!

If you see yourself as a victim of external circumstances, events or the decisions of others, you are giving up all responsibility and the possibility of exerting influence. 

Quiz question: where do you find the most victims today? Right, in social media. And unfortunately also in many companies. One of the main focuses of my work is to give people the courage to be creative (because we all had that as children).

The simple truth: You can shape something in any situation, even if it's just your attitude (as Viktor E. Frankl describes as a concentration camp inmate in his book "Man's search for meaning"). Most of us have significantly more creative possibilities than we think, often with immediate positive consequences.

Here are three concrete ideas on how you can strengthen your creative power and that of your team:
  1. Create goals. Every morning write down...
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The biggest lever for generating thrilled customers


In some subjects, I find it remarkable that it always takes studies to prove an obvious fact (even if such studies sometimes reveal new nuances).

One such topic is the connection between the enthusiasm of the crew and enthusiastic customers.

(Attention: I deliberately do not use "satisfied" because that is not enough. If you don't even have satisfied people and satisfied customers, you won't survive with your business anyway).

A few days ago, the Harvard Business Review published the article "The Key to Happy Customers? Happy Employees", which confirms this thesis with a larger study.

Here are three conclusions from my viewpoint and my experience, which is relevant for most companies and teams:
  1. Enthusiastic customers. If you want more customers who buy from you again and again and who recommend your company to others, then you must actively inspire them. Important: Enthusiasm is an emotion, not a rational consideration ("Let's be thrilled now..."). So, you have to create emotional...
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What will be better by the end of this week?

leadership productivity Sep 17, 2019

Here is a short and important reminder of how you can stay on course this week and often achieve a lot more than average.

Answer this question: "What will be better by the end of the week?" Watch the video for additional insights.

Who else could benefit from this message? Forward it to friends and colleagues.

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People need perspective!

leadership Sep 12, 2019

What strikes me most about companies is the lack of a true perspective. When I ask my typical question "what would you change immediately if you had all the power to do it?" most people have no or only a very tactical answer.

Almost nobody comes up with a really great idea. Most people work in the same company for many years and also have various ideas for improvement (mostly for the others). What's missing is a real perspective that's worth fighting for.

The good news is that we all have the ability to develop great perspectives. For most, it's just been withdrawn over many years. "Stay with what you know" is the motto.

However, what you unlearn, you can learn again. This is one of your core tasks if you want to achieve something outstanding together with others, especially as a leader.

How do you do it? Here are three tips:
  1. Life perspective. Do you have a vision for your life? Who do you want to be? What do you want to change in the world? With whom? Why? And so on. Such a vision...
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They're always a thousand reasons against it.

leadership strategy Sep 05, 2019

Recently we spontaneously took the train over the Bernina Pass to Italy for two days. The Bernina mountain line is part of the UNESCO World Heritage, as one of only three railway lines in the world.

Especially in Switzerland, there are many fascinating railway lines, all of which have one thing in common: purely rational economic reasons could hardly ever justify the construction.

What was needed was the sometimes obsessive passion of individuals, coupled with a firm belief in the possibilities and in doing something good for the region. Also, it needs ongoing marketing, often even worldwide for the whole thing to be economically viable.

My point is this: at any given time, there have certainly been 1000 reasons not to carry out the project. And yet it was done. Why? Because it is hard and because we can do it. And because it does something good.

We can find it crazy or irresponsible. But exactly such a mindset, combined with passion and perseverance, moves us forward.

How does it...

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The other way

leadership mindset Aug 29, 2019

A few weeks ago, I went hiking again on the Grand Saint Bernard; one of the most beautiful alpine passes in Switzerland.

This time I changed an important parameter: I took the train and the bus instead of the car. Although I've been there several times by car, this time the experience was different. For instance, we drove through a pretty village that you usually miss. I also finished the hike at a different place than at the beginning. And so on.

My point is this: we see other things, act differently and produce different results if we simply change the routes and means.

In many companies, I see too many routines far too fixed. The same results are produced over and over again. Just average. Outstanding things rarely happen when everything happens the same way each time.

Here are three simple ideas to push your team or the whole company out of the habitual track:
  1. Habits. I've suggested it more than once: do something different every day. Examples: Take another route or other means...
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You always win!

leadership mindset Aug 23, 2019

There is a rather uncomfortable truth that is hard for many to digest: You have the exact life that you want and the exact level of success and failure that you want. 

Your subconscious mind will constantly make decisions for you that will bring you closer to your goals. Also, several studies show that we make about 95% of our decisions unconsciously. So we don't even notice when we make them. 

Therefore, if you do not have the success in business and life you dream of, then the reason is that you are constantly giving your subconscious mind the wrong goals. 

Don't worry: you're not alone. The connection between subconscious goals and level of success is true for every person, every team and even entire companies. 

The consequence: to be more successful and achieve different things than before, you will have to intervene in this subconscious control process. Usually, this requires intensive work, preferably with an external expert (coach, sparring partner). ...

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The eternal drama with the mindset

leadership mindset Aug 15, 2019

When I talk to CEOs and other leaders about how they can achieve more with their team, the conversation most often turns to the same topic: mindset.

"The mindset of our people is not geared towards winning." Or:
"The employees are too satisfied with the status quo. There is no pressure." And:
"How can I change the mindset of my people?"

Those are just a few of the typical statements I hear too often.

After studying dozens of companies and conducting countless research on the subject, I can tell you three certain facts, which are crucial if you want to change the mindset of your people toward a winning team culture:

  1. The key barrier. You are in your own way! Most leaders who want to create a winning team culture have to work on themselves first. Don't worry, that's perfectly normal. We ourselves are always the key to the success of a team. And that always starts with our own mindset.
  2. Lacking awareness. There is hardly any awareness about the topic of mindset. Most people will look...
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