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Volkmar Völzke's BLOG


Take it easy!

leadership mindset Aug 10, 2019

Sometimes, I honestly get the feeling from some of the companies that I have visited have been imposed with a "laughter ban". Not only that: somehow everything in the work environment, including the tasks look tedious and almost painful. 

I hear conversations like this:

The next project? "We'll never make it!"

The sales targets? "The markets won't allow that! And the customers are all restraining themselves anyway!”

To strategically advance the company? "I'd love to, but because of all the problems I don't have the time!”

Do these examples sound familiar to you?

"Energy flows where focus goes" is coaching master Tony Robbins’s old saying. In other words, he means: If you only ever discuss the problems, as negatively as possible (and in some companies, it almost seems to be a competition), you will get more and more of them.

My suggestion: loosening up! How? Here are three ideas:
  1. More questions. Instead of seeing a problem in everything, ask strong questions....
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Why should you fly to the moon?

leadership strategy Aug 01, 2019

About 50 years ago, we were on the moon for the first time (and about 47 years ago we were on the moon for the last time). Click here to watch a short video related to this event.

Many people ask the question "Why should we go to the moon at all?" And: "Aren't there more urgent problems to solve?

Such questions reveal the precise problem: they kill ambition in the first place and focus on the urgent instead of the magnificent.

Of course, this is not about the moon, but about the fact that most leaders have forgotten to think big and to believe in extraordinary goals. 

"Don't dare too much" is the motto. In that case, it is better to first optimize the processes or start the next employee survey, for instance. Also, many managers prefer to spend their days discussing the problems they face.

I miss the big visions, in politics and especially in business.

Here are three suggestions if you want to get out of the comfort zone a little bit:
  1. New questions. Don't ask "why", but " why...
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A winning team culture in 3 stages

culture leadership Jul 25, 2019

It is difficult to turn an average company (or business area) into a sustainably outstanding one. 

That's exactly why the best coaches are called upon in sport when it comes to advancing to the next league (or to the Champions League finals). Also, leadership is extremely important in business for the same reason.

What does a top coach (or even what I do with my clients regarding the above question) actually do?

If you study the topic (and especially the successes), it's always these three steps with which you can turn an average team into an outstanding winning team:

  1. Basics. The reasons for more or less success can be found in very simple traits with each individual, which were often only completely forgotten: Full responsibility, ambition, perseverance, and some other things are very simple principles of every winning team, which most people violate daily. That's why we first have to work systematically on these principles.
  2. Clarity. For each significant change, it needs...
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Put the pedal to the metal!

leadership sales Jul 19, 2019

Is it the same for you? As soon as the New Year celebrations have faded away, the first half of the year is already over. You don't even have six months to reach your annual goals.

Maybe you're on the right track, or or maybe you’re behind schedule (at least that's what I hear from various companies). What's important is that the most successful companies never adjust their targets downwards. Instead, successful companies consider how they can still make good progress now to exceed even the most demanding targets.

Do you say you can't do that because of the global threat of trade war, lack of demand, the difficult situation or other external factors? The brutal truth is: with this mentality you and your team return to the mental comfort zone.

I challenge you: Now is the time to go even further out of your comfort zone and into the performance zone and let it really rumble in the second half of the year. How? Well, here are three ideas to implement:
  1. Calibration. Don't allow...
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How do you feel about the summer?

culture leadership Jul 11, 2019

What do you think of this summer? Too hot? Or rather, wasn't it too cold until a few days ago?

My point is this: no matter what you think, there will be many people who see the whole thing differently than you do. Although that's actually a trivial insight, but it's always overlooked in everyday life.

Sometimes I jokingly say that as a leadership coach I am at times also an expensive reminder. So, with this point:

Your internal story about this summer has a massive influence on your behavior and your actions (for remembrance: Thinking Behavior Action Results).

If someone has a different story about it (i.e. thinks differently), he or she will behave differently. Thus, they will achieve different results. But it gets even harder: the other person will interpret your behavior from his or her viewpoint. They might also react "strangely" in your view.

Now, here comes the transition to business: we not only think differently only about the summer weather but about everything. It also...

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Delete these words from your life

leadership mindset Jul 04, 2019

I have often written about the importance of language for your success: The words and expressions you use repeatedly influence not only your own success but also your environment.

An example: If you constantly react with "yes but" to suggestions, you send your own brain in search of reasons not to look at the suggestion in the first place. And sure enough, you will find these reasons!

Besides these language patterns, there are also very simple words and incredibly widespread phrases and send a message that can hamper success:

  1. "Employees". If you want to have a winning team culture, i.e. more commitment, fun, and productivity, then you don't need people who are "employed". Or have you ever heard of "employees" in top-class sporting teams? What you need are "team members" who devote everything, have fun, and achieve results.
  2. I have no time.” We all have the same amount of time. So why is it then that some people get done massively more than the average? The truth is you...
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This is 500!

culture leadership strategy Jun 27, 2019

500 weeks ago, I committed to sending value to my community every single week. This is almost 10 years!

I called this newsletter "Friday Noon Memo".

Thank you for being a reader and by this a supporter of the “success movement” for making the world a better place.

Here are four landmark posts over the last 500 weeks.

I think they didn't lose any relevance.

Enjoy reading!

Issue #1, October 9th, 2009:

Foundations for a better performance 

Let me invite you to our Friday noon memo where we discuss fresh ideas about better performance of people and organisations. Enjoy reading.

Always the same story

All organisations presume they are different from the competition. Perhaps they are, to a certain extent; however, three key challenges are almost the same for each organisation, no matter in which industry, of what size, if non-profit or commercial.

  1. The goals, objectives and strategies are not consistent or not consistently communicated.
  2. The business processes...
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Small and powerful

leadership mindset Jun 20, 2019

Small steps over time can produce huge results. I have already written elsewhere about the compounding effect.

This applies not only to our own actions but also to upheavals in the market. Only relatively few enormous changes come overnight. Often it takes years, sometimes decades (or even over 100 years, like an electric car).

The problem: we overlook the small daily changes that ultimately lead to huge upheavals. Our brain is poor at developing long-term predictions.

We see this wonderfully in European politics right now: the "big people's parties" have not seen (or want to see) the change taking place in society for decades: Away from lifelong employment in the same company towards "patchwork careers". Away from lifelong loyalty, towards day-to-day decisions. And so on.

We can like it or not: it remains a reality.

How can we deal with this creeping change? What should we as a company do to escape the fate of those who have not seen it coming?

Three ideas:
  1. Strategy. Make strategy...
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What makes a strong vision

strategy Jun 18, 2019

Most of the corporate visions I see are useless. So what makes a really powerful vision? In the video, I share three important characteristics.

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The real meaning of productivity

productivity Jun 13, 2019

Productivity does not mean being busy! You probably know enough people who are busy all the time, but their results are hardly recognizable.

In any case, what I see time again and time again is mainly managers who have too much to do, but who, according to their own statements, rarely tackle the really important issues.

Alarm signals:

  • They rush from meeting to meeting.
  • They always have a full email inbox.
  • They feel constantly interrupted and hardly ever get to the really important things.

The good news: Productivity is your choice.

Here are the three most important tips, which can serve as a reminder to massively increase your productivity:
  1. Willpower. Ask yourself which mindset prevents you from becoming more productive. Often it is the ongoing reward of feeling important when you are constantly "needed". Often it is fear of massive results (yes: fear of results is real). You can become 10x more productive. But for that, you really need to want it. Most people don't even try
  2. ...
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