Volkmar Völzke's BLOG


Do You Hear Noises or Music?

leadership productivity Oct 31, 2019

When you study the science of productivity (and I’ve been doing so for years), you learn two things: first, it never stops, and second, you decide your level of productivity at any given time.

If you know people who complain that they never really do what’s most important, then they’ve made the decision not to be productive. It sounds harsh, yes, but it’s true.

Here’s the proof: there are always those who manage to generate significantly more results than the average person (and probably you as well) despite all the adversities.

The secret to their high productivity? Extreme awareness of what is important and delegation or omission of everything else. In other words, it’s all about suppressing all the noise so that you can hear the music.

Here are three practical tips on how to stop hearing the noise and start hearing the music:
  1. Practice mindfulness. Become aware of what is really happening in your conscious mind. The brain is simply not designed...
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Your Wrong Priorities (and the Devastating Consequences)


Do you and your team always have your priorities fully under control and never externally controlled? Do you always achieve what you want? Then you don’t need to read on.

All others (approx. 99.9 percent of you) who are repeatedly absorbed by the urgent things before the important things and who spend too much time on reactive activities should definitely take a look at the following. It could change your life.

The brain is a fascinating organ. Simply put, you can program your subconscious mind with your consciousness through strong emotions and continuous repetition. This programming is important because the subconscious mind is responsible for over 99 percent of our daily decisions. This mechanism causes you to do increasingly more of what you have done in the past, and this realization is crucial for your success.

Here’s an example: if you are used to spending most of your time as a leader solving urgent problems and extinguishing allegorical fires, then you will get...

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That’s Not Who We Are! Or Are We?

leadership mindset Oct 17, 2019

“You know, our people are not born salespeople,” said a CEO in a conversation about increasing sales.

You’ve probably heard such carelessly dropped sentences in your own environment—or even said them yourself: “I’m not like that!” or “We’ve never been good at that.”

The problem is that you are not defining the situation but rather your expectations for the future. If you believe that your team cannot sell, then that will be the case regardless of the people’s actual abilities.

Here’s the big thing: your identity, your team’s identity, and your entire company’s identity have been created over time, and what’s been created can be recreated and changed. But you have to work on it consistently. 

Here are three important steps to change your identity:
  1. Find insight. You have to give yourself and your team the insight that we all create our paradigms and beliefs. Nobody is just “that...
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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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