Free weekly professional success tips, directly applicable ➔ Subscribe here

Volkmar Völzke's BLOG


What do your people think about?

culture leadership mindset Jun 12, 2019

It is commonly said, “You will become what you think of most of the time.” This applies to any organization. The more people talk about “unsolvable” problems, the more unsolvable those problems become. 

The more managers talk about tough competition from Asia or elsewhere, the more the staff will act as if the situation is hopeless. The more people think that the next meeting is a waste of time, the more likely it is that the meeting will be ineffective.

The root cause is the programming of our brain: we move in the direction we are facing. And we generate the reality we think of most.

This is why the assessment of any company’s difficulties is fairly easy for me as a consultant: most of the time, I just need to listen carefully to how people talk during the day. You as a leader can do the same: listen carefully to yourself and to your people. And then influence the thought patterns.

Here are five ideas:

  • During a meeting, when...
Continue Reading...

Why you're struggling

There are concepts in psychology that, if taught in school and university, would make all the difference in people’s lives and careers. But nobody teaches them. 

Only when we study the “old” masters of success psychology, such as Jim Rohn, Zig Ziglar, Darren Hardy, John Maxwell, and others, we find out about the power of these simple truths. 

This is no “theoretical stuff” (as you might think), but precisely the difference between the most successful people and the rest. 

One of these principles is this: you attract success by who you become, not by pursuing it. I was writing about this in earlier posts.

Today, I want to give you three concrete examples you can apply in your business immediately: 
  • If you want more sales, become a person that attracts people who want to spend money with you and your business. No matter what you sell, first, you sell yourself as a person. Are you somebody, who others want to leave large amounts of...
Continue Reading...

Why change doesn’t work

leadership strategy May 29, 2019

When it comes to any kind of change – in your business, your team, or your life – I often use the spaceship analogy: to create any lasting change is like lifting a spaceship into the orbit: you need to escape earth’s gravity, which will inevitably pull you back to where you’ve been before should you fail to do so. 

For achieving escape velocity, you must give full power to your engines.

To translate this into business reality, you must take massive action. The emphasis is on “massive”. 

In my experience this is where most change initiatives fail: they take SOME action, but lack MASSIVE action.

Here is what I mean in 3 steps: 

  1. Decide. With your leadership team, clearly decide how important the planned change is for each of you PERSONALLY (yes, the personal aspect is vital!). Only MASSIVE importance builds the foundation for MASSIVE action.
  2. Start immediately. Every change initiative that you only start next week or next month...
Continue Reading...

Do you miss the future in sales?

marketing & sales May 23, 2019

It's no longer a secret. However, most salespeople and entire sales teams try to ignore this simple fact: Sales tomorrow will differ from yesterday, especially in B2B (Business-to-Business).

The reasons have been discussed a thousand times: Buyers are much better informed, take less time, have much more choice ("global sourcing"), etc. Yet many sellers still find it extremely difficult to adapt.

Instead, customer visits are carried out in the same way as in the past, hoping that the presentation of the products will motivate potential buyers to buy. It is still expected that the prospective customer will contact us because he has a "need." It is assumed that the prospective customer reads my emails and listens to my voice messages.

Here comes the brutal truth: Forget it! If you win a customer with these outdated methods, you have won the lottery. Congratulations! But you can't increase your revenue anymore.

So, what do you need to do? Here are three things you absolutely have to...
Continue Reading...

Only 3 seconds!


The next three seconds decide your life! Doesn’t that sound too dramatic? Well, there is some truth in it.

You can completely change your entire life within a few seconds. Also, you had already done this in the past: when you asked your partner perhaps the most important question. When you called the prospective buyer, who later became your best customer. Or, when you separated from a team member - for the good of both sides.

You can prepare every decision for a long time. Making the decision then takes seconds or even fractions of a second.

But, here's the most important thing: you can use the next three seconds to make a decision that will have a significant positive impact on your success. Alternatively, you can let these three seconds pass.

Examples for applying the 3-second rule:
  • Take a deep breath and then call the ten people you've been trying to follow up for a long time.
  • Take a deep breath and then finally sign up for the course that will take you massively forward...
Continue Reading...

Everything will be different tomorrow!

leadership mindset May 10, 2019

I'll tell you a secret: your whole life is just one big change. Nothing remains the same. Even not your body, as your cells are constantly renewing, just like your environment. What is not constantly renewing will die.

In other words: Change is the normal state. Stability is an illusion.

And yet we often pretend we can keep everything as it is. Where does that belief originate? We learn over years and decades - at school and work - that it is good to control the state of things.

Do you know what the most successful people do (as opposed to the average)? They control the change process instead of the current state.

The good news is that you can learn that process. But you have to 'get to grips' with your way of thinking.

Here is my micro-training program for you:
  1. Consciousness. Write down what has changed around you in the last 12 months, both small and big things. Often, we don't notice changes and think that everything stays the same. This is an illusion.
  2. Design. Write down what...
Continue Reading...

Are you boring or polarizing?

leadership strategy May 01, 2019

Marketing experts know that it can be quite a good strategy to deliberately build a brand that a certain number of people would rather hate than like. The rationale behind this counterintuitive idea: it is better to be known for SOMETHING—even if this is controversial —than for NOTHING.

The more emotional this “something” is, the better. Logic (boring for most people) makes people think, but only emotions make people act.

The point is that if you play this game carefully, there will be more people who love your brand for exactly the same traits that other people hate it.

Basically, this is the same logic that applies to the Blue Ocean Strategy: find benefits, features, or values that make you stand out from the crowd. If you stay the same as many others, then—no matter how good you are—you will have a difficult business life, troubled with price war and/or the need to deliver ever-more features for less costs.

Here comes the twist: the same...

Continue Reading...

How many rear-view mirrors do you need?

culture leadership Apr 25, 2019

How much do you look ahead and how much do you look into the rear mirror?

How much time do you spend on creating your future and how much time explaining to others (and yourself) why you do what you do?

These are crucial questions not only for your own life, but even more so for any professional organization.

Too many companies become paralyzed by looking into the rear-view mirror.

They squander precious hours on project reviews, steering committee meetings, deep-dives, audits, and reports, forgetting that such time is much better spent moving forward than looking over their shoulders.

Looking backwards is caused by a culture of fear, mistrust, and control. People look into the rear-view mirror to check who is behind them, and organizations and their leaders do the same.

Here are some indications that your organization spends too much time looking backwards:
  • Preparation and execution of project reviews takes more than ten percent of the project leader’s time.
  • The...
Continue Reading...

How to eat an elephant


Maybe you know the comical question, "How do you eat an elephant?" The answer: "Bite by bite!"

The background is a very relevant one for changing behaviors and corporate cultures: Most changes never happen - even if you consider them important - because people never really start.

And by "start" I don't mean that you're attending a workshop or reading a book on the subject (although these can be important preparations), but that you're really changing something about yourself.

The order is always: awareness intent to change information execution perseverance.

Steps 1-3 can be seen quite often among individuals and in companies. Even step 4 sometimes still occurs. At step 5 we lost most of the people, despite our best intentions. The elephant mentioned at the beginning still stands tall.

So how can you overcome this obstacle? Here are three steps:
  1. Simple process. Simply define the steps you want to take on yourself. Then implement them, every day. Example: If you want to be more...
Continue Reading...

Downturn? Upswing? Full Swing!

culture leadership Apr 12, 2019

I don't know about you, but I can't hear all the fuss anymore about the coming economic downturn in Europe. Well, I do not presume to predict if and when there will be anyone in the near future or not.

My point is different: the fitter you and your team and your company are, the less any external influences can affect you. On the contrary: the best-trained teams can even benefit from a deterioration of the situation.

I like to talk about going through any crisis in “full swing”. Three examples:

  1. Full swing in sales. Bring your sales strategies, sales methods and above all the mindset of your teams up to speed at all times. Continuously increase your sales productivity. Most companies do far too little for this and then wonder when nothing more is sold as soon as the situation becomes difficult.
  2. Full swing in leadership. Work continuously to increase the quality of leadership in your company or team. Here, too, I can see that most companies have a lot of catching up to...
Continue Reading...

50% Complete

Yes, I want to benefit from the FRIDAY NOON MEMO

Simply enter your name and email and hit "Submit".

Important: You will receive an email with information on data privacy, which you must confirm in order to register effectively. Please check your email inbox.