Volkmar Völzke's BLOG


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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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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