Volkmar Völzke's BLOG


The little difference

culture leadership Sep 21, 2018

With my customers (and with companies in general) there are two groups: one group achieves success quite quickly, the other group moves rather slowly, and accepting change seems to be very hard for these groups. 

What is the root cause?

Well, one group is open to new ideas, they question old concepts makes decisions and implement what they have decided. They try out new things and above all are prepared to question themselves. They believe in their own power to shape the future and in the value of external support for this. 

With the other, group, it couldn't be more different: they defend themselves, have little confidence in new things, believe in external factors that make life difficult for them, can't decide on new approaches and needs a long time to start something innovative. As a result, they are skeptical about external help, because it could push them right out of their self-built mental cage. 

The point is: You and your Leadership Team need to decide which...

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Just another 4 months!

leadership strategy Sep 14, 2018

The morning air is already a little fresher, you can feel that autumn is coming. It's always unbelievable in how fast time goes: there are less than four months left in this year! 

Which goals and dreams have you achieved so far, privately and in business, in your career? If you could rate yourself on a scale from 1 to 10, where do you stand? 

Are you fully on course, having fun and influencing other people positively? Are you helping your customers and colleagues more than ever before? Or did time pass by faster than you hoped and you are a little behind your goals? Or didn't anything not go very well this year? 

Wherever you stand, you still have all the possibility to make 2018 outstanding, for yourself and for others. Here are three ideas: 

  1. Decision. If you are not quite where you want to be (or if you still see potential), then make the decision not to accept this situation. Help your team and your colleagues to do this. Most leaders I meet are far too...
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"That's not me!"

leadership mindset Sep 06, 2018

One of the greatest hurdles that will prevent us from achieving more and resulting in us being more fulfilled by lies with the conviction is that we are "the way we are." Like someone's gonna tell us to be just like that.

I have news for you: We can turn into almost anything we want. Even then, we still remain “the ones we are.”

If you hear someone say (or you say it to yourself): "I can't do that," "that's not me" or "that's just manipulation," then this is nothing else but resistance to moving out of the comfort zone.

The problem is not only that people limit their own success, but they are also unhappier. This is like a tight cage that we build around ourselves to protect us against "dangers" from the outside. Not only that it also prevents us from growing.

Here are three ideas on how you can soften your self-built bars:

  1. Clarity. Understand that in principle you can change everything and achieve everything. The only barrier is almost always yourself. Another question...
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The Bridge of Genoa: also a leadership disaster

leadership Aug 24, 2018

It is a well-known wisdom that our true character shows up in stressful situations. Because in this case the control by the conscious mind is reduced or switched off.

Great leaders are distinguished by the fact that they are outstanding leaders especially in stressful situations where "sunshine managers" often fail.

On the contrary, we have recently witnessed a sad demonstration of bad leadership: the catastrophe of the collapse of the Morandi bridge in Genoa in Italy is terrible. I have been here several times and, I am certain that I have already crossed the bridge.

What was needed right after the accident was a prudent clarification of the causes to ensure the prevention of an incident like this from ever happening again? That is precisely what we must expect from the political leaders.

Some have apparently failed this test and provided a sad example of catastrophic leadership (as if it wasn't already enough of a tragedy).

Here are three essential leadership mistakes (but beware:...

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Something is wrong with your culture!

culture leadership Aug 17, 2018

Studies are one of those things: you always have to understand the context before drawing conclusions.

I recently stumbled across a study by Ethan Bernstein and Stephen Turban - two academics from Harvard Business School - who concluded that people in open-plan offices communicate less openly (and more by email instead).

The reason seems clear: people don't want to expose themselves to others with their statements.

Here comes my diagnosis: If you have this problem (that people are afraid to open up to their colleagues), we have a real problem with culture. And open-plan offices simply disclose this (similar to how the reduction of inventories reveals problems in production).

Here are the three root causes if your people are hiding and not communicating openly:

  1. No trust in others. As a leader, you know: if people talk behind the backs of other people, or rather write emails instead of openly addressing problems, we do not have a communication problem, but a problem of trust. No team...
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Why are teams successful - and why not?

culture leadership Aug 09, 2018

What applies to individuals is just as true for teams: The most important foundation for outstanding success is success habits, which are fed by the beliefs.

Sounds simple, but hardly anyone pays attention. Look around you, do you know even one outstanding team that has destructive habits and is unproductive? Or that doesn't believe in its own success?

The good news: you can (and must) train your beliefs and habits.

You have the choice: either you develop your own success habits, or you live the habits of others.

The same applies to teams. Here are three ideas on how you can improve the performance of each team:

  1. Self-image: Improve the image the team has of itself and its own performance. Many teams I see have an inconsistent picture of themselves, the performance of the members, etc.
  2. Self-ideal: How do we want to be perceived? What distinguishes us? What makes us outstanding? In particular, the last question causes many people and teams considerable difficulties.
  3. Self-esteem: Many...
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Why your training programs might be useless

culture leadership Aug 02, 2018

Does this sound familiar? You try to explain to your team (or your colleagues) again and again what matters, what needs to be done and which skills are particularly important right now.

You may even invest a lot in training and education - only to realize the results are limited.

Here comes the exciting thing: the best of the best have different focuses and are therefore at the top. Leadership and sales legend Brian Tracy has coined this formula: (IA + AA) x A = IHP

This means: the inborn attributes (IA) plus the acquired attributes (AA), multiplied by the attitude (A), result in individual human performance (IHP). The important thing: the attitude (A) is the multiplier.

And this is exactly the attitude you have to work hardest on to achieve outstanding success.

Here are three brief ideas on how you can tackle this:

  1. Define the demands on yourself and your team. I'm sure this is not the first time you've heard this from me, precisely because it's so important: What are the standards...
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Franz Beckenbauer was right!

culture leadership Jul 26, 2018

In an interview a long time ago, German soccer legend Franz Beckenbauer replied to a reporter's question "What do you most wish for in your team?

"I'd be happy if every player could at least correctly control the ball after receiving a pass."

For all non-soccer friends: Controlling the ball after a colleague's pass is a basic requirement for a good game. Nevertheless, any amateur player can tell you that this is not so easy.

The same applies to business - if you want to get your team to perform better and into the metaphorical Champions League, make sure that everyone can "control the ball" first.

What does this mean for your team? Here are three ideas:

  1. Reliability. Unreliability is like a disease I've observed spreading more and more: Requests are ignored, deadlines are exceeded without warning, clear promises are not kept for flimsy reasons, etc. Reliability is not only a virtue but a necessity for high-performing teams!
  2. Responsibility. Accepting the ball means taking full...
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The summer slump myth


"I can't reach anybody in summer anyway!" 

"People are all on vacation anyway!" 

"In July and August, we can take things a little easier. In September we'll be taking off again!"

Do you sometimes hear such statements from your people (and from yourself)? Well, here comes another uncomfortable truth (you're used to that from me): the most prolific people never say such things. They step on the gas just when the others are relaxing.

"But you can't ignore the facts," I hear you say, "there really aren't many people in the office!"

Attention: You hear me, again and again, warning you about the myths that we constantly tell ourselves. Only this doesn't make them true!

Here are three ideas on how to deal with the so-called "summer slump":

  1. Mindset. Many "facts" only emerge in our minds if we say them long enough. If we keep telling ourselves that we can't reach a customer in the summer, for example, that's how it's going to be. Believe it or not, you produce the results you...
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Germany is out! And you?

culture leadership mindset Jul 13, 2018

Even if you're not watching the Soccer World Cup, you've probably heard that the German team - the previous World Champions - were eliminated in the early group stage.

From the perspective of success, it is not only the fact itself that is interesting, but also the “how” and “why”. The question behind it is quite simple: how can a team of world-class players play so poorly?

Before you look gloatingly or disappointedly at the German soccer team, ask yourself how you and your own team are doing.

Here are three thought-provoking ideas:

  1. Mental work. True winning teams are distinguished above all by outstanding brainwork. It's less the skills of the team members than the winning spirit: Do I really believe in winning and am I willing to pay the price? Or do I want to play it safe? Where does your team stand in relation to these questions?
  2. Development work. Once things go well, we are tempted to neglect our own development work. The same applies to teams. The...
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