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Volkmar Völzke's BLOG


Setback? Here’s how to get back on track quickly!

leadership mindset Nov 01, 2017

One of the biggest differences between particularly successful people and teams compared to the average crowd is the ability to get back on their feet quickly after setbacks. 

Here's the good news: you can train the recovery. The most successful people train this ability again and again (and much more frequently than the "normal") by provoking setbacks through more ambitious goals. 

This is like skiing: If you do not go to your limits every now and then, you will hardly get better. 

If you are used to dealing with setbacks, you can go back to normal at least ten times as fast as the rest– with the corresponding positive effects on your success. 

Here are three ideas on how to accelerate your reaction to setbacks: 

  1. Accept the failure. You cannot change the past. Most people (even in business) struggle for too long with past mistakes. The most successful people quickly make a checkmark on setbacks and move on.
  2. Take full responsibility. Only...
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No excuses!

All of us are interspersed with thinking barriers and paradigms.This once helped us to survive. Today, it is poison if we want to advance with our team or our company rapidly. 

Nowadays, the winners are those who restrict themselves with fewer thinking barriers than the rest. 

But beware: do not look at others in your team, but first on yourself.

Here are some uncomfortable indicators that you yourself have limited ways of thinking: 

  1. If you never change your habits, even though they may not lead to great success. These include morning rituals, meeting rituals, your communication habits, your dressing habits, your eating habits and much more.
  2. If you are caught by excuses."We can not do this in our market," "revenue doubling is not possible," "we are not born salespeople" are such excuses that uncover your barriers.
  3. If you only take small steps instead of big leaps. Do you think this is "more reasonable"? Attention: This is also a thinking barrier! Who tells you that...
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A brief history of time

productivity Oct 18, 2017

"A Brief History of Time": No, this is not Stephen W. Hawking's remarkable book (which is said to be the book with the greatest discrepancy between sales and reading), but something much simpler: 

Your time is limited, and you can not multiply it! 

What does this mean according to the laws of economics? Correct: Time is valuable. More valuable than anything else that we can multiply, like money, for instance. 

And here is the bummer: We have all the same amount of time available: exactly 24 hours a day. 

The only difference between the people and their success is what they put into this time to produce results. 

Now you may think: that's all very profane! And you’re right: It is! However, as in the book quoted at the outset, there is a huge discrepancy between understanding and implementation. So, here are some ideas about "time pirates" and "time wizards": 

Time pirates (they steal productive time): 

  • TV
  • Newspapers
  • Meetings
  • Internet
  • ...
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Yes, you can do this, too!

leadership Oct 12, 2017

Some time ago, at the Swiss Family Business Award in Berne / Switzerland, at an annual award ceremony for outstanding family businesses: three companies in the finals, one wins. 

You can always argue to what extent such awards really reward the best and to what extent politics plays a role. And yet, I found it remarkable that the winner (Jucker Farm) – asked about their success recipe – immediately named three decisive factors for the company's sustained success, which fit perfectly into what I am constantly trying to teach to my clients: 

  1. Quick decisions."We do not analyze endlessly, but decide quickly and then go ahead!" I see again and again that countless open decisions are paralyzing companies and their teams.
  2. Flexible in implementation."We quickly adjust our actions when we realize we are not on the right track!" Too many companies are simply too rigid when it comes to the "how". Sometimes, the goals rather than the methods are changed. In these...
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Time for reflection and acceleration!

leadership mindset Oct 04, 2017

Yes, October has begun, and with it, the last 3 months of the year. In principle, this division of time is indeed arbitrary, and yet it is helpful to see the end of the year as a kind of milestone for the route we are marching on. 

As an average-age reader of my memos, you probably have about 20 to 50 of such milestones left in your life. 

This doesn’t sound too much, so it makes sense to make the best of each one. For the next one, you have just barely 3 months left. 

Here is what I mean: 
  1. Ask the following question: What would you regret not having achieved this year? At the end of our lives, we almost always regret what we have not done, but rarely what we have tried.
  2. Accelerate. Yeah, right, double your forces! We all can reach up to 10 times more if we just want to. You know that. How about if you reach as much as in the past nine months in the coming three months? This doesn’t work? Sure it does! If you really want!
  3. Write down your top three...
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What do you live (and work) for?

leadership mindset Sep 28, 2017

I see time and again how we lose sense in the daily business routines, why we do all this. We come every morning, produce, attract customers, improve, generate ideas, execute instructions, answer emails, sit in meetings, talk with customers, and so on. But why? 

From psychology, we know that happiness comes mainly from the positive perception of the "now," from giving to others, and from personal growth.

(This also explains why so many people are unhappy or unfulfilled.) 

This is no different in a company or a team: sustainably successful companies or teams perceive themselves as positive, as making the life of other businesses or people better, and as constantly evolving. 

My tip: Look in the coming week for these three influences for fulfilment and success in your company or team: 
  1. Positive perception: How positively does your team perceive themselves and their own company on a scale 1-10? Do your people feel the company is a place of personal...
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Your commitment to success

leadership mindset Sep 21, 2017

Do you know what makes it easy to determine whether a person, a team, or a whole company succeeds? The answer: whether success is seen as an obligation. 

This is not subtlety, but hard-hitting reality: those who are more successful than the big average view success as non-negotiable. They make success a MUST. 

What is the reason for this small GIANT difference? You are looking for new ways in the event of a setback. Because your success is not negotiable! While "normal" people are looking for excuses and blame, the ones who are committed to success are already back on the road. 

And here it comes: You can change it for yourself, your team, and your company. How? Here are three steps: 
  1. Write down: "My success is my COMMITMENT! My success is non-negotiable!” Commit your team to do so. Add this to your "corporate values" (instead of meaningless statements like "the customer is the focus").
  2. Find exampleswhere you have made your success optional. When you...
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How to illuminate the future

leadership strategy Sep 06, 2017

Yes, sometimes, Facebook helps for generating inspirational ideas! Some time ago, I stumbled upon an article of the renowned Swiss newspaper NZZ, which shines a new light on an well-known topic: 

“We Laggards – or: The Art of Good Life” 

I like the comparison: All our thoughts, plans, and analyses are only small pocket lamps that provide a very limited view into the fog of the future. The only thing that really “enlightens” the future is moving forward. This is the floodlight compared to the pocket lamp, called “thinking” and “planning”. 

This is one main reason why business executives, teams and entire companies remain far below their possibilities: they need far too long to come into action. They fiddle with the pocket lamp for a month, and wish it would finally be brighter and the fog would disappear. However, it does not! 

Here are 3 areas where this is particularly critical (with ideas on what you should...

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How to sabotage your success

mindset productivity Aug 30, 2017
We all have built a mechanism into our thinking which systematically prevents us from becoming more successful.

Yes, right: This mechanism helps us to survive (at least it did in the stone age), but it prevents us from accomplishing more and having a greater impact on the world. 

What am I talking about? Simply, your inability to correctly assess the consequences of non-decisions and non-actions. 

We are usually good at assessing the consequences of actions and decisions. When I eat healthier, I will feel better, will be more active and will live for longer. If we sell better, we will make more profit. And so on. 

We, however, underestimate the consequences of our non-action.

What if we do not contact ten customers today? What if we do not exercise today? What if today, we do not ask our team members for feedback on our behavior? What if we are not investing the necessary hours in our training today? 

The result: We do not do what is necessary and sabotage...

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How to triple your effectiveness

leadership productivity Aug 23, 2017

The last post was about one of the most neglected topics for greater success and high performance: your sloppy language. 

Today, I’ll give you three concrete tips to help you recognize and systematically improve your unconscious language patterns.

The impact of these changes on your success will be significant. 

  1. Uncertainty. Many of our words that sabotage our persuasion ability come from deeply rooted uncertainty. We are afraid to express ourselves clearly, because that would mean we commit in front of others. Hard to believe? Believe me that whenever you express yourself unclearly (“however”, “not bad”, “could work”, etc.), you are uncertain. Work on it!
  2. Mirroring. We reflect our counterparts continuously – subconsciously. We also do this with words. I often experience in executive meetings how the participants “pull themselves down”, linguistically. Tip: Make sure you accept no negative language patterns.
  3. ...
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