Volkmar Völzke's BLOG


This is how everyone can overcome their uncertainties (yes: you, too!)

leadership productivity Dec 01, 2017

In the last memo, I wrote about how your own uncertainties stand in the way of more success. It is especially blatant if you are a leader. Here, your uncertainty is transferred to others. 

The difficulty is that many managers are unaware of their insecurities and prefer to hide them. All (yes: all!) people have insecurities, even the most successful role models. 

The difference: the most successful ones handle it differently than the rest. 

Here are three tips on how the best leaders manage their insecurities and even capitalize on them: 

  1. Accept uncertainty! The world is uncertain and very unpredictable. However, many pretend you can create an oasis of certainty around you. Forget it! If you accept deep inside there will always be insecurity (as there is always gravity), you can relax and find ways to deal with it. This step sounds simple, but it is not, as it shakes up deeply rooted beliefs (for example, if you had a well-guarded childhood).
  2. Move ahead!...
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You hate uncertainty!

leadership productivity Nov 23, 2017

Today, I will make a personal confession to you: I'm having a lot of trouble dealing with uncertainty. Not good! Why? Because every piece of growth, every bit of progress, and every change causes uncertainty. 

The good news: I'm not alone! So, I can help others overcome the difficulties with uncertainty, because I just learned how to deal with the challenge myself. 

The bad news: I'm not alone! The more CEOs I support, the more I realize that many have the same difficulty: fear of uncertainty. 

The even worse news: As a team leader or CEO, you will sabotage your success if you're having trouble with uncertainty. 

The good news (finally!): You can work on it. However, most likely you'll need a coach for that. 

Here are three indicators for your difficulty to deal with uncertainty that you should definitely tackle:

  1. You don't trust (almost) anybody. Because trust in others causes uncertainty. The other one can abuse the trust! Right, that can happen! However,...
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Do you believe in the talent myth?

leadership mindset Nov 16, 2017

Today, the chances are that I'll push you out of your comfort zone. And that's exactly the purpose of this memo: to stimulate thought and action through emotions. 

Let’s get to the point: One of the most persistent myths is the one of “talent.” 

Science shows there is no more or less talent. There is only more or less willingness to work harder, smarter, and more sustainably on specific goals. 

Yes, I know, this takes away the excuse of many people, who prefer not to invest much effort in some tasks because they tell themselves they have "no talent." Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool have demonstrated in numerous studies – explained in their excellent book "PEAK” – that the highest achievers have one behaviour in common: deliberate practice, combined with perseverance. 

I'm not talking about the physical benefits of individuals (yes, they exist), but about all of us being able to accomplish almost everything through mental...

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How to immediately sell more

Do you believe that you or your company could sell more? 

Let’s suppose, as a manager, you would have top sellers, equipped with optimal sales methods and a winning sales mindset, as well as excellent leadership: how much more could you sell? 10%, 20%, 50%? More? 

For most companies, sales and profit could be dramatically increased by some simple sales optimization measures.

The problem: Most leaders look at the wrong symptoms and pull the wrong triggers. 

My latest article in the Swiss SME magazine ORGANISATOR (in German) explains the three main barriers to greater sales success with practical tips on what you can do right away in the coming months to see substantial improvements to your “top and bottom line “ – sustainably. 

You can either request the article as pdf in German by clicking here or get the key points explained right below: 

Sales success barrier #1: No winning mindset.

A lack of winning mindset is a key issue in most...

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

leadership mindset Nov 02, 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 19, 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 13, 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 05, 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 29, 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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