Volkmar Völzke's BLOG


Your commitment to success

leadership mindset Sep 22, 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 07, 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 31, 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 24, 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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Beware of your words!

leadership Aug 17, 2017

WHAT you say can change A LOT. HOW you say it can change EVERYTHING.” 

Some behaviors for peak performance are very easy to understand, but extremely difficult to implement. This includes the way we express ourselves as we speak. 

The point is this: the words you use say more about you than what you “actually” want to say. I always experience this: the team members are enthusiastic about their project and generate meaningful results. Consequently, the team leader should say a few words of appreciation. What do the team members who think of themselves as having shown outstanding performance hear? “Yes, you have done it quite well. With the results, we can probably start something,” or the like.     

What is the statement? Most will understand: “This was not at all an acceptable performance.” 

And here comes the worst: most of the time, the boss is not even aware of his flaws. He really wanted to say...

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Why Roger Federer wins

leadership Aug 04, 2017

Quite some time ago, the tennis player and exceptional sportsman Roger Federer won his eighth title in Wimbledon and is thus also the record holder in this category. It doesn’t matter how much you are interested in tennis:

If you want to achieve more in private life or business, it is always worth looking at such outstanding personalities. 

I don’t want to repeat here his various strengths, as you can read about them everywhere. But the longer I study Roger Federer and other successful people, the more I notice exactly one characteristic that most others do not have: 

The best of the best can always add one level on top. 

What do I mean by that? Let’s keep with the example of Federer: Whenever it gets a little tight, when the opponent puts him under pressure, he gets a little better, hits a little more precisely, increases his performance a bit. 

You can also observe this with other top athletes and winners: If they are under...

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What are you staring at?

leadership mindset Jul 27, 2017

Recently, the marketing guru, Seth Godin, wrote an excellent short article describing our habits, which are often in the way of dealing effectively with change. 

He brings a good example: If an alien watched people in an elevator, he would notice the people usually stand in a corner and stare at the display over the door (or their smartphone). 

To conclude that these are the decisive actions for moving the elevator would be wrong. The almost unnoticed action that someone pushes the button, however, is decisive. 

The analogy is perfect: We all believe that what is done most is the most important and forget to push the right buttons. 

Here are three ideas on how to use this knowledge for your success: 

  1. The buttons. What exactly moves the success of your company, your team, and yourself? What are the crucial levers? Ask your people and your customers. Often, these are very different views than your own.
  2. You. What habits do you have that might be useful, but do...
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You are too optimistic!

leadership Jul 20, 2017

The management is the issue! This was the headline of an article a while ago in the renowned Swiss newspaper NZZ (Neue Zurcher Zeitung). Based on an extensive survey, the authors derived these conclusions: 

“How well a company is actually prepared for the future transformation in the business world is not the same as the managers think about it.”

Companies would clearly overestimate their ability to transform.

And further: “the ability to transform their own company in comparison with their industry is also perceived too optimistic by the management.” 

We do not need to cite a study of this conclusion. Just look around: How enthusiastic is your team for achieving challenging goals? When it comes to being competitive in the market and defining the new industry standards? 

From my experience, there is huge potential for more success, more joy, and higher customer value when it comes to willingness to transform and a winner’s mindset. 
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Do you have a success system?

leadership sales May 13, 2017

Ok, let's take care of your sales or the sales of your company. We almost always depend on selling something to others or helping others do it - directly or indirectly. As Peter Drucker once said, every company has two core functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing, in this sense, includes selling. 

Hence, I will ask you a few very simple questions, which you need to answer to optimize your business: 
  • What is the average purchase frequency of your customers per segment?
  • What is the average transaction value of a sale per segment?
  • How many new prospects ("leads") do you need this month to create your quarterly and annual targets?
  • How much of your sales are generated by what marketing measures, e.g., referrals, advertisements, fairs etc.?
  • What are your "must-win deals" this month, i.e., the deals you need to win?

These are reasonable questions to answer to be able to control your business instead of sailing in the dark. Believe it or not, almost all CEOs and...

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Things to remember

leadership mindset Dec 22, 2016

Every now and again, I think we should remember where we truly are, what we have achieved and what we still should improve. In the daily routines of never ending news, demands and requests, we tend to forget our true situation and our endless opportunities. 

Here are 7 reminders, purposefully published around Christmas, a time to traditionally stop for a moment and reflect.

  1. Overall, we live in the best world ever. Almost all indicators for our health, wellbeing, safety, life expectancy, etc. go up constantly (see graph). This truth contradicts te flood of negative news reaching us each and every minute. I’m not denying all the tragedy that is actually happening; however, there has never been a better time in history.
  2. Each of us can change a lot. Yes, we are powerful beyond belief, and today we have more means than ever to make this world a better place. You can reach millions of people in a heartbeat. Each of us in this part of the world can publish books, can speak up,...
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