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Volkmar Völzke's BLOG


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 19, 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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Why Donald Trump will win

leadership Nov 02, 2016

It is quite remarkable: since the beginning of the circus around the American presidential elections, one person has almost entirely occupied the stage: “The Donald” as he is often called.

Today, I will tell you why Donald Trump will win (whether or not he wins the presidential elections) and why you should take this lesson very seriously for your leadership.

Why do people choose which president? I will tell you a secret (which is probably not for you): it is NOT because of content. And it’s also little about how someone says something.

No, what matters most is whether people like to be like the person they choose. Or at least similar to the person.

And there is Mr. Trump, a true master in it: rarely would a follower rationally plead for his election. But what his followers share is that they would like to be like him: direct, provocative, ignorant, contemptuous, etc. and even with success! Because most of them are not at home at all. And if they do trust at times,...

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How to change your future

leadership strategy Jul 13, 2016

Today, I’m discussing an almost philosophical topic with very practical consequences on your success in life and in business: How do you change your future? 

Watch the video for some interesting insights from the most successful people and businesses.

If you are already at the very top, you’ll find your success factors confirmed. If you are still on your way to the top, I’m sure this video will give you some useful ideas on how to create an even better future. 

Your tasks for this week: 

  1. Throughout your day, watch the state in which you find yourself. Then try to improve this state just a little bit each time. More on this in the video.
  2. Practice presence in each moment, in particular, when you are with others.

These tasks might sound weird if you are not used to the topic, but these are practices to change your future. More on this in the video.

Are you committed to change your future to the better?

Check out my Leadership Mastery Workshops. Click...

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The ultimate secrets of success – and fun!


Hey, I know what you are thinking:

“Another article about the secrets of success! We don’t need that! We know it all!” OK, got it; you’re probably right. 

However, when I recently met with a fellow from my years at the golden times at SAP in Switzerland, between 1999 and 2001, when sales just went up through the roof, profits, too, and joy of the over 400 staff members , we clearly identified three guiding forces that made all the difference for the business and the people at the same time. 

I’ll explain them in the video. Just one thing upfront: these three forces have nothing to do with good market conditions or the like. They all come from inside. They are generated. 

Your assignment for today: 

  1. Identify three forces that will make your team outstanding. These can be the same as in the video, but also different if necessary.
  2. For each of the three forces, define three daily routines to amplify their effect. What can you and your...
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What the heck are you selling?

marketing&sales Jun 30, 2016

I guess the headline sounds weird to you. “Of course, I know what we are selling!” you might think. Not so fast! Watch the video to learn some surprising views on what you are really selling. And I’ll give you some real life examples.

Action items for today (after you watched the video): 

  1. Write down five cases in which you or your sales team definitely disappointed a customer.
  2. Rate yourself or your sales team for each case on a scale 1-10 in the five categories I explain in the video.
  3. Write down three ideas of how you can increase your rating by at least 3 points on the scale 1-10.

Go do the exercises. Nobody ever improved by just watching and thinking. Make this day, today, your action day.

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We all love winners – and you do, too!

culture leadership mindset Jun 22, 2016

Sometimes, we talk as if we truly appreciate the forgotten ones, those that stay in the shade and never make it even close to the top. However, whenever it comes to any emotional appeal, we want to see winners. We cheer for those who score and those who make it to the top. 

You think you are different? Well, each championship – like the currently running Euro 2016 in soccer – is proof of what we all truly love: winning! And seeing winners. 

Let me explain in this week’s video why this always works and how this simple fact can be utilized in your business. And I’m not just talking about things like “team spirit”. No, the focus on winning has some other aspects that most people never think of – and wonder why other teams score better, i.e. their competition wins over and over again. 

Your homework for this week is simple:

Just identify three possibilities where you in your business can leverage the people’s hunger for...

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Is your company exciting or perfect?

culture leadership Jun 15, 2016

One of the thought models I use with leadership teams is the typical business development curve between the two dimensions “Enthusiasm” and “Perfection”. The typical life cycle of any business starts out with high enthusiasm and high imperfection of anything they do. 

Over the coming months and years, enthusiasm will decrease. If the leadership team doesn’t increase the performance of their entire operations, then the company will surely get out of business. Low enthusiasm + low performance = end of the game. 

When leaders implement systems to run a high-performing operation, they might well become profitable and can stay in business for a long time. However, as long as enthusiasm continues dropping, they always will operate only at a fraction of their possibilities. 

So, the key question for any sustainable peak performance is simply this: how can you keep up enthusiasm, even when the business becomes more...

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