Volkmar VΓΆlzke'sΒ BLOG


β†˜οΈ Why You Should Lower Your Expectations

You should lower your expectations? Seriously?

You may be wondering: Don't you usually hear from me that we should be ambitious and have high expectations? That most of us are flying too low?

Well, the resolution is quite simple and often overlooked: Have high ambitions, but not equally high expectations of others and the environment.

There's an old saying from happiness research: if you want to be happier, lower your expectations of everything outside your direct zone of influence.

Because those expectations of people or things you have limited influence over will always frustrate you if they are not met.

In other words, achieve more (through high ambitions) and be happy on the way to your goal (through low expectations).

So how can you put this into practice in a very concrete way in your everyday life? Here are three important steps:

  1. High expectations of yourself.

    Your expectations of everything in your direct sphere of influence should definitely be very high. This is...

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πŸ† What Is Your Victory Today?

What are two of the most essential sources for inspiration, a fulfilled life, and high productivity – and ultimately for a sustainably successful business?

The answer: variety and victory. Just take a look at children (which is always a good option because they are not yet biased by all our subjective belief systems):

They constantly try to create something and then celebrate their victory. Let it be the sand castle at the beach, the fortress, the model railway, or whatever: the sequence constantly goes like this: create, succeed, and celebrate victory! 

The same applies with you as a grown-up: What were your best feelings in life? Exactly, when you created something that worked and you got credit for it. In other words, you celebrated victory!  

Here comes the key question for your role as a business professional: Why do so many businesses celebrate so few victories?

If we just accepted the fact that personal victories are a key source of higher inspiration and...

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⚠️ Where The Greatest Dangers Lurk For You

If you want to become more successful, it is of course important to look at which factors contribute positively to achieving that.

This is a recurring topic in my articles and also the subject of training in my workshops.

After all, "success leaves clues", as a much-quoted statement puts it in a nutshell. Those who are successful by their own efforts think and act in a certain way, which most likely contributes to success. Therefore, it is always worthwhile to look at such factors (by the way, especially the mindsets).

However, all these success factors can be massively cancelled out by dangers that many see and pay too little attention to.

The conclusion is then sometimes that the success factors "do not work for me or us". In truth, however, people have often only sabotaged themselves by disregarding the dangers.

Here are three (from my experience with my clients) big dangers that lurk for you and your team if you want to become more successful:

  1. We are flying too low.

    Of course...

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πŸ“ˆ Are You Growing Or Dying?

You probably know the saying that there is no standing still in life. You are either growing or you are falling behind. Look at nature: what’s not growing is dying. 

What I find more surprising is the fact that many organizations are like a protected area for those who are satisfied with the status quo.

Many people in those organizations have lost all hunger for growth. They are living their lives like a being that is moved here or there without a real drive to stand up and say: “It is me who gives direction!” 

I’m not making the case here for starting a revolution in your organization (even if this would sometimes be needed). What I’m saying is that you only live up to 10 percent of your capabilities as a human being if you stop growing. 

And to provoke it even more: It is amazingly selfish not to grow personally at the highest rate possible. Because you are gifted to help other people living better lives, to make a positive contribution...

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πŸ† The Secret For Top Success

Yes, I admit it: this is a somewhat lurid headline. But for many, what's about to come is apparently quite a big mystery, judging by how rarely the questions listed later are asked.

What is it all about? Well, all of our success - and that of companies as well - is strongly limited by the biggest limiting factor in any given case.

You may know this as the "theory of constraints”. And in fact, this concept is quite prevalent in manufacturing: If you want to increase output profitably, you have to identify and eliminate the biggest bottleneck. Unfortunately, this is often not so easy to spot.

The same is true in principle for any success and of course also in leadership. But here the bottlenecks are often even more difficult to identify than in production.

As I mentioned at the beginning, I unfortunately see very few leaders who take care of the bottlenecks in order to massively increase the success of their team. If anything, it happens intuitively instead of systematically.


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πŸ‘ The Sparkling-Eye Indicator For Team Success

Some time ago, I was at a business award ceremony, at which the best family businesses were rewarded based on several strict criteria. What I found more interesting than the award ceremony itself (lots of semi-interesting speeches), was the conversations before and after the official program. 

Here is why: A pattern emerges at successful businesses compared to the average, and this pattern is not around great products and processes (both are a must-have to compete at all). They are also not around the best talent or the greatest locations.

No, the most significant difference is (drumroll …) the sparkling in the eyes of the owners, the CEO and every other member of the organization. 

This sparkling in the eyes is not something of a “soft factor” or some “nice-to-have” trait when everything else is great. No, exactly the opposite: This sparkling is the root cause of all greatness in any business. It reflects pride, care, passion,...

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πŸŽ‰ Why You Should Celebrate More

Recently, Switzerland celebrated the founding of the Swiss Confederation in 1291. It's the most important holiday here with all sorts of political speeches, celebrations, bonfires in high places and, of course, fireworks.

It reminds me how important it is to pause sometimes to simply celebrate.

The date is secondary, after all. The only important thing is to agree on a specific point in time and look back together on what has been achieved and appreciate what is to come.

In most companies, I observe how reluctant people are to simply celebrate - even for small causes.

In a winning team culture, expressing joy together is a very important part - and not by command, but because it is felt that way.

So here's my appeal: celebrate more often! Below are three reasons why it's so important (in case you didn't think you needed it until now):

  1. Awareness of progress.

    Most managers mercilessly overestimate how aware people are of achievements and progress. Most are so deeply involved in...

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πŸ™Œ Yes, Yes, Yes!

Some weeks ago, I was writing about the areas in which you need to say “no” to yourself in order to achieve higher success levels (“No, no, no”, click here). This week, I want to turn the viewpoint around and look at a few things that you probably do not say “yes” to often enough. 

The point is this: most people live a life and run businesses and teams below their possibilities. And one key reason is that they hold themselves back when it comes to stating a clear “Yes”. 

The counterintuitive root cause is often our fear of success. Yes: Fear of success! Subconsciously, we are quite often afraid of the consequences should we actually succeed. We fear the new lifestyle out of our comfort zone, the exposure to the public, maybe the flood of customers, and even the new kinds of people we will meet after our great success. 

The consequences of this fear-based hesitation for your team and often the entire organization are...

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🀷 Why We Make Things More Complicated Than They Are

After all, there are various things that stand in our way on the path to greater success and fulfillment. One of them is the tendency to make things more complicated than they are.

Now, don't tell me that this doesn't affect you. I bet that if I were to observe you, we would identify various things that you are making more complicated than they need to be.

To get to the root of the matter, I share below:

  • three main causes,
  • then the main effects (i.e., how you recognize unnecessary complicatedness), and
  • three steps you should take to make the complicated simple.

Let's get started with the three most important reasons:

  • Feeling of power. Of course, when things are complicated, not everyone can understand them. But if you're the one who has some perspective, it gives you a sense of power. Entire professions are riddled with complicated language, partly for this very reason (lawyers, doctors, etc.).
  • Sense of security. Paradoxically, it can feel safer when things are complicated than...
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πŸ‘Ž The 3 Greatest Reasons For Underperformance

leadership strategy Aug 03, 2022

Over the years of my coaching and consulting practice, I’ve been confronted with a number of repeating practices in all kinds of organisations that result in performance levels far below their potential. 

In other words: many people, teams, and entire organisations are constantly sabotaging themselves because of their thought patterns, routines, and behaviours, consistently staying below their possible performance levels. 

Here are my top 3 reasons for underperformance. Look at your own team and assess how much better you are. If you’re not, start changing today. 

  1. No clear vision. Yes, I have stated this over and over again. And still, most businesses lack a compelling vision for their future. The results on team motivation are tremendous. How well can you perform when you don’t know in which direction you are heading?
  2. No consistent strategy execution. Most organisations do not have a clear, simple, and transparent strategy execution with...
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