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Volkmar Völzke's BLOG


Do You Have A Front Row Culture?

If your team or your staff went into a theatre, how would they fill the seats?

Would they walk in slowly, hesitating to take the seats, preferring the seats at the aisles to easily escape when it becomes unpleasant? Would they leave the front rows empty and stay at the back? Would they stay silent when the show begins and only provide moderate applause at the end? 

Or would your people rush into the room, trying to grab the seats in the front rows, chatting with each other, making jokes, impatiently waiting for the show to begin, releasing their excitement with a roaring applause? 

You guessed it. This scenario is a metaphor for two extremes of your team or corporate culture. And it really works if you imagine your team being in the described situation in the theatre.

Are you a front row or a back row team?

Honestly! Which one is more fun to work with? Which one would more easily take on new challenges? 

Most teams I see are back row teams.

Here is what you can do to...

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‼️ Be Careful What You Say!

Our language is an interesting tool: we use it to influence not only others, but also ourselves.

"How am I supposed to know what I think before I hear what I say?" is a well-known and true saying.

If you keep saying the same thing about yourself, whether positive or negative, you will end up believing it. You can't help it. Therefore, be careful how you talk about yourself.

But another aspect of language is just as important: others connect us to what we say, not just the content, but the way we say something and how often we say it.

This becomes especially clear in presentations and video recordings (which I regularly recommend to all leaders): your messages consist of much more than your content.

You could even say that your content conveys the least amount of influencing energy.

So how can you improve your language to become more persuasive and influential?

Here are three concrete tips with immediate effect from the multitude of possibilities:

  1. Delete words of doubt.
    Words like...
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How Good Are Your Manners?

I find that a high number of managers and even top leaders have surprisingly questionable manners for personal interaction. 

Examples: No answers to value-generating personal communication, even if they know the other person. Not showing up on time to confirmed meetings. Ignoring work performed by their team. Not executing the agreed tasks. And so on. 

Showing good manners is an attitude.

This becomes in particular obvious when I interact with somebody who demonstrates superior manners: they answer to valid requests (no matter if the answer is negative), they show up on time and are prepared, they do what they say they will do, they are present in personal interactions, and so on. 

And by the way, good manners have nothing – yes, nothing! – to do with available time or position. Often, even the busiest and most “important” people are the ones with the best manners. However, it has everything to do with the respect for others, prioritisation,...

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😠 The Everyday Frustration As A Leader

Life as a leader is not always easy. There are not only times when you celebrate great successes with your team, but also frustration and difficulties.

The higher your own expectations, the more likely you are to experience frustration - if you don't install certain routines.

What I encounter as difficulties when coaching with my clients are various typical issues:

People not keeping their promises and timelines, coming to meetings unprepared, and so on. You just can't fully rely on others.

Another typical frustration generator is drama between people and departments, sometimes like in kindergarten (which is why parenting and leadership have a lot in common).

Many leaders also complain about "getting nowhere." The days go by with all sorts of things, but not the really important ones. Then in the evening you ask yourself, "What did I even get done today?"

So how can you minimize this difficulty and frustration? Here are three ideas:

  1. Clarity about goals.
    The most important point is...
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What is success anyway?

I’m writing a lot about success. Hence the question is important: what is success anyway? The answer to this question has a significant implication on the future of your life and your business. 

As for all other building blocks that shape our future, the perception of success is also a question of our mindset and our beliefs.

In other words, what I believe about success will determine how successful I become. 

In most of my workshops, some attendees will connect to success in negative, rather than positive, stories. For them, success is associated with stress, obligations, “blood, sweat, and tears”, failure, envy, and much more. The consequences are clear:

People with negative beliefs about success will do everything to subconsciously sabotage their success. 

This effect of the mindset of team members on the success of the entire team and their leader is largely ignored. Even if addressing these challenges is most effective in coaching or workshop...

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🌅 The Best Morning Routines

Your morning sets the tone for your day. This is an old adage. If you create your morning by yourself and consciously, you dramatically increase your chances of ending the entire day successful and fulfilled.

A very important correlation is this: if you already start your morning reactively, you will most likely continue to do so.

"Reactive" means activities like checking emails, social media, news channels, newspaper, and so on.

My point is this: You can do all of that. But please don't do it as your first thing. Make the first hour of each day completely self-directed.

That always works. You may have to get up earlier to do it (and go to bed earlier accordingly). That's what most top performers do.

Here are three things you should be sure to incorporate in the morning, and do so without external interference:

  1. Increase physical energy.
    For your entire day, it's important to have some kind of physical routine first thing in the morning, whether it's stretching, yoga, cardio, or...
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Engineering and psychology - how do they go together?

You may know that I have a Masters degree in engineering.

And perhaps you also know that today I essentially help my clients to climb new performance levels - be it as a leader or as a team as a whole.

Of course, this involves a great deal of psychology - which is not exactly a focus of engineering studies.

So how can this be done? Well, quite simply: through a burning interest in psychological relationships (which I already developed as a teenager) and therefore ongoing intensive study of the most important topics.

And here comes the best: Due to my technical background I can pick up rather technically thinking people all the better and accompany them on their way.

I'm not telling this to impress, but to show that often seemingly contradictory topics have the greatest potential for success.

And I also find it exciting how our passions guide us in life.

My question to you: what completely different themes can you bring together so that you can benefit yourself and others? Feel free...

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The real reasons for procrastination

productivity Mar 02, 2022

We've all been there (and I certainly have): we put off things that "should" be important and do less important stuff instead.

And please don't pretend that this hasn't happened to you. It really does affect everyone!

Why is it like that? Why do we sabotage ourselves? Why do we leave things undone when we know perfectly well that it needs to be done anyway?

Well, the answers to these questions fill entire bookshelves and video platforms. So it seems relevant.

The problem: most advice focuses on techniques to stop procrastination. That's all well and good, but there are root causes underlying the phenomenon that hardly anyone addresses.

Here are three fundamental causes of procrastination that I strongly recommend addressing (with lasting positive effect on your productivity and motivation):

  1. No energy.
    You know how it is: you are most likely to get distracted and stop important activities when you have little energy left. Low energy is one of the most common reasons for...
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🙏🏻 Are you grateful enough?

food for thought mindset Feb 27, 2022

Question for today: What wonderful things are there in your life that you don't appreciate enough?

Here's an off-the-cuff list of simple things that I'm always grateful for (and that many people sadly don't have):

Hot water in the shower in the morning 

Incredibly good health care

Buses and trains that you can simply rely on

Walking on the street at night without fear

Respectful interaction with each other

Nice people

Clean rivers and lakes

The possibility to travel 

A heated apartment

Living in freedom 


What are your things you are grateful for?

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🕟 You always have enough time!

productivity Feb 24, 2022

Do you ever catch yourself saying, "I don't have time for that"? Well, you are not alone.

But unfortunately, the statement is simply wrong. Because: You always have enough time. You always find time for the really important things.

You notice this when something unpredictable happens: be it an emergency at home, sick children or a significant problem with a customer.

All of a sudden, we have the time to take care of it. What happened? You reprioritized. 

The problem: that prioritization comes from the outside. You are being reactive at this moment.

The best leaders, on the other hand, prioritize proactively. For the most part, they set their own agenda. They determine what is important. And they spend their time accordingly.

Here are 3 questions to ask so that from now on you will always have enough time for what is really important:

  1. What do you really want?
    Most people have great difficulty answering this question. However, if you are not sure what you really want, you send...
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