Volkmar Völzke's BLOG


😖 How To Frustrate Others Less

leadership Feb 03, 2022

That could well be a resolution for this year: frustrate other people less. 

It may seem a bit negative, but it is positive nonetheless. Because we all frustrate others - and often without realizing it.

This manifests itself in the fact that others avoid us, do not listen to us properly, do things differently than we imagine, and so on. 

This issue is as relevant in your family (or have you never frustrated your teenagers, if you have any?) as it is, of course, to your leadership in the professional environment. 

For the purists of psychology, here's a clarification: you can't frustrate others directly, but you can certainly influence them so that they become frustrated.

Either way, the crucial question remains:  

How can you frustrate others less and thereby increase your positive influence? Here are three often overlooked levers:
  1. Always knowing something better. Do you actually know how frustrating it is for others when you constantly add something to...
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❓ 3 New Questions For This Year

leadership Jan 27, 2022

I always emphasize that the questions we ask are more crucial to our success than the answers.

This is all the more true in leadership. Because by asking questions, you direct thoughts, both in yourself and in others.

There are empowering and disempowering questions. The former make you think about meaningful answers that take us forward. The latter lead to a dead end, because they hardly allow an answer that brings us ahead. 

( If you want to practice the technique of asking the right questions, the best way is to come to my coaching. You can find suitable programs here). 

Because of the high importance of questions to your own success and the success of your entire team, I recommend that you create a set of empowering questions.

Here are three ideas for empowering questions that I especially recommend using repeatedly this year:
  1. "How can we benefit from adversity?"
    You can ask this question whenever you face setbacks. Instead of "What can we do now?" ask the...
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🚀 What will become more important this year

leadership Jan 19, 2022

We live in interesting times, I think. The speed of change is increasing and the uncertainties are growing. And that is likely to intensify.

So far, so familiar. As in any time - whether stable or rather not - there are winners and losers. There are people and companies that tend to benefit from the uncertainties, and those that tend to suffer.

The good news is that which group you belong to is largely a choice. Those who are better than the average consciously or unconsciously choose to see things differently and focus on the opportunity that promises the greatest chance of winning.

To do that, it's good to know (or assume) which success factors are becoming more important than others in each case. 

Here are three topics that, in my view, will become much more important this year - and for which I therefore recommend that you consider how you can become better at them with your team:

  1. Attractiveness on the labor market. For the challenges that will increase in the future, you...
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✏️ What we learned last year

The past year has had its share of peculiarities, from the uncertainty caused by the pandemic to the disrupted supply chains.

Many business leaders are reporting new challenges that didn't exist before or were less prevalent.

From my own experience and my numerous conversations with leaders from all kinds of industries, I have distilled some key "learning points."

Here are the 3 most important learning points from the past year, from my observation, that we should capitalize on in the new year:
  1. Things can always turn out differently. If the year 2021 has taught us one thing, it is that everything can always turn out differently. The future has always been uncertain, of course, but in my view the speed of changes in direction has increased. As a result, those who are good at taking advantage of new situations instead of sticking to their original plans and strategies have understood the lesson and can create new successes.
  2. Focus on what is feasible. It is increasingly important to...
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What will you get better at this year?

Welcome to the new year! I hope you had a pleasant start and begin the new year full of motivation and confidence. 

My first question for this year as food for thought may seem a bit unusual: "What will you become better at this year?" Or, "What will you be significantly better at in 12 months than you are today?"

After all, most people tend to talk about goals and resolutions now. While this has its merits (I'm a big proponent of the importance of grand objectives), it often neglects a crucial aspect:

The biggest lever for your results and success is your own level in your thinking, behavior and skills.

That's why I suggest that right from the start you make sure that you get better in one important aspect every week. This requires systematic work on it.

You can, of course, choose from a variety of topics for personal growth. From my experience working with top leaders and society development, I particularly encourage the following three topics:
  1. Rational thinking. It may be...
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😃 How happy are you as a leader?

Admittedly, the question in the headline may seem strange to you. Very few people associate "happiness" with leadership.

And wrongly so. After all, if you're going to put in all the hard work and overtime that usually comes with leadership positions, you don't want to be unhappy in the process, do you?

Quite a few don't let this consideration get to them. I love to ask my clients at the outset of our work relationship, "Are you happy doing what you do?"

Here's another hint: If you ask parents what they want most for their children, the number one answer you'll hear is, "That they're happy!"

So if it's most important to us for our loved ones to be happy, why not in leadership? And especially at this time of year, I think it's an obvious thought.

So, are you happy in what you do at work? And are the people on your team?

Because if you and your people are, everyone will enjoy performing at a higher level and have more fun doing it.

So, how do you manage to increase happiness for...
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Why don't people do what you tell them to do? 😩

leadership Dec 09, 2021

I experience this all the time: decisions are made, but not implemented. Tasks are delegated, but not completed as expected. Deadlines are set but not met. And so on.

In other words, I hear leaders moan time and again, "Oh, if only I could rely on my people!"

Why is that? Why do we humans often find it so difficult to do what others say? And conversely, why does it seem so hard to get others to do what I expect them to do?

If, on the other hand, you succeed, the increases in productivity and motivation are enormous.

So, let's get to the root of the matter: what are the causes and what can you do? Here are three key insights you can implement right away:
  1. Unclear expectations. The crucial question is: Are your expectations and the expectations of others congruent? Most of the time they are not, and therein lies the problem. Different expectations generate different results. So: clarify the common expectations in advance.
  2. Too much tolerance. This is a tricky one, but too often...
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The bag of tricks for a winning mindset

leadership mindset Nov 25, 2021

"How can I change the mindset of my people?" is a question I am often asked. 

The background is that a team can of course only perform really well and have fun doing so if the people in it have a winning mindset.

Unfortunately, the reality is often different: People play on hold, refuse full responsibility, blame other people or other things for difficulties, don't work well together, and so on.

That's why the question of how to change the mindset keeps coming up.

Over the years as a leadership coach and from my own studies, I've been able to peel out an arsenal of methods that work well.

Here are three powerful levers to align the mindset to winning:
  1. Ongoing inspirational input. It's simply true: what you let into you determines, quite significantly, what comes out of you. In other words, no human being can prevent their mindset from being influenced by inputs. It's a bit like physical food: the healthier you eat, the fitter you become. So: take in inspiring and educational...
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How to develop a winning team

Top leaders form top teams. In my experience, this aspect, which is simple in itself, is often neglected in leadership coaching and training.

Why is this important? Well, one's own team is simply THE lever for greater influence and more success.

What many leaders pay too little attention to - and accordingly focus too little on - is the targeted development of the team into a winning team.

The goal is that this team, in principle without the leader, sustainably delivers top performance, takes full responsibility and enjoys doing so.

That may sound too bold, but it is achievable and unfortunately not very common.

How do you achieve this? Here are 3 key action items to turn your team into a winning team:
  1. Strong vision & winning team identity. Most teams I see have neither a strong and compelling vision nor a clear winning identity. In other words, they don't know enough about where they want to go together and they don't have clear aspirations for their mindset and behaviors to...
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How to massively increase your productivity as a leader

leadership productivity Nov 12, 2021

It's simple: you'll fall far short of your potential in life and in your career if you don't have a handle on your productivity.

Most leaders I know - and people in general - either feel overwhelmed all the time, or they're not sure they're investing their time in the most important activities. Or both.

What's the key to massively increased productivity? It's what I call "time mastery": you decide what you invest in every minute of your life. 

Maybe that sounds idealistic, but think about people you see as exemplary on the topic of productivity and success. Do they give you the impression that they are constantly controlled by others? Quite the opposite: they determine their priorities themselves - at least significantly more than the average person.

How can you achieve this and massively increase your productivity as a leader? Here are 3 foundations:
  1. Winning Mindset & Energy, available at any time. First, you need to work on your beliefs and energy. Without these...
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