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Volkmar Völzke's BLOG


🗣️ Five Typical Expressions - Decoded

For managers, it is particularly crucial to express themselves clearly and unambiguously on the one hand and to understand others correctly on the other.

This is often more difficult than it sounds. Because we all use "coded language." That is, we say one thing but actually mean something else.

This discrepancy between what we say and what we mean often goes so far that we no longer even notice it ourselves. So we use a personal code for certain expressions of our language.

This may sound frightening, but it is completely normal. Difficulties arise when we have different "decoding programs", i.e. when we associate something different with the sender's words than the sender means (whether consciously or unconsciously).

If you as a manager know the most important coded language elements, you can firstly consciously control your own usage and secondly understand others much better.

Here are 5 typical coded phrases that actually mean something other than what the words say:

  1. "I don't...

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🧩 Every Little Bit Matters!

What is your strategic focus? Is it being more cost effective than every other player in the market? Or do you strive to be seen as the most innovative company in your market niche? Or do you prefer putting all your focus on outstanding customer relations?

Whatever your main goal, the most important thing is to become excellent in your strategic focus area. If you want to excel in all three dimensions (cost effectiveness, innovation, customer centricity) then you have to become excellent in all three areas.

What does “excellence” mean? Very simple: to be better by far (in the perception of your potential and current customers) than the vast majority of your competitors or even (with the lack of true competitors) than the expectations of anybody else. 

Everything else is mediocrity, which leads to low performance and the daily fight for survival. I am amazed how many business leaders do not see the clear relationship between lacking excellence and low...

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💥 What To Do When Plans Blow Up?

Setbacks are part of life. Shattered plans are simply part of the game if you want to achieve anything.

Because if you only play it safe, you'll have fewer setbacks, but you'll also hardly make any progress.

Especially in leadership, this simple insight is crucial: If you try to "get through" all your plans and see the opposite as negative, you will always fall short of your potential.

If we always knew in advance what would work and what wouldn't, life would be very simple. But it is not!

In addition, there is another helpful insight: setbacks are almost never fatal. In the vast majority of cases, we can go on afterwards, and often even better than before.

A third point is that the most successful people see broken plans as a breeding ground for something new, according to the motto: “Stumble, get up, keep going".

So how can you apply these insights practically and use your burst plans constructively in leadership and beyond? Here are three tips:

  1. Apply the belief:...

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📈 Your Corporate Growth Mindset

The most successful businesses have a growth mindset. All of them. No exceptions. What is more, they have a mindset of passion and enthusiasm, most of the time also a mindset of happiness. 

There is not one long-term successful and competitive organisation on earth that has a fixed mindset, grumpy people, no spirit, and unhappy customers. Not one! 

So, why do then so many companies run with high complacency (“we don’t want to change!”), lacking enthusiasm, and surely missing happiness? Look around in your business: as long as you do not belong to the top one percent of outstanding organisations, you’ll find signs of mediocrity all around you. 

The key challenge for most is that a growth mindset requires your own readiness to grow, each day, each hour, and each minute. To learn and improve. To listen and adjust. My key question is always this: How many hours do your team members (and yourself) spend learning each week? If the answer is less than...

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🤦 Another 3 Important Leadership Mistakes

We all make mistakes all the time. Or to put it another way: we do things that do not optimally advance us and others, but hinder us in some way.

This is quite normal so far. However, there are various mistakes in everyday leadership that most people are not even aware of, but which nevertheless have a strong negative effect.

Since the first step to any positive change is always the awareness of today's deficits and mistakes, I have exactly this as a topic in my coaching practice time and again.

It is all about recognizing and lifting the true potential that lies within all of us in an absolutely positive sense.

And the easiest way to do this is often to stop doing certain things that prevent us from moving forward.

Some time ago ( here's the post) I had written about three hidden leadership mistakes:

  • Lack of clarity and lack of focus
  • Too much tolerance
  • Not having a sparring partner

In principle, the list is inexhaustible. The problem is that we often have little awareness of the...

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😖 Why You Don’t Succeed

Most leaders know quite well what to do to grow the success of their team and their business. Many even initiate the right actions and initiatives.

The issue: more often than not, these initiatives do not lead to the expected results or the effects could be much more substantial. 

Why is this? The keyword is “inconsistencies”. Inconsistencies are relatively easy to spot for somebody external who sees a team or an entire organisation from the outside, but they are very difficult to see if you are “part of the system”. 

Example: When I arrive any company’s reception for the first time, I sense immediately how important customer care is in their culture. The friendliness and professionalism of the receptionist, design of the welcome area, and presented brochures tell me a lot about their focus areas. Then, when the CEO later tells me about the importance of customer service, I already know if they have inner conflicts that prevent them from...

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🚀 5 Unusual Productivity Tips

High productivity is a topic that usually comes across as a little "unsexy", but it has a huge impact on your success and fulfillment.

This is especially true in leadership: If you as a leader significantly increase your productivity, you will have more time and energy to take care of the really important things, like developing your people or establishing strategic directions.

Most leaders I know complain about "too little time." In other words, their productivity is too low. So it's about time to work on this issue more intensively.

An important insight at the beginning: We all can always become more productive, i.e. achieve significantly more with the same input or the same results with significantly less input.

The difference in productivity can easily be a factor of 10, 100 or even 1000.

There are various methods how you can achieve this. I'll go into that elsewhere (or contact me for more info).

Here in this memo, I'll give you five somewhat unusual tips that can have a...

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🔥 Ignite The Fire In People!

Isn’t this remarkable? During my workshops with leadership teams, the greatest results are always achieved when people work passionately on creating results. Personal mood, background, environment, co-workers, and other factors play a surprisingly minor role when it comes to producing results. All that counts is the dedication and passion of the team members. 

This is why in the most impactful speeches and seminars content delivery is only a small part (which you could otherwise read in a book or watch a video on YouTube). Indeed, what matters is how much the speaker ignites a fire within us. 

I even take it a step further: almost all people by nature have a fire burning within them that wants to get out.

Just watch children when they are playing, or take a look at adults at my seminars when they are doing role plays or the like. Even the most introverted person starts contributing and presenting with joy and passion. 

Hence, most managers wrongly attempt to...

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🏆 Why You Should Stop Wanting To Win

Even if it sounds surprising: we often get in our own way because we want to win too much.

And even worse: we frustrate others with it. This is especially significant if you are a leader.

What do I mean by that?

Well, there is a delicate line between wanting to win for the sake of the cause (because it really does get us better results) and wanting to win for the sake of our own ego.

We all have an ego to a greater or lesser degree - no exception.

In most cases this is positive, because it is reflected in healthy self-confidence and also helps us to assert important interests.

However, the ego also leads us to want to win on issues that are actually unimportant. Sometimes there is no other reason to stand up for ourselves than to satisfy our ego.

Remember the last argument you had: to what extent was it really about the cause (and was arguing the best way to do that?) and to what extent was it about our own ego, which you saw hurt?

In conflicts, ego almost always plays the bigger...

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☹️ Do You Give Up Too Early?

One of the most important characteristics of great achievers is their persistence and resilience. Those who you see in the limelight today virtually never succeeded just because of ONE strategy or ONE plan. They succeeded because they constantly see setbacks as a chance to try something new. 

I’m sure you know this as common sense. Here comes the twist for you as a business leader:

We all can train our capabilities to be resilient.

However, instead, what most companies do is exactly the opposite: they try to squeeze their people into a one-trial-no-mistakes culture. 

Even if a zero-tolerance policy makes sense for ensuring predictably high quality, it also kills the motivation and even the capabilities of your people to be persistent and resilient enough to manage strategic changes. Why? Simply because the mental muscle is not trained. It is like a corset: tensed up muscles will become stunted. 

A significant number of businesses suffer from the incapability of...

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