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Volkmar Völzke's BLOG


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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What you should do more with your team now

A week ago, I wrote about what is more important in leadership from now on ( read the blog post here).

Today I am discussing what you should do more specifically with your team in the future.

The need comes mainly from the fact that with the pandemic it became clear that external influences are becoming stronger and more frequent. Anyone who now hopes for a return to "normality" will need good luck not to perish.

Therefore, more than ever, those teams and companies that consistently implement the following three topics will be sustainably successful in the future:
  1.  Constantly evaluate new opportunities on the market. 

    I see far too little effort in companies that people regularly deal with new business models, new market positioning and new ideas for products and offers. 

    By this I do not mean a "product development department", but that, for example, people from sales and other areas create new business models or Blue Ocean ideas. This also means that many more...
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The 3 crucial questions before you hire someone

Few things are as critical to your long-term team success as deciding who belongs on your team and who doesn't.

Although this fact is common knowledge, most decision-making puts too little emphasis on those questions that bring us closer to a winning team in the long term.

What do I mean by that? Well, winning teams function according to different rules than mediocre teams. The standards demanded of team members are sometimes quite different from the standards demanded of people who function well in average environments.

This becomes very clear in a comparison with team sports: the players of a team in the soccer Champions League are not only able to play soccer better on average than others (this is self-evident), but above all, they have different standards for themselves and the environment in which they operate. This includes much more than just the activity itself (soccer in the example).

That's why it's so important to ask someone these three crucial questions before accepting...
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The only 3 causes of conflict

Conflicts are part of life like salt in the soup. Especially in the professional environment, avoiding conflict is one of the causes of poor collaboration.

If we don't address conflicts, they smolder on anyway and lead to an artificial harmony that benefits no one.

Often, fear is the cause of holding back conflict because we don't know how to handle it.

To effectively deal with conflict, it is critical to know the root causes.

Here comes the good news: there are only exactly three basic causes of conflict. Here they are in a nutshell:
  1. Disagreement about the goal. It happens surprisingly often that two people get into a fight, even though the cause would be quite simple to locate: unclear or divergent goals. If the goal is clear and unambiguous, there is no need to talk about anything else - and certainly no need to argue. Therefore: first make sure that you have the same goals.
  2. Disagreement on the path. Even if there is agreement on the goals, there may be differing views on the...
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How to strengthen team bonding

One of the most frequent questions I am asked is how you can make a team out of your people that stand together and work closely with each other.

Unfortunately, the reality is often different: people work against each other, or at least there is a certain indifference to each other's goals.  

We are often so busy with our own stuff that there is no time and attention for the needs and problems of others.

Conversely, imagine what you could accomplish with your team if everyone marched with full energy in a common direction and everyone could fully rely on the others.

The gap between this ideal state and your reality shows your potential as a leader. And even if the gap doesn't seem too big to you, you usually have various opportunities to achieve more.

Here are the biggest levers, from my experience, to sustainably build team cohesion:
  1. Strengthen necessity. I experience time and again that people see little need to strengthen cohesion. In principle, many just want to do a...
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👏 What sets top team members apart

winning team culture Jul 30, 2021

One of the most common desires of leaders is that each of their team members pulls together with the others in the same direction and delivers top performance with enthusiasm.

Well, unfortunately, the reality is usually quite different. Almost every team has a strong variance in all matters that would be important for a top team. Some people are not very motivated, others do not bring enough results, and still others take too little responsibility. And so on.

In my leadership coaching, I often direct attention to the composition of the team and what should be done about it if you want to create a top team. In any case, waiting and hoping for the better is not a good strategy (but one I encounter frequently). 

From my experience, there are three key characteristics that distinguish top team members from mediocre ones:
  1. Growth Mindset. Everything else stands and falls with one's own attitude toward personal growth. People with a growth mindset know that, in principle, they...
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How to create a top team

Let's cut to the chase: with a mediocre team, you can achieve mediocre results at best. More importantly, you run the risk of becoming progressively obsolete, if only because there will always be teams that perform better than yours.

I define a top team (or winning team) as one that consistently delivers top results and has fun doing it. So, it's not about running on the afterburner, but - on the contrary - full energy for team success, based on high inspiration and fun.

And, it's not just about teams in the narrower sense, but sometimes about entire companies.

When I look around, I see most teams in companies running at half power at most. And most of them are not even fully committed and enjoying their work.

On the contrary, those teams that are top performers are much more attractive to talent and display positive energy.

So, what are the top three levers you can use to create a winning team?
  1. Clarity of identity. You may be surprised that this comes first. The longer I coach...
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Who do you need to become to achieve your goals?

One of the most powerful concepts in psychology and leadership is that we always behave according to our identity. "Identity" here means the very person we believe ourselves to be.

Sounds complicated? Well, it's quite simple if we explain it with examples: If you give yourself the identity of being a trusting person, you will deal with other people differently than if you have the conviction that others are to be distrusted first, before they have earned your trust.

Or: If your identity is also defined by the fact that you want to live in security and prosperity, you will deal with money quite differently than someone who focuses on risk and variety.

Two things are important here: Your identity determines your success much more than your abilities. And second, you can reshape your identity at any time. You are responsible for it.

And one more thing: teams and companies also have a self-imposed identity that they behave according to. This is extremely important if you want to take...

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600 weeks of personal growth

Every week I send out an issue of the Friday Noon Memo to ambitious people - and I've been doing it for 600 weeks!

That's an impressive number. And it confirms one of my principles for success: Consistency and follow-through are an essential foundation for success.

Here are three of the memos from the past years. Enjoy reading, watching and applying!

Is your company exciting or perfect?

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. Read more

Among friends

Do you feel like being among friends at work? Otherwise success potentials will be neglected!  Read more



The amazing differences

Most people never look beyond their own beliefs and experiences. Here are three ideas about what you can do for you and your team to...

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Why we should be more ambitious

In my workshops and also in coaching, I hear this objection time and again: "Why should I even want to achieve more? I'm satisfied as it is!"

Now, of course, there is little to be said against someone being satisfied. But many people confuse satisfaction with happiness and fulfillment. The problem is that you almost always notice the difference only after a long delay:

What makes me "satisfied" today makes me unhappy and, above all, unfulfilled in the long run.

There are studies on what people wish most, shortly before they die, if they could have changed something in their lives: They often wish they had dared and tried more, but never that they had had a calmer and more satisfied life.

If that's not enough for you to question your contentment, here are three more rational reasons why you should definitely be more ambitious:
  1. Standing still is an illusion. There's the famous saying "stagnation is regression". This is absolutely true: there is no "standing still" in nature or in...
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