About Corrie Jonn Block:
Dr. Corrie Jonn Block was recently named “UAE’s Top Business Coach” by NYC Journal, he is also one of the biggest voices in the Leadership Power List 2023″. He has been a Global Icon 2021 for leading business strategies. Dr. Corrie Jonn Block has over 25 years of working experience in more than 150 companies. He provided strategic consulting for Microsoft, the Council of Europe and World Bank, tech start-ups, multinationals and governments, across more than 30 countries. Founded 5 successful businesses in Europe and MENA and received awards for product innovations.
Let’s Start the Interview:
The Worlds Times: What’s the idea behind Extraordinary Leadership?
Corrie Jonn Block: Extraordinary Leadership comes from leaders that don’t care nearly as much about being followed as they do about living a kind of life worthy of being emulated. If you want followers, you can buy them on social media pretty easily, but if you really want to be a leader, you need to live a life worthy of followership. Being kind, compassionate, encouraging, optimistic, and above all a great listener… those are the traits I see in great leaders.
The Worlds Times: How did you begin your career journey? Do you have some advice for beginners?
Corrie Jonn Block: I began with a high tolerance for risk and a high degree of curiosity and a high level of self-discipline. I moved to Estonia at the age of 23 and started my first few organizations there. This was before the era of incubators, accelerators, and VCs. It was hard. I failed a lot, went bankrupt a couple of times, felt the pain of it, and got back up again. I didn’t learn resilience, but post-traumatic growth. I didn’t just get knocked down and get back up again, I got back up again stronger, wiser, and more focussed.
My advice for beginners is to avoid the pursuit of happiness. Haha. Seriously though, happiness is a distraction from fulfilment. All of the really fulfilling things I’ve done in my life have not made me “happy” much of the time. Starting companies, finishing post-graduate degrees, raising kids, writing books… those all came with about 15% pure joy and 85% really hard work. When my friends were on the beach, I was in the library. When my friends were at the club, I was in bed sleeping. If you want to be happy, eat a Big Mac and watch NetFlix. If you want to be fulfilled, get to work.
The Worlds Times: How can your company help our readers?
Corrie Jonn Block: I speak and write as a way of getting my voice heard, but to really add value I only do 3 things: coaching, training, and strategy. I’ve spent 25 years working with thousands of leaders in hundreds of companies. I’ve seen a lot. So it’s very easy for me to provide coaching and advisory services that accelerate individual and organizational growth exponentially. I work as a kind of accelerant that can help you clarify vision and choose proven strategies to achieve it. I’m honoured to be the UAE’s top business coach now, and to have friends in my corner like Marshall Goldsmith and Stephen M. R. Covey that are encouraging me in my direction. My executive coaching style is heavily influenced by them.
The Worlds Times: Have you had challenges in your career path? If so, how did you tackle them?
Corrie Jonn Block: I’ve been completely financially bankrupt twice in my career, and I’ve been divorced. These three were my toughest experiences. I tackled them by giving my sadness, disappointment, depression, and shame a deadline. I would tell myself, “Ok, Corrie, you can wallow in self-pity until Wednesday, then that’s it. Thursday you get back to work.” It gave me space to feel the emotions and embrace them without letting them take over my life, or even worse, bottling them up for some future breakdown. All lives come with challenges. The key for me was to accept and acknowledge them, name and embrace my humanity and vulnerability in the process, set a deadline for how much time and attention I would give to them, distil the learning opportunity that my unexpected outcome provided, and get back to work.
The Worlds Times: We saw that you have helped several people thrive through your coaching skills. What gives you inspiration for this?
Corrie Jonn Block: I just love messing with peoples’ lives… in a good way. It’s always a huge blessing and a bit of a high for me when I can challenge someone’s limiting beliefs with some unbridled optimism and a fresh perspective. I’m not the kind of coach that just asks questions until you solve your own problems either. I think that’s lazy coaching. I don’t see coaches in any other industry than business doing that. All great musicians, surgeons, and athletes have coaches, and in none of those industries does the coach say, “Well, if you want to break a world weightlifting record, what do YOU think you should be doing?” No. That’s lazy. I’ve got 4 post-graduate degrees and 25 years of experience. It’s my role as your coach to help you clarify your definition of success and then to choose attitudes and behaviours that will work in your pursuit of that goal. With a good coach, in a short period of time, the whole trajectory of your life can change. That’s what I mean by messing with peoples’ lives. It’s good fun to watch people raise their level of play.
The Worlds Times: What are your views on teamwork? Do you feel it’s crucial for your business?
Corrie Jonn Block: There are no omni-talented leaders. We are not gods (though some still view themselves that way). Our only hope of being omni-talented is to surround ourselves with people whose strengths are our weaknesses. Only on that kind of a team can anyone hope to perform at their very best.
Also, teamwork is a best practice for human survival. No one can hope to survive this life alone. Not only is teamwork important for getting things done, it’s necessary for getting anything done that’s worthwhile.
The Worlds Times: Digitization nowadays is being used by several businesses, do you think it’s helping your company as well?
I’m always on the lookout for new tech tools to help streamline my business. I also often have the opportunity to help companies to do the same for their processes. I helped DEWA with their A.I. strategy, designed the first B2B ECOM platform in the MENA region, and worked with SERCO on their delay cost calculations for their digitalization strategy. I don’t think many industries will be completely disrupted by tech in the coming years, but certainly those companies in every industry that invest in digital transformation will disrupt those that don’t. It’s not a luxury item, it’s a survival tool.
The Worlds Times: Would you like to say anything else to our viewers?
Corrie Jonn Block: Put on your own oxygen mask before attempting to help others. I see too many “leaders” these days that are trying to help others when they themselves are struggling significantly with basic disciplines like time management, emotional intimacy, trust, transparency, and clarity of vision. A leader’s first order of business is to set their own life right first. If you want to be heard, listen. If you want to be loved, love. If you want to be powerful, empower others. The mirror is a pretty good feedback tool for leaders these days. What are the things you are saying to yourself every morning in the mirror? If you can’t encourage, empower, and love yourself, then what hope do you have of being able to pass those things on to others in any meaningful way?
The Worlds Times: What are your career/company’s services plans for the coming next 2 years?
Corrie Jonn Block: My aim is to enter the ranks of the top business coaches globally. I’ve been honoured this year as MENA’s #1 biggest voice in leadership, and I want to continue that momentum so that more companies are aware of how I can help them, and their leaders, to be more profitable by improving meaning at work.
Connect Corrie Jonn Block on Linkedin