Dr. Amel Karboul

Coffin Corner

What has been said in praise of this book:

  • Amel Karboul takes us on a journey through her life, her native country, her experience as a consultant with the big companies of our time. We picture the pomegranate, we are ashamed with the subway passengers and we are standing stunned next to the telecommunication board. She lets us experience with all our senses how she deals with disruption, uncertainty and fear, very personally, far from theory. Thus, she takes away our blinders and opens our eyes to how to deal with the unexpected - helpful for us personally and for our organisations.
    Julika Rollin, Managing Director of the nonprofit Common Purpose Germany GmbH
  • Amel Karboul knows what she wants. She is a talented communicator, is talking ready for press and quickly. With a Tunisian talent for improvisation and a German thoroughness, she enforced changes courageously with a broad support of the population as the first female Minister of Tourism in the Tunisian transitional government of 2014 in a world dominated by men.
    Rolf Brockschmidt, Der Tagesspiegel
  • The way Amel Karboul gets to the bottom of how we think about efficiency and optimization, and points out new approaches and creative solutions – it’s as gripping as a crime novel
    Luzia Braun, ZDF
  • This book challenges its readers to leave their normal viewpoints behind and take on a new perspective.”
    Ann-Kristin Achleitner, Professor of Economics at Munich Technical University (TU München) and Member of the Supervisory Board, inter alia, at Linde, Munich Re and Metro
  • Amel Karboul turns our thinking about leadership on its head. Highly recommended reading for leaders, whether their remit be within business or society.
    Frank Trümper, Managing Director, BBUG (The Baden-Baden Entrepreneur Talks).
  • The demands that companies will be exposed to in future are no greater, no more difficult or complicated than in the past, but they will be different. It is no longer the done thing to prepare for this by becoming quicker, cleverer or stronger – it will be more a matter of “becoming different.”Dr. Amel Karboul’s book is a cornucopia of illustrations, examples and opportunities. You are left fascinated by this person, who is ‘both this and that’ at the same time, and who shows us how we need to master the art of being like this – if we don’t want to be mastered by others.
    Albert Schmitt, Managing Director of the German Chamber Philharmonic of Bremen, Developer of the 5 Seconds Model, and author
  • Anyone who thinks that when it comes to leadership they know it all and can do it all, should read Amel Karboul. This book is as surprisingly aromatic as a mocha at an oriental bazaar.
    Ilse Henne, CEO OU Metals Western Europe, ThyssenKrupp PLC
  • This book contains condensed life experience extracted from an incomparably rich source. Authentic, bold, provocative but also entertaining. What I particularly like is Amel’s appreciative concept of what it means to be human, which underlies both her work and this book, and also her conviction that this is the basis for successful management in the 21st century. This is a book that ‘stays with you’ – as it provokes you, and touches you as the reader, and also because it tells you stories and conjures up all sorts of images.
    Dr. Katrin Vernau, Executive Director of West German Broadcasting (WDR)
  • Ditch the old economics-degree templates. Amel Karboul uses oriental storytelling techniques to show us what 21st-century leadership looks like. It’s very different – and it’s well worth a read!
    Dr. Hariolf Wenzler, Executive Director, Bucerius Law School
  • Amel Karboul inhabits the space between modern-day cultures, religions and lifestyles. This is what makes her perspective so valuable.
    Gabriele Fischer, Editor-in-Chief, brand eins
  • Refreshing, practical and transnational! Taking modern business management concepts in the age of global digitalization as her medium, Amel Karboul comes across as convincing.
    Ralf Christian, CEO, Energy Management Division, Siemens PLC
  • Optimisation is not the be all and end all. Success needs to be robust. What kind of leadership strengthens the resilience of organisations? This book puts forward many very valuable suggestions.
    Karl-Ludwig Kley, Chairman of the Executive Board, Merck Joint Stock Company
  • Every manager has experienced the kind of situations which are very touchingly and entertainingly described by Amel Karboul. This is a very readable book which everyone can learn from.
    Kasper Rorsted, Chairman of the Executive Board of Henkel PLC & Co. Joint Stock Company
  • This book amazes and inspires you, and brings your own way of doing things into question. What is more, it outlines a new leadership culture suited to the complexity and dynamics of the 21st century!
    Dr. Christoph Franz, President of the Board of Directors of Roche Holding PLC, previously CEO of Swiss International Air Lines and Chairman of Lufthansa PLC

Faced with company bankruptcies that come as a surprise to everyone, together with market trends that emerge out of nowhere, and also increasing competition on the global market, managers can quickly start to panic. Their instinctive reaction is to increase cost control and to implement better planning and optimization. I say this is precisely the wrong way to go.

For optimization narrows your room for manoeuvre. Here is an example: the efficiency of an aeroplane is at its greatest at a point at which it is at the greatest possible height and it uses the least possible amount of fuel, and at which minimum and maximum speed occur in close proximity. It is not without reason that this altitude zone is referred to as “coffin corner”, as every unforeseen event that occurs may prove sufficient to bring down a high-flyer. Being highly efficient also means finding yourself in great danger!

The same goes for companies and organisations undergoing upheaval during the move towards a digital society. That which was supposed to bring certainty actually increases uncertainty. When unforeseeable events occur, highly-complex, chaotic interactions increase rapidly. What was initially a safety net quickly becomes a shackle.

In this book I would like to invite you to understand the degree to which the way we approach uncertainty is shaped by cultural conventions, thereby inviting you to lose your shackles. We Europeans want to curb uncertainty, whereas those from an Arab or African culture are used to living with uncertainty. What western companies can learn from these cultures is flexibility, multi-tracked planning, a tolerance of failure, and the need to leave room for intuition.

The outcome is that you no longer fear unexpected change – rather you use change to achieve personal success.