Do you want to be a high performing leader?

Here are my thoughts on how you can do this.

1. Don’t be a hostage

Create trust and foster a positive mindset

As a former hostage negotiator, I have seen first-hand the pain and agony that victims endure at the hands of their hostage takers. Hopefully you have never been in this physical situation. In the world of business, you can be a hostage without a weapon. I have seen this happen countless times – individuals who are hostage to their fears, guilt, regrets, self-doubts, or the actions of others.

By openly facing conflict, we can effectively progress through the most difficult business challenges. The proven techniques of hostage negotiation result in a 95% success rate. Use these very same techniques in any personal or business relationship so you are never a hostage to anyone, anything, or even to yourself. This enables you to lead with your full potential. Learn more.

2. Unleash potential AS A

Secure Base Leader

Great leaders are aware of their secure bases (the people, places, events, experiences, and beliefs which have shaped them). Only from this point can they become successful in achieving their goals.

Great leaders serve as secure bases to others to maximize their potential. They use trust as well as formal and informal authority to influence, rather than exerting their hierarchical and coercive power. Learn more.

3. The power to influence

Words, dialogue, and negotiation

High performing leaders overcome their fears, courageously make decisions, and overcome conflicts to raise performance. They have the ability to turn adversaries into allies by focusing on common goals. Words are a powerful tool for a high performing leader. Learning how to use and listen to them is essential to achieving outstanding results.

Transformation happens when you have demonstrated the characteristics that are part of secure base leadership and mastered the power of words. I have witnessed countless inspiring stories of how doing this can create trust and inspiration for individuals, teams, and organizations. You can then live your personal and professional dreams with full joy. You can inspire your followers and foster an environment for innovation and creativity.

Do you want to build trust, drive change, inspire others, build high performing teams, and create an empowered organizational culture? Learn more.

The content on this website delves into these three concepts in much more depth.


George A. Kohlrieser is an organizational and clinical psychologist. He is Distinguished Professor of Leadership and Organizational Behavior at IMD Business School in Switzerland and consultant to global companies. He is a frequent speaker at management and professional conferences around the world including the World Business Forum, the World Economic Forum, and the United Nations.

George is a thought leader focused on high performance leadership, high performance teamwork, conflict management, change management, dialogue and negotiation, coaching, the person effect, stress management, work-life balance, and personal and professional development. He is also a police psychologist and hostage negotiator focusing on aggression management and hostage negotiations. He has worked in over 100 countries spanning five continents.

George is the Founder and Director of the High Performance Leadership (HPL) Program, the flagship six-day IMD program for experienced senior leaders, and the Advanced High Performance Leadership (AHPL) for former HPL participants. He is a notable media commentator on issues related to leadership, conflict, aggression management, and hostage negotiation, and had his own highly acclaimed radio call-in talk show in the US for over 10 years. His work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, The Financial Times, Forbes and other leading newspapers and magazines. He has been a speaker at TEDx talks in both New York and Lausanne.


George is the author of the internationally bestselling book Hostage At The Table: How Leaders Can Overcome Conflict, Influence Others, and Raise Performance, which received the “Best Business Book Award 2007” from DCF (French Association of Business Leaders) and “Best Management Book 2008” in Germany by His second book, Care to Dare: Unleashing Astonishing Potential Through Secure Base Leadership, has been nominated one of the Best Business Books of 2013 by Soundview.

George has won numerous other personal and program awards. The Learning Leadership program he leads as part of IMD’s Global Leadership in the Cloud curriculum was awarded a Gold Medal for being the best advance in unique learning technology by Brandon Hall consulting, a leading learning and development research firm (2015). He received the CEEMAN Global Champion Award for Excellence in Teaching (2013), the prestigious BrandLaureate International Brand Personality Award for his contribution in the field of high performance communication from the Asia Pacific Brand Foundation (2010), and the global ecch Renewable and sustainable energy, technology and development Hot Topic Case Award (2011).


A licensed psychologist, George Kohlrieser started his career working side-by-side with the police department on the streets of Dayton, Ohio, trying to reduce homicides in domestic violence situations. During those years, he was held hostage himself four times. In 1972 he started to teach at the Dayton Police Academy, establishing hostage negotiation teams. At the same time he worked in a psychiatric hospital, teaching mental health specialists how to work with chronic schizophrenics. These roles early in his career led him to his deep conviction in the power of emotional bonding and what it can accomplish.

Over the years he worked with the police, the military, and humanitarian organizations in such hot spots as Israel, the Palestinian territories, and Croatia, as well as with police departments and police academies around the world. Later he expanded from the world of clinical psychology and crisis negotiation into the world of executive education and corporate leadership training.

Professor Kohlrieser completed his doctorate at Ohio State University where he wrote his dissertation on the cardiovascular recovery of law enforcement personnel following high-stress situations. His research made significant contributions to understanding the role that self-mastery and social dialogue have in helping law enforcement personnel sustain high-performance through self-regulation and emotional intelligence. He has served as an adjunct faculty member of Union Graduate School, Antioch, Ohio, an adjunct faculty member of Fielding Institute, San Francisco, California, and an adjunct faculty member of Zagreb University, Croatia. He is past president of the International Transactional Analysis Association and was the Founder and Director of the Shiloah Center for Human Growth in Dayton, Ohio, and Shiloah International, a consultancy firm based in Switzerland.