Create trust and foster a positive mindset

As a former hostage negotiator, George has 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. There are people who are hostage to their fears, guilt, regrets, self-doubts, the actions of others, the past, or even themselves.

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. George uses 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.

Here is advice on how to do this.



Clinical Psychologist George Kohlrieser: Lessons in Negotiation with Scissors to the Throat

In July 1970, a psychotic man named Sam held scissors to George’s neck. An ongoing dialogue led to a resolution. You can read more about this story and the link between hostage negotiation and business leadership in this article in The Straits Times.

The Case Study: Allies Out of Opponents

When forced to do business in a difficult political and economic environment, the rules of commerce can require novel solutions to difficult problems. This Financial Times’ case study summary shows how different engagement tactics can lead to positive outcomes.

Opinion: Why Being a Boss is Like a Hostage Crisis

Hostage negotiators are successful because they build trust through dialogue. George explains how to do this in a CNN opinion piece.

Lead With Your Heart, Not Just Your Head

Most of us are hostages at work in different ways, to emotions such as anxiety, fear, and ambition. Naomi Eisenberger and George explain how to combat this in a Harvard Business Review opinion piece.



How to Turn Loss into Inspiration

Everybody goes through losses, big and small: the loss of a job, a home, or even a loved one. Will you allow a loss to hold you “hostage” and limit you in your future endeavors, by focusing on regret, guilt or unresolved grief? Or will the experience of loss enable you to find a new identity or goal, re-connect with people and enjoy life again? In this TedxLausanne talk, George addresses how you can not only get over each loss, but draw new inspiration from it by rewiring your brain to “play to win”.

Focus on the Mind’s Eye

You don’t have to like someone to form a bond with them. Here are thoughts on how to do this.

Leadership: A Master Class

“One of the biggest failures of leaders is that they don’t take time to form bonds.” George makes this point in an interview with Daniel Goleman.

Dr. George Kohlrieser on Learning to Lead Yourself

In this video, George shares some incredible stories of individuals who persevered despite very difficult circumstances. These are inspiring people who refused to be hostages to their situations.

IMD Article Series


The Power of Forgiveness: A Key to High Performance Leadership

Imagine what your life would be like if someone murdered one of your immediate family members. What if it was your son or daughter? Think about the anger and bitterness you would feel towards that person. Surely it would consume both your personal and professional life. Would you ever be able to move on?

Re-engagement: Opportunities for Great Leaders

We are all aware of the numerous company hardships and collapses in recent years. Often unnoticed, however, is the human story of individual employees and their increasing disconnection from work. Never have as many people felt so disengaged from their jobs, and so removed from their leaders and the values of their company.

Don’t Be Isolated at the Top

All too often, George sees companies portray an image of business leaders at the top of an organizational pyramid. There is this distance between the leader and others. Some might see this as power – leaders need to be slightly disconnected from others in order to take charge. George believes it reinforces the sense that it’s lonely at the top.

How to Manage Conflict: Six Essentials from Hostage Negotiation to the Boardroom

Are you afraid of conflict? This is perfectly normal! Instinctively, our brains tell us that conflict is dangerous, so our natural inclination is to do battle or run away. However, fear of conflict can turn leaders, managers, and employees into ‘psychological hostages’ who are paralyzed and unable to challenge others.

“George Kohlrieser brings leadership education to a whole new level. He has a rare ability to profoundly change participants’ mindset by inspiring them to successfully lead in times of ambiguity, uncertainty, and change.”

Michael Adalla, United Nations Institute For Training And Research