George Kohlrieser


George Kohlrieser is an organizational and clinical psychologist. He is Professor of Leadership and Organizational Behavior at one of the world’s leading business schools, the International Institute for Management Development (IMD) in Switzerland. At IMD he created and directs the school’s flagship High Performance Leadership (HPL) program. He is also the author of the award-winning bestseller Hostage at The Table: How Leaders Can Overcome Conflict, Influence Others and Raise Performance, published in 2006, and co-author of Care to Dare: Unleashing Astonishing Potential Through Secure Base Leadership, published in 2012.

Building on lessons from 40 years as a psychologist and hostage negotiator, he works with companies and organizations based all over the world and serves on the advisory board of the Neuroleadership Institute. He focuses on the neuroscience behind high performance leadership and teamwork, conflict management, change management, dialogue and negotiations, stress management, fulfilling potential and playing to win.

Kohlrieser is also a popular motivational speaker and a respected media commentator. He has been a guest on the BBC, CNN, ABC and CBS. His work has also been featured in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Economist and other leading newspapers and magazines. Matters of the Mind, his highly acclaimed radio call-in talk show in the United States, ran for over ten years.




His book Hostage at the Table: How Leaders Can Overcome Conflict, Influence Others and Raise Performance is an international bestseller, translated into 11 languages. It has received the “Best Business Book Award 2007” from theDirigeants Commerciaux de France (DCF), a French association of business leaders, and the “Best Management Book 2008” from the German business bookseller In 2010 Kohlrieser received the BrandLaureate International Brand Personality Award from the Asia Pacific Brands Foundation (APBF) for his contribution to the field of high-performance communication and in 2011 he won the global European Case Clearing House (ECCH) Hot Topic Case Award for Renewable and Sustainable Energy, Technology and Development.




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, founding the flagship High Performance Leadership (HPL) program at IMD and, soon afterwards, an Advanced High Performance Leadership (AHPL) program.

Professor Kohlrieser completed his doctorate at Ohio State University where he wrote his dissertation on the cardiovascular recovery of law enforcement leaders 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.