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George Kohlrieser      

Organizational, Clinical & Police Psychologist; Former Hostage Negotiator

George Kohlrieser is an organizational and clinical psychologist. He is Distinguished Professor of Leadership and Organizational Behaviour at IMD and consultant to several global companies including Accenture, Amer Sports, Borealis, Cisco, Coca-Cola, HP, Hitachi, IBM, IFC, Google, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Maersk, Morgan Stanley, Motorola, NASA, Navis, Nestlé, Nokia, Pictet, Rio Tinto, Roche, Santander, Swarovski, Sara Lee, Tetra Pak, Toyota, and UBS.  He is a regular speaker at management and professional conferences around the world including the World Business Forum, the World Economic Forum, and the United Nations.

His research, teaching, and consulting activities are focused on high performance leadership, high performance teamwork, conflict management, change management, dialogue and negotiation, coaching, 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.

Professor Kohlrieser is Director of the High Performance Leadership (HPL) Program, an intense six day IMD program for experienced senior leaders and the Advanced High Performance Leadership (AHPL) for former HPL participants. He completed his doctorate at Ohio State University where he wrote his dissertation on cardiovascular recovery of law enforcement leaders following high-stress situations. His research has made significant contributions to understanding the role self-mastery and social dialogue has in helping leaders sustain high performance through lifelong learning.

Professor Kohlrieser is Associate Clinical Professor of Psychology, Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio, adjunct faculty member of Union Graduate School, Antioch, Ohio, adjunct faculty member of Fielding Institute San Francisco, California, adjunct faculty member of Zagreb University, Croatia. He is past president of the International Transactional Analysis Association, a former advisory board member of the NeuroLeadership Institute, and is a member of the Society of International Business Fellows (SIBF). Professor Kohlrieser 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. He has consulted for the BBC, CNN, ABC, and CBS and 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. He 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 Managementbuch.de. 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.

He has won numerous 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).

Speech Topics


What Great Leaders Do Best

Leading at the Edge: How to Unlock Extraordinary Performance

Playing to Win: The Neuroscience of High Performance

Care to Dare: Unleashing Astonishing Potential Through Secure Base Leadership

A Hostage-Free State of Mind

The Person Effect

Building Trust in Times of Transformation

Managing Conflict in High Impact Negotiation

Managing Conflict and Transition in Family Business

Secure Base Coaching

The Power of Dialogue

Inspiring and Developing Leadership Talent

High Performance Teamwork

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