George Kohlrieser on “Hostage at the Table”

Kohlrieser: My name is Professor George Kohlrieser. I’m Professor of Leadership in Organizational Behavior at IMD in Lausanne, Switzerland. Question: What inspired “Hostage at the Table?” Kohlrieser: The idea behind the “Hostage at the Table” concept is that when we are held hostage with a gun, it’s obvious we are physical hostage, and there are people who can talk, interact even when they are held physically hostage, and as a result, get themselves free or hostage negotiators can do that. Then, the idea is that you can be a hostage even without a gun to your head, and there’re many people who do not really feel freedom of choice. They do not really feel that they can do what they want or influence what they want. This is particularly important for leaders, because leaders without a gun to their head can feel like or be in a state where they are acting as if they have a gun to their head and they are not. It can be to a colleague. It can be to a boss. It can be to a client, a customer. It can also be to themselves. So, the idea is that how do we help leaders really free up their potential, be able to truly make choices, influence and persuade, and do this without the negative states that go with being a psychological hostage.

Question: How does a leader break out of hostage situation?

Kohlrieser: The way is to really understand that you always have choice. So, that if you are in a situation where you are pressured, where you feel trapped, what you have to stop and do is go back inside and connect with how you feel. What it is that you want? And that’s why the first basic tool, the first pillar of leadership is around focus. How do I focus my mind’s eye? Now, we have to understand that the mind’s eye, part of your brain is fundamentally determined if you’re looking for positive, you’re looking for negative, if you are looking for the problems or you’re looking for the solutions. The other part of this focus is that you have to take control of it because your brain is naturally going to be looking for danger, looking for pain, looking for what’s wrong, so that to not be a hostage, to be an impactful, high-performing leader, you must do in your brain, in your mind, focusing on where you want to go. What’s interesting is that 80% of people do not do that, 80% of people are in fact looking for the danger. That’s how the brain is hardwired. And only about 20% on average are looking for where there is possibilities, where there are opportunities. Great leaders, high-performing leaders do not allow themselves to be a hostage to looking for those negatives. And so you can have a leader who build a team or builds a whole organization around people who truly are playing the wind. And playing the wind means I do not allow myself to be a hostage to my fears and to the avoidance of risk taking. Risk calculation is important, but to be able to focus on where you want to go and then bring people with you, that’s one of the true characteristics of a high-performing leader.

In his book, George Kohlrieser explains how overcoming a hostage mindset is essential for successful leadership.

China's "artificial sun" sets new record for fusion power

China has reached a new record for nuclear fusion at 120 million degrees Celsius.

Credit: STR via Getty Images
Technology & Innovation

This article was originally published on our sister site, Freethink.

China wants to build a mini-star on Earth and house it in a reactor. Many teams across the globe have this same bold goal --- which would create unlimited clean energy via nuclear fusion.

But according to Chinese state media, New Atlas reports, the team at the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) has set a new world record: temperatures of 120 million degrees Celsius for 101 seconds.

Yeah, that's hot. So what? Nuclear fusion reactions require an insane amount of heat and pressure --- a temperature environment similar to the sun, which is approximately 150 million degrees C.

If scientists can essentially build a sun on Earth, they can create endless energy by mimicking how the sun does it.

If scientists can essentially build a sun on Earth, they can create endless energy by mimicking how the sun does it. In nuclear fusion, the extreme heat and pressure create a plasma. Then, within that plasma, two or more hydrogen nuclei crash together, merge into a heavier atom, and release a ton of energy in the process.

Nuclear fusion milestones: The team at EAST built a giant metal torus (similar in shape to a giant donut) with a series of magnetic coils. The coils hold hot plasma where the reactions occur. They've reached many milestones along the way.

According to New Atlas, in 2016, the scientists at EAST could heat hydrogen plasma to roughly 50 million degrees C for 102 seconds. Two years later, they reached 100 million degrees for 10 seconds.

The temperatures are impressive, but the short reaction times, and lack of pressure are another obstacle. Fusion is simple for the sun, because stars are massive and gravity provides even pressure all over the surface. The pressure squeezes hydrogen gas in the sun's core so immensely that several nuclei combine to form one atom, releasing energy.

But on Earth, we have to supply all of the pressure to keep the reaction going, and it has to be perfectly even. It's hard to do this for any length of time, and it uses a ton of energy. So the reactions usually fizzle out in minutes or seconds.

Still, the latest record of 120 million degrees and 101 seconds is one more step toward sustaining longer and hotter reactions.

Why does this matter? No one denies that humankind needs a clean, unlimited source of energy.

We all recognize that oil and gas are limited resources. But even wind and solar power --- renewable energies --- are fundamentally limited. They are dependent upon a breezy day or a cloudless sky, which we can't always count on.

Nuclear fusion is clean, safe, and environmentally sustainable --- its fuel is a nearly limitless resource since it is simply hydrogen (which can be easily made from water).

With each new milestone, we are creeping closer and closer to a breakthrough for unlimited, clean energy.

The science of sex, love, attraction, and obsession

The symbol for love is the heart, but the brain may be more accurate.

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  • How love makes us feel can only be defined on an individual basis, but what it does to the body, specifically the brain, is now less abstract thanks to science.
  • One of the problems with early-stage attraction, according to anthropologist Helen Fisher, is that it activates parts of the brain that are linked to drive, craving, obsession, and motivation, while other regions that deal with decision-making shut down.
  • Dr. Fisher, professor Ted Fischer, and psychiatrist Gail Saltz explain the different types of love, explore the neuroscience of love and attraction, and share tips for sustaining relationships that are healthy and mutually beneficial.

Golden blood: The rarest blood in the world

We explore the history of blood types and how they are classified to find out what makes the Rh-null type important to science and dangerous for those who live with it.

Abid Katib/Getty Images
Surprising Science
  • Fewer than 50 people worldwide have 'golden blood' — or Rh-null.
  • Blood is considered Rh-null if it lacks all of the 61 possible antigens in the Rh system.
  • It's also very dangerous to live with this blood type, as so few people have it.
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There never was a male fertility crisis

A new study suggests that reports of the impending infertility of the human male are greatly exaggerated.

Sex & Relationships
  • A new review of a famous study on declining sperm counts finds several flaws.
  • The old report makes unfounded assumptions, has faulty data, and tends toward panic.
  • The new report does not rule out that sperm counts are going down, only that this could be quite normal.
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