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What Will You Learn From Today’s Episode

  • Knowing what the other person desires with clarity and building a relationship with them is fundamental in hostage negotiations.
  • To avoid becoming psychological hostages, leaders should not try to command or control themselves. They should instead give them choices.
  • A true leader should be caring and be able to build a secure base around their followers by allowing the followers to confide in them.
  • Having conversations with the counterparty can help you find the deeper truth since dialogue often involves conversations about differences and conflict. In fact, there’s more truth in disagreement than in harmony.

Executive Summary:

Finding Truth In Disagreement: A Psychologist’s Guide

Hi everyone! Welcome back to the NEGOTIATEx podcast. Our guest today is a licensed psychologist, George Kohlrieser. Mr. Kohlrieser started his career with the Dayton, Ohio Police Department, trying to reduce homicides in domestic violence situations. 

During these years, he was held hostage four times. In 1972, he started teaching 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 led him to a deep understanding of the power of emotional bonding. Professor Kohlreiser has worked with police, military, and humanitarian organizations around the world, especially in hotspots such as Israel, the Palestinian Territories, and Croatia. 

Additionally, George is the author of the internationally bestselling books: Hostage at the Table: How Leaders Can Overcome Conflict, Influence Others and Raise Performance and Care to Dare: Unleashing Astonishing Potential Through Secure Base Leadership.

With all that said, let’s jump into the conversation with Geroge.

Knowing What The Other Person Desires Is Fundamental In Hostage Negotiations

Aram kicks off the episode by asking George about the differences between conflict management, conflict reduction, and conflict transformation concerning hostage negotiations. In response, Mr. George states that these approaches have more similarities than differences because all approaches aim to solve a problem with as little violence as possible.

Hostage negotiation is a process of being able to create a bond and connection and find the pain points of the hostage taker. The hostage negotiator needs to find the underlying grievances of the hostage taker to tackle them effectively. 

Additionally, hostage negotiators do not command or threaten the hostage takers. They instead focus on empathizing and forming a connection with them and give them a choice to come out of the situation willingly. 

According to Geroge, knowing what the other person wants and desires with clarity is fundamental when it comes to hostage negotiations. 

Next, George highlights the reason hostage negotiations had to be professionalized by various law enforcement agencies is because of the increase in homicide rates in hostage situations. He recalls when he was held hostage by a psychotic individual, he had to create a connection with the person to de-escalate the situation. 

Over the years, it became clear to law enforcement bodies that hostage negotiations were about building a relationship with the hostage taker and having a dialogue with them.

Don’t Try To Control Or Command Yourself While Negotiating Internally 

George talks about the three main thoughts on basically how anyone can become a high-performing leader. And the first one is, don’t be a hostage; create trust and foster a positive mindset.

He feels that leaders often end up becoming psychological hostages due to the weight of their expectations and the shame of their failures. If they’re filled with fear, anger, regret, shame, and similar internal negative states, they’re hostage to themselves, not just to their boss or employee or spouses. 

So, when you are afraid, full of shame or regret, you should give yourself choices. Do I choose to do this or not? The problem is most people try to command and control themselves, and if it doesn’t work, it activates a sense of rebellion in them, which is undoubtedly the wrong approach while negotiating internally.

A True Leader Should Be Caring And Be Able To Build A Secure Base Around Their Followers

Leaders should always be able to create a secure base around their followers so that their followers can turn to them when they are upset or anxious. George suggests that we all need secure bases to develop our talents and skills, and leaders can help us do that. 

A good leader should also try to discover how they can come across to produce a sense of safety among his followers and subordinates. That way, they can help ensure that they are able to provoke a positive reaction from other people, which would help the people bond and connect with them.

On the flip side, when leaders produce fear in their followers, it provokes defensiveness among people, which is not something a true leader would ever want, especially in the world of negotiations. It’s worth noting that coercive leadership can lead people into burnout and only help derive temporary results and never sustained performance.

There’s More Truth In Disagreement Than There Is In Harmony

George firmly believes that the power of influence can be mapped to words and dialogue. In this episode, he focuses on the importance of dialogues when it comes to negotiations and influencing people. He suggests that we must be able to talk and use words and know our body, our emotions, and what’s in our mindset and our intention.

In addition to that, he highlights that dialogue is only possible when the counterparty listens and when they both engage in meaningful conversations. In fact, it is a listening process that helps you find the deeper truth since dialogue often involves conversations about differences and conflict.   

Although it can be destructive, there’s more truth in disagreement than there is in harmony, so people who think they are listening are really not listening. 

George, Aram, and Nolan discuss a lot more on this episode of the NEGOTIATEx Podcast. Write to us at team@negotiatex.com and share your thoughts on this very informational podcast episode.

Thank you for listening.

Transcript

Nolan Martin : Hey everyone, welcome to the NEGOTIATEx podcast. My name's Nolan Martin. I'm your co-host and co-founder. And with me is co-host, co-founder Aram Donigian. And Aram, wanna introduce the guest for today's podcast?

Aram Donigian : I sure will, thanks Nolan. Hey folks! A licensed psychologist, George Kohlreiser started his career with the Dayton, Ohio Police Department trying to reduce homicides in domestic violence situations. During these years, he himself was held hostage four times. In 1972, he started teaching 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 led him to a deep understanding of the power of emotional bonding. Professor Kohlreiser has worked with police, military, and humanitarian organizations around the world, especially in hotspots such as Israel, the Palestinian Territories, and Croatia. He has expanded his work from clinical psychology and crisis negotiation to executive education and corporate leadership training.  Professor Kohlreiser completed his doctorate at Ohio State University. He has served as an adjunct faculty member at Union Graduate School, the Fielding Institute in Zagreb University. He was the founder and director of the Shiloah Center for Human Growth and Consultancy firm, Shiloah International.  George is the author of the internationally bestselling books: Hostage at the Table: How Leaders Can Overcome Conflict, Influence Others, and Raise Performance and Care to Dare: Unleashing Astonishing Potential Through Secure Base Leadership.  Thank you, George, for joining us today. 

George Kohlrieser : You're quite welcome. That's quite a good summary there. You obviously did some preparation. 

AD : <laugh>. 

NM : I hope we hit everything. 

AD : It's quite a background, George, so we're excited to get into it

GK : Quite a journey, Aram. 

NM : <laugh>. George, thanks again for joining us today. Really excited. One of the, kind of the questions that we'd like to lead off with here is talking about the journey of what got you to this point. Where did you see yourself going to become a negotiator and, and basically how'd you get to where we're at today?

George’s Background And Journey To Becoming A Negotiator [3:19]

GK : Well, I did my PhD in mediation, that was my goal. After finishing at the University of Dayton, focusing with some experts outside the university and then within the university on that whole arena of conflict reduction through mediation. And as a result, I had a chance to work with the Dayton Police Department and a special project community policing project at that point.  And it was to intervene in domestic violence to help prevent homicides. And it was in that context, a short time, three months after beginning, I was asked by the incident commander to enter a situation with a very psychotic man with a weapon holding a nurse hostage. And lord behold, I ended up being held hostage myself, managed to talk my way out, use of words. And I actually liked it. <laugh>, <laugh>, but it was all over.. That's how I got in on the foundation of hostage negotiation training.

GK : And I realized that at that point there was not a lot of knowledge. The FBI was doing what they were doing. New York, Los Angeles had started programs, but this was when it was beginning to be fashionable to ask for hostage negotiators. And at that point they were turning to outside consultants or psychologists. Now it's all internal training. So I sort of got in by accident, never intending ever to be a hostage negotiator. But the lieutenant, Lieutenant Dan, asked me to go in and later I asked him why.  And he said, well, I knew you had the use of words, you had a way of dealing and talking to people. I thought you were the most likely person. Cause I was quite upset when I got out after being <laugh> suddenly surprised at being taken hostage.

AD : I bet. We'll get into the use of words a little bit more in a moment. You used the phrase, conflict reduction, George. In this line of work we hear, you know, conflict management, conflict transformation is something I've heard too, from Dr. Michelle Buck down at Kellogg. In your mind, is it all the same or is there a difference as you think about conflict management, conflict reduction. Can conflict transformation, is there a difference in the nature of the work that you do?

George’s Take On Hostage Negotiations And The Reason It Has A 95% Success Rate [5:30]

GK : Well, I think there's more similarities between all of them than differences. There are some subtle differences, whether you are trying to control it, whether you are trying to deescalate it as a way to solve it. So for me, the idea is how to share a partnership in whatever target is being involved, to find a solution to a problem with as least violence as possible, or at least from that point of entry, to reduce the threat of danger.  And hostage negotiators get quite a high success rate. You know what the success rate is? It's about 95%. And so it's more than conflict reduction. It's a process of being able to create a bond connection, find the pain points, happy people don't take hostages. What are the underlying grievances and concession making? And it's through those three steps that there's a 95% success rate as measured here in Europe with Interpol and has measured by the FBI in the US.

GK : That's a pretty good track record. And by the way, the way it connects to leadership is that it's not about command and control. Hostage negotiators do not tell the hostage taker to get out or are gonna send in the SWAT team. No, they have to by question, empathy and connection, give a choice of that hostage taker to make the choice to come out compelling.  And the 5% where it doesn't work, it's usually police suicide. They're afraid to commit suicide or they're ambivalent and they do something stupid to get the police to, to kill them, or they don't have any desire, you know, in negotiation well, I'm sure this will come up in our further discussion. Knowing what the other person wants and desires with clarity is so fundamental.  Because so many people try to negotiate. And this is where leaders can learn from this so much that you have to help yourself clarify what you want, the desire, know what the other wants as well.  Sometimes it's pretty simple when you just have direct

AD : And sometimes it's not as simple. 

GK : Sometimes it's very complex as you know, it's in the process.

AD : It's in the process.  

GK : The techniques are so clear, but how to deliver it because we're dealing with people and I think the key is emotion, understanding the power of emotion. 

AD : Good. We'll get there. One other thing I wanted to ask kind of by way of as with, as you started off with your first kind of response on your journey, and it's just worth revisiting because I think there's so many organizations that struggle to see the value in really taking and honing negotiation as a capability, something we're able to do well.  You came into this field when, you know, it was still very split. The NYPD was doing something, the FBI was doing something around this. Why was there, I mean, do you have thoughts as you look back, and how it connects to your own path? Why was there kind of this slow adoption of we have a real need to professionalize this particular skill? 

George Highlights The Reason Hostage Negotiations Had To Be Professionalized [8:27]

GK : Because it became clear that homicides occurred in these situations, hostages were killed when you didn't talk to the hostage taker. And then the question became, how do you talk? Do you manipulate? Do you use power? Do you use fear? There were all kinds of exploratory processes going on. In the end, it became clear that it was a relationship.  How does the hostage taker as quickly as possible with a detached person, even a psychotic person. When I was held hostage, it was with someone who was in a high psychotic state, to be able to create that connection as a way to resolve it.  So, this became clearer and clearer and all these terms that came up the FBI developed in New York as well as Los Angeles, they were all coming together in one understanding of how to, this is a relationship. And then transferring that to leadership is that we have this mindset in executive education. Leaders have to be command and control persons. And it's not, negotiation is central to leadership, but we'll come to that later. 

AD : Yeah. Well, and I mean we will, and I know that, I mean what Nolan and I would say is even from the military, we get asked you, you actually negotiate in the military. Can't you just dictate everything to be done? <laugh>, the most effective leaders don't. And oftentimes you can't.

GK : Absolutely! You know, the whole model of emotional intelligence emerged from the military. After the Vietnam War, it was really recognized that the commanding people were in Washington DC without a connection, without a relationship to those commanders out there in the field, and then with the soldiers doing the fighting. So emotional intelligence has its origin in the military, which many people don't realize. And one of the best systems of leading and negotiating is with the seals, the Navy Seals, which have been transformed over here in Europe to the Dutch Seals, the German seals. You don't use force, you give choice and use inquiry rather than telling people what they need to do.

AD : I love that. We'll come back. Don't use force, you use choice. One more question and I'm gonna pass it back to Nolan for just a second. But you know, your bio talks about, and you've mentioned it, you know, being held hostage four times. Probably unique, probably not every person in your field has experienced this event. I'm curious, you know, what details you can share about the situations, but more, I mean even more so, how has being held hostage impacted your thinking on conflict management, conflict reduction?

How George Looks At Conflict Management After Having Being Held Hostage [11:06]

GK : Okay, well, I hope it wasn't because I was stupid. I don't think so…. How I got through that situation? And in fact, hostage negotiation is not that dangerous to a hostage taker or to a hostage negotiator. As you well know, it's usually by phone, by bullhorn over a window or through a window and so forth.  But this was a situation where there was someone in an emergency room and the police rushed to the scene, secured it. I arrived with the lieutenant who then became the incident commander. And he decided quickly, no tear gas because it's in a hospital, no forcing the door in. This guy's out of his mind, he's psychotic. We need somebody to talk him down. So I got in and sure enough he was holding Sheila, the nurse with the scissors, threatening to kill her, screaming and yelling out of his mind. And within three minutes, he cut her throat. Not the juggler, but on the side. 

GK : At first I was startled, but then she screened my children, my kids, which changed my mind's eye focus to her and determined to get her out. Next thing I know, he's across the room with the scissors at my throat. Nothing was working until I said to him, Sam, that was his name. How do you want your children to remember you? And he screamed, don't talk about my kids. I'll kill them. Kill you, kill everybody. I can bring 'em here. I don't want them to even live any longer.  You see, that was not a response I wanted, but it was the start of the dialogue. So I continued. I said, we need to talk about your kids. How do you wanna remember them? Well, I'm just gonna commit suicide then I don't have to think about it within 10 minutes. I got Sheila out within another half hour, got him to agree to a deal.  If you come out, I will go to your kids and tell them that you did so because you love them, I'll talk to the judge to try to get your sentence reduced. Cause this is a serious crime, Sam and I will come to the prison and help in the reconciliation. Then we had to get him outta that room. And here's what's very important and what all your listeners should understand: giving choice, Sam, you have to be handcuffed to leave. This is a felony.  So first of all, do you want to give me the scissors or throw it on the floor? Question. Next one. Do you want the police to come in to handcuff you? You want me to, I would like you, George. Do you wanna be handcuffed in the front or back? Three choices, empowering. And we managed to get him then outta that room to another part of the hospital because he had been stabbed by his ex-wife.

GK : And as he walked away, he said to the pen, and I say something to George coming back, he said, George, you're okay, I'm glad I didn't kill you. And I said, thank you Sam. I'm glad you didn't either. He said, no, lemme thank you for helping me remember how much I do love my kids. You see, he was in a total psychotic break over an emotional reaction to having no one.  He was abused. He was tortured, he was, I mean, he had a horrible history. Doesn't excuse what he did, but it helps you feel more empathy and compassion. So that was the first time I really learned the power of words. And that first transaction, I'm gonna kill you, et cetera, et cetera. Don't talk about my kids. That was the beginning of the dialogue. An adversarial transaction sometimes is the beginning of a dialogue.

AD : Very powerful. And, and you're maintaining of your own composure is powerful 

GK : That's the mine side. And you're, you're from the military. You guys both know that you have to be, be trained to focus because where you focus, the energy goes, I couldn't focus on that scissors. If I focused on the scissors, I'm totally paralyzed. I'm focused first on Sheila getting her safe. Secondly on Sam. And I want to get him out of there. He's a father, he's a human being. And so you have to control your mind's eye not to be focusing on the weapon. 

NM : Hmm. Yeah, it's definitely pretty powerful, George. And especially since that was your first experience with the host negotiation, right?

GK : Yeah. <laugh>. And that's not as bad as the second time. 

NM : Thrown in the deep end. But now you gotta tell us about the second time.

GK : <laugh>. I faced a gun and somebody shot it. I heard the bullet go right by my ear and within an hour he walked out, into police custody. Of course. But see, he didn't wanna kill me. Sam didn't wanna hurt me. They could have, they could have put the bullet in. Richard could have put the bullet in my body. Sam could have put the scissors in my body. But they wanted something. They had a desire. That's why we have to know the desires.

NM : Absolutely. And I think a lot of what you said resonates when we had Gary Noesner, the FBI hostage negotiator on our show. He talked a lot about the same things and…

GK : He's a master teacher of negotiation. I know Gary fairly well. 

NM : So next thing I kind of wanna shift gears towards, George was talking about the three main thoughts on basically how anyone can become a high performing leader. And I know that the first one that you mentioned is, don't be a hostage, create trust and foster a positive mindset. So what do you mean by don't be a hostage? And is this something that someone can actually control?

George Explain What “Not Being A Hostage” Really Means [16:09]

GK : Well, this was very early in my career, right after being held hostage and working on domestic violence and working with psychotic patients, that the real key has to do with how you can become a psychological hostage. No, you can be a hostage without a gun to your head or a knife to your throat without a weapon.  You can feel powerless and you can have a gun to your head and not feel like a hostage. You can talk, you can interact, you can say and do things, you can still breathe. So, the problem with many leaders is they become psychological hostage. They feel like they're a hostage to somebody or something, or even worse to themselves.  If they're filled with fear, they're filled with anger, regret, shame, all of these internal negative states, they're hostage to themselves, not just to the external boss or employee or spouse or whoever might be in their personal life. So, the same techniques that we use in hostage negotiation, physical hostage negotiation can be used in these psychological areas as well.  So, we're teaching executives how never to be a hostage because that is a trigger, an emotional trigger for most people to activate a fight-flight reflex you didn't do and say things you later regret.

AD : So we're, we're actually holding ourselves hostage…

GK : Absolutely.

AD : …With our thinking and our mindset. 

GK : Yeah and that, that's a very important point to understand that when you start feeling fear, full of shame or fear or regret or anger, or you say to yourself, I should do something and then you don't do it. You have to use choice yourself. Do I choose to do this or not? Do I choose not to have that doughnut, whether it's there or not, do I choose to get up in the morning to exercise? Many people use the word should they command and control themselves and it doesn't work and activates rebellion. So it's that same idea about questioning and building a relationship internally to the different states that you create. Does that make sense? Yeah,

NM : Definitely. And I think that makes a ton of sense. 

AD : And one way to deal with this is what you call a secure base. And you know, the first time I was exposed to attachment theory was when we were doing some revision of leadership development at the Air Force Academy. And one of my colleagues introduced this as kind of the foundation for the direction that he kinda wanted to guide us.  And you discussed attachment bonding theories in your work. Can you tell us a little bit about what these concepts are and how they help establish what you call a secure base and how that links maybe to this mindset and mind's eye idea?

Importance Of Developing Bondings And Connections [18:53]

GK : Yeah. Attachment theory has become very powerful because out of attachments, the basic need we have to connect to people, places, goals, objects, is not just people, leads to bonding. And bonding is the term that many people use, they don't understand. It means an energy connection, an emotional connection. And outta that emotional connection, either positive or negative, wonderful things happen, or very destructive things happen because the foundation is in emotion.  We need that attachment to survive as a young child. And when we don't have it throughout our life, there are gonna be destructive consequences. The problem is the separation, the loss that comes after every attachment, whether it's one day, one hour, 50 years, 75 years, then we go through that grief process, then we have to come back and reconnect again.  And secure base means that you have certain people, places, goals, that when you are attached to them, you're bonded to them. They give you psychological safety, you feel protected.  And that shuts the brain down because the brain is fundamentally negative looking for danger and threat to survive. And what we need are protectors to shut that down. Like a child who wakes up at night fearful that there's a monster under the bed, they call the parent, mommy, mommy, daddy, daddy.  The parent comes, calms them down, lays down with them, they go to sleep, they shut the mind's eye down. That is innate in our, that's evolutionary. We need attachments and those special attachments, not just people who give us protection, then shut that down and we start looking for beauty and we start looking for adventure. We'd like start looking for opportunities. We take risks.  And so we need secure bases to develop our talents and develop our skills. And we need teachers to do that. Many leaders are not able to be a secure base. They produce fear in others. They have this attitude that provokes defensiveness. How do I as a person come across to produce this sense of safety that people don't feel endangered with me, they feel safe. And you know, when you provoke that positive reaction, then people want to bond to you and one to connect to you. Too many leaders use fear or detachment or ness. They dunno how to bond. That's simple.

AD : Can you say more? Cause I feel like, I mean Nolan and I would agree with the direction that you've taken this and we know there's a lot of resistance that there is this even, I guess mind's eye mindset, mental model perspective that leaders need to be strong and decisive and you know, kind of command and controlling and you know, here's what you should do. And the absence of that becomes a weakness. 

GK : It's an amazing thing. How many people still carry the mindset that if you are caring, if you are able to be vulnerable, that you are a weak leader? The research is exactly the opposite. Those command and control coercive-type leaders, that relentless pace setters, that drive people into burnout, they're not good leaders. They can get temporary results, but they don't get sustained performance. Caring is an attitude every leader has to have. And we know this from Gallup who studied engagement for over 40 years now. They repeatedly find if you have an immediate boss and they use the very word caring as caring, you are likely to be engaged and be fully involved in your work. It's so obvious, but many leaders do not know how to show caring. Why? Because they didn't have that in their childhood or in their adolescence or as they were growing up.

GK : So they don't, don't know what that is. The early trauma of difficulties in the attachment behavior. So we have then people who get addicted and the addiction is a substitute for human contact, an affection or they go into a deep depression or a depression of any kind that is a foundation of disturbed detachment behavior or is Dr. Monte talks about you become sick. And so we have to understand in leadership, a leader has to be able to be caring and daring. That's the foundation of the book, caring to dare you are not a secure base if you don't dare people, you don't encourage them into challenge X sometimes push 'em into challenge. So, it's built on that foundation of secure base and caring. And then we dare and we need stretch goals. But the leaders who do that stretch goals without caring.  And you guys know from the military, the best commanders still are tough, but they're caring, you know, they care. You know, they give that they're, they're standing behind your back. Need I say more? <laugh>

AD : Yeah. And let me just check my understanding too, which is this secure base. If I'm gonna be more effective as a leader, I need a secure base myself. And then through that process, I become a secure base for others. Is that the idea here?

Importance Of Leaders On Being Secure Bases [26:12]

GK : You nailed it right on the head. That's exactly it. And that's how it goes back originally. You need a mother, a father, a grandparent, stepfather. Doesn't matter if it's biologic, well, it doesn't matter if it's biological, but we can find all kinds of secure bases that then prepare us for the internal secure base.  You cannot be an internal secure base to yourself without having them externally. But here's the thing, the research shows you need secure bases for the rest of your life to the day you die. And not just people, you need goals, places. Look at the number of people who find protection in places, pets, beliefs, symbols. I mean the range is dramatic. And I often use the example of Edith Eger who was in Auschwitz as a teenager. She lost her parents there. Horrible. She was tortured physically, sexually.

GK : And she came out of that going through the grief and then coming back after 25 years finding the full joy of life. And she remembers Auschwitz not as the horror it was, but as the learning point to really understand what it means to live life with joy. Who was her secure base? Viktor Frankl, the great of a man's search for Romanian purpose.  You see how one secure base leads to another, but her memory there serves as something positive. And how many people do you know who are victims? They remember their past from a negative point of view and it puts them into a negative state and all kind of things trigger negativity.  And what happens is it affects their health and their wellbeing and the people around them. They're not able to be good leaders, much less good parents, good friends, good spouses.

NM : That's a powerful story there, George. 

AD : Yeah, we can unpack that guys. 

NM : Yeah, hopefully we can work through some of that as we kind of.

GK : That was the root of the second book, A Care To Dare. How you have to be caring and caring does mean tough sometimes daring. This is not to be without boundaries. And then the first book was about hostage negotiation and leadership. And I thought the most interesting thing from the first book would be conflict, but it wasn't. People kept saying, what is this secure base thing? How, how can I understand this? So that was the foundation of the research we did on really high performing leaders having secure bases and being a secure base. So the idea of the hard, cold, detached, uncaring leader, it's a myth.  The real inspiring leaders are those who are able to show caring and daring at the same time. 

NM : Yeah, and I think here in a minute we'll talk about the kind of gender leadership research that you've done. So, hopefully we'll get to that here in a minute. Kind of wanna ask you next though, in your work, the power of influence can be mapped to words, dialogue and negotiation skill. I find this to be a really deep and interesting concept.  Can you break these points down and discuss how they can help us become high performing leaders?

GK : Okay, so would you repeat which words you would like me to break down? We'll take 'em one or two at a time.

NM : Dialogue?

Finding Deeper Truth Using Dialogue [27:43]

GK : Dialogue is based on listening and based on good talking. So, have you ever been talking to somebody and you want to just slap 'em in the face

NM : <laugh> 

GK : Or they put you to sleep or they make you feel negative, they produce an emotional reaction. So, we have to be able to talk and use words, knowing our body, knowing our emotions, knowing what's in our mindset and what's in intention. And then dialogue is when the other person listens and then they talk and the original talker listens. So, it's a basic listening process and that's how you find a deeper truth.  Deeper truth actually is built around good dialogue. And dialogue often involves differences and that means conflict. That's why conflict is so fundamentally important. And to get into your mind's eye and mindset that conflict is good. Of course it can be destructive, but there's more truth in disagreement than there is in harmony, so that people who think they are listening are really not listening.  That's why hostage negotiation training, as you've probably learned from Gary, is based on the ability to paraphrase, based on the ability to really empathetically connect and communicate understanding the hostage taker is impacted by the words, the dialogue, the caring and the empathy that is shown. And when they want something, then you start building the collaboration.

NM : And how do we train this? Because what we tend to see is we, you know, we talk about active listening, we know the importance of active listening, but whenever we have any of our clients going through training, and there's two people with opposing views, neither one's actually listening to the other, they're just thinking about the next thing that they need to say to convince them. So how do we train this?

Feedback And Awareness In Negotiations [29:43]

GK : Feedback, feedback, feedback. And it has to be by awareness. So in our training, and I do these high performance leadership programs and all these eight pillars of leadership, the heart of it is, or one of the red threads, one of the many is good dialogue. So we teach four sentences or less. If you're talking in more than four sentences, you're probably blocking the dialogue and sometimes there's time to speak more or with what you're presenting and being able to answer questions.  And so they have to get feedback from a professional coach or the team members, the coaching groups of the team give feedback after five days of repeated, repeated feedback. Some people rewire their brain, they stop using the word yes, but they start speaking more directly. Last time we had 40 cultures represented. So you can imagine everything from Asia to the Middle East to South America.  So, all the cultural context has to be built into this. Cause if you are a contextual mindset, you wanna give so many details, you wanna give examples and they're unnecessary. If you wanna stay focused on the dialogue, good dialogue will reduce meeting time by as much as 60 to 70%. 60 to 70%! Think about it, how many meetings are filled with people talking too much, repeating, not answering questions, arguing and not in dialogue? 

AD : That's powerful. You know, there's an expression, I'd love to get your take. Creating the space to be heard. Is that, is that?

George Defines Psychological Safety [31:20]

GK : Oh my goodness, yes. It's psychological safety. We didn't talk about that. Out of the secure base comes psychological safety. There are two areas that are on the cutting edge of leadership training right now. It's taking emotional intelligence, going deeper into emotions in this whole arena of psychological safety and the role of dialogue.  Psychological safety is where you feel you can say what you need to say, ask questions, make mistakes, and you won't be attacked. It's that whole thing about shutting down the brains looking for pain and danger. So you're exactly right, it is psychological safety. 

AD : Feels like going back. As you look at the benefits of psychological safety, it goes back to something you said earlier, which is that's where there's the opportunity to create beauty, seek adventure, you know, really, you know, develop challenge yourself. That's where those things are able to flourish.

GK : The sad story is about 80% of people are playing not to lose. 80% of people are focused on more of a negative mindset, looking for fears, looking for dangers, threats or living out past memories of anger, regret. Only about 20% are truly living the full joy of life, the full venture of life.  And they feel that full joy of life like Edith Edgar who spent all these years four years in Auschwitz and 25 years overcoming it. She's come back to the full joy of life. Her mind's eye sees beauty and you see that's why people, and I emphasize grief, loss as part of this bonding cycle.  If you don't get through the loss let go, then you don't come back to that full joy of life. And in organizations with mergers and acquisitions, failures, mistakes, disappointed promotions, all the different things, that grief is rampant in organizations. 

GK : Not to mention, all the grief in personal life. And if you don't get through that, you can't come back to the full joy of life. And identity becomes so much a part of this that we see people who are not able to let go of an identity or the benefits that come from that. Someone who can't get through retirement healthy or loses something or a child or a spouse or in an organization lose their job and they never get over it.  You can get over any loss, you can get over any loss and you can come back to the full joy of life. And there's not as many good examples of that as there are failed examples.

NM : Hey everyone, Nolan here, I have to jump in and in today's podcast for part A of this show, be sure to rate, review and subscribe to the podcast if you haven't already. And also join us next week for part B of this awesome interview.

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