These are the collected letters of all participants of a Strategic Magic workshop. The comments are unedited and include the positive and negative.

Five months after this program completed, the organizations that commissioned it did a follow-up study on its effectiveness. You can check that study here.
For me this could have gone one of two ways: either it could have been a devastating ego blow or a wonderfully enriching experience. I am delighted to say that it has been the latter. I feel that this programme has been, in a number of ways, something of a catharsis.
It has been the push I have needed to regain the vigour & enthusiasm that I previously had, and since lost, for my job. It has also exorcised some of the personal demons that stood in the way of achieving that vigour
How did this happen? Well, I’m not sure but I think that this programme gave me back a sense of personal confidence, indeed it has enlarged it beyond what it has ever previously been. This, I suppose, happened because I was able to compare my efforts, ideas, creativity with people who I had regarded as being far superior, in a number of ways, to me and to see that what I had to offer was of value and was well received by those that I felt might look down on me. It brought these management ‘gods’ into a more human and personal perspective and raised me from sub-species to human being also
I don’t know which exercise was most useful, but I guess it was simply the working with people in all of them
You have given me a great deal to think about and I hope that I can take these thoughts and make something real and positive from them.
Thank you.
Thank you very much for a truly inspiring 3 days. I never expected to enjoy it as much as I did. Credit the enthusiasm and skills you passed on.
Normally at work I am running around sitting down for meetings for limited periods of time. Often I switch off as boredom engulfs me as the same people say the same things. I thank you for enabling me to sit and listen for 3 days and never drifting or switching off; it rarely happens
Maybe I have now learnt the skills to sit and listen before pre-judging... I hope so
Returning to work will be different on Monday. I have built new friendships; a quick clipped hello will not be sufficient. I will make the time for people
I do hope our lives cross again.
As you know, I was the sole individual committed to cynicism on day 1, although other may have shared this view
Over the last 3 days I have been impressed with what I have learnt, and more especially the way I have seen my colleagues in a new light
It is a sad reflection on the way we (or maybe it’s just me) interact with others that we often don’t see them as individuals with their own stories -- I will try to remember to pay more attention to everyone’s individuality. This must of course include colleagues, patients and friends/family
I hope to be able to utilise what I have learnt about group dynamics and response to new leaders/managers in my new role as medical director.
I found the course stimulating, and hope to be able to tap into the energy and enthusiasm it has generated in me and my colleagues to make George’s a better place and me a better person.
Thanks for all your enthusiasm.
What a good 3 days. The time went very quickly and there was no fatigue! Feeling energized but maybe this is the beginning of something and not the end. Perhaps the start of a bigger change or at least one which might start sometime in the next year or so. Had lots of fun and although 3 days felt a long time at the start, it now feels too short
The great weather and venue have added to the experience
I do feel I know my fellow colleagues much better & I will try to see in others at work the things I have noticed in the people I have had the privilege to get to know better while on this course. I am envious of those people who might follow & wish I could come with them too
I feel I need to explore some of the things I have felt more extensively after the course. I will look into ways I might do that
Thanks for your contribution to us and our team.To say that I have enjoyed this course is an understatement. It has inspired me to take a look at myself and know that I’m not so bad.
Thank you for showing me how to look at others in a different way
Kind regards,
Thank you very much for a very enjoyable and very insightful course. I feel I know a lot more about leadership than I did before and I will endeavor to use this knowledge as much as possible in the future.
The listening and teamwork skills you encouraged us to explore have changed my understanding of leadership -- what it entails and what it is for
The sketches and the land game were particularly instructive in this regard.
I wish you all the very best for the future
Thanks again,
Thank you so much for facilitating this event so successfully
I have gained a great deal from all the activities. The main points I have learnt ar
• The power of teamwork and what you can do
if you all work together
• The importance of networking and listening to others and their views
• The fun you can have when you are learnin
I greatly admire you both and your different styles
Ron -- Your energy is incredible. You inspire by your enthusiasm and joy of life
Walter -- Your quiet strength is a power. It’s what you don’t say that is important
I hope that I can emulate your skills in a small way and take them back with me in my job
P.S. I really hope we meet you again
I don’t go in for big speeches or long eulogies.
I hope that these last three days will help me make some lasting changes in the way I view myself
Thank you for helping me get to that point.
This has been better than expected
The listening issues are very important. Giving time and attention to new members of the team will be remembered
Different aspects of group behavior and the difference between competitive and non-competitive scenarios was a revelation
I had a great support group with Angela and Richard. It could not have been better, but perhaps I think that because it is my group! I have found similar groups on previous occasions as helpful.
The “Visions” made a fascinating, powerful and moving morning. It seemed like it was over in no time. The perception of some people has changed and it will be easier to communicate and work together. For people I know less it was a great introduction.
I was pleased that many people spoke about more personal time rather than feeling that they should be immersed in work.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you both for your efforts, enthusiasm and coaching skills during the recent leadership development program.
I felt the course was superbly structured and fulfilled the aims of rekindling and refocusing on the various aspects of being and staying a good leader. The course also reinforced my beliefs in the virtues of effective teamwork and what tremendous effect and force a well-led team can have. Tremendous positive energy when working in harmony, but very disruptive when not functioning correctly
I believe that all the sessions were of tremendous value. Initially I thought the ‘unwritten rules’ of the organisation ‘de-motivating’ as they portrayed George’s as being a place that
I didn’t recognise as we are a far healthier place than it suggested.
The course covered so much in so little time, but never felt so intense that you could not enjoy it and have fun
I can give no better sentiment other than I will be a better leader and person for attending
My sincere thanks,
Firstly, thank you for organising an amazingly powerful event. The energy required to make this work must be incredible. It has been much appreciated
Also the fact that you did not simply work through a sequence of exercises and tasks but brought much of yourself into the event was very noticeable. I do not think that we would have been prepared to make ourselves vulnerable during the event if you had not done the same. This is an important aspect of the course -- don’t change it
This course has already been very important to me. It has shown me the way to take forward a number of changes in my life. Changes that I had already started to make, but now I have greater confidence that what I am doing is the right thing and have greater clarity on how to take forward some aspects of my vision
The bonds you have formed within/between the group members will be a resource I can draw on in the future.
Thank you.
Thank you.
I was slightly ambivalent when I came on this course. I was uncertain whether it would “work”, whether things really could be different
The thing that has struck me is that it has been a time when everyone has been giving. You have both given us all so much of yourselves and shown and helped us to do that same
It reminds me of the story of Heaven and Hell. In Hell everyone has to eat with 3-foot chopsticks -- they struggle and just can’t seem to ever get any food
Heaven also has 3-foot chopsticks, but there people feed each other.
If we can just remember to feed each other I think we will all be happy and successful
I really hope more people from the NHS get the chance to do this program
Thanks again.
Private Prescription
Rx: 1. Praise -- Lots of, to be taken regularly as required.
The course was • well planned
• sensitively executed
• intelligently analysed.
2. Encouragement -- liberally applied -- to come and run similar courses rolled-out to the other stakeholders.
3. Things that may have had a different effect if done differently.
-- I wonder if it could have helped to encourage the group to come up with more ‘positives’ to balance the negative company ‘rules.’
-- Land exploration game may have run better if we’d ‘heard’ that all 3 boards are identical and all 3 managers have the same map.
All the best,
Enjoyed the course. Learnt a lot about myself and the people on the course. A useful exercise would have been to complete a 360° feedback form on yourself to compare how you think you are against other peoples’ perception. There was “dead time” which I used as thinking time. Not sure if everyone took advantage of this “dead time.”
Thank you for devoting so much time, energy and enthusiasm to creating such a good programme for us
I think we have all enjoyed and benefited from it -- I know I have. Whilst at times the programme has felt uncomfortable -- for example the trading game or the 360° -- this has been put into context by the laughter and enjoyment of the other exercises
I have to say the 360 was stressful for us perfectionists and novices to the process. We are used to high scores and mortified by average or -- heaven forfend -- less than average ones. Given that this was the first time we saw them, I think you may need to protect or at least watch us. The support groups were very variable at this and mine not great.
Having said this, I think we all bonded well and the sketches made indelible links. The organisation should use this again at other levels
Thank you again -- it was great & apologies once more for leaving early.
I was very skeptical about the event and felt forced to come by my line manager. I have however completely changed my point of view about the last 3 days. I have achieved what I was hoping to get out of the course. I feel that I have forged a better relationship with colleagues at St. George’s and look forward to working collaboratively with them over the coming year. The only criticism I would have is the doubt about the breathing techniques faces, etc., but maybe that’s to get me out of my ‘comfort zone’?!
Thanks for the time
P.S. I’m glad I was required to attend! Best of luck to you!
In the last 3 days I have had the opportunity to show my colleagues what they already view about me -- the bouncing young Tigger but also that I can be a caring and thoughtful individual. -- Something that many of them possibly did not know.
I also suspect that by next year the drawbridge between St James and AM wings will have been
open for so long it will have faded from memory.
What a completely remarkable few days -- how you have the emotional energy to do this I cannot comprehend, but the power that you unleash I am sure can never be bottled. What an immense contribution you must have made to so many peoples’ happiness and fulfillment.
I very much look forward to an opportunity to learn with you again.
Have a safe journey home.
Thanks for organising a good set of days and the personal commitment you’ve brought to this plus the humour.
This is an important time for St. G. and something I’ve found personally quite refreshing and energising.
Have safe journeys home and see you again.
I’m exhausted! I want to go home and sleep all weekend. But it’s a nice kind of exhaustion because I’ve learnt lots of things about myself and about others. Just about managed not to cry during the session this morning but lots of tears
Not only will I look at the people who were on the course differently, but I will also think about others I come into contact with and that they might have different backgrounds to the one I’ve assumed
I am going to make sure that I actively listen to people, especially those who bug me and repeat things incessantly. Perhaps they’re trying to tell me something
I’m going to add a new section into any piece of work I do, stating everybody who’s been involved in formulating it. And if no one else has been involved, I will start again
I will review all the things on my “want to do” list and make sure I am doing lots of them
Thank you very much for the wonderful 3 days. This has pulled together all of the bits of leadership courses that I have attended over the years -- refreshed my memory, reinvigorated me and taught me some things about my style that is less than useful to the team.
I found all the exercises very useful -- especially the one on the first day being in competition and then followed by the soil, rain, slope etc. exercise. It would be good to reflect after the exercises whether we see some of the behaviours shown in the exercise in ourselves and our own behaviour in the workplace and life
I agree with you that having a broad range of people from throughout the organisation was important -- not just the top team
Thank you for the best leadership course I have ever been to
Call next time you are in the UK & there is always dinner and a bed (if not previously booked by a New Zealander)
P.S. It was great having someone else with a funny accent in the room.
Thank you for the programme. It always moves and strengthens me
It is a privilege to learn so much about colleagues and to be reminded of the passion and commitment that unites in our common purpose at work. It has also been so good to be reminded of the validity of looking after oneself
The various exercises are enhanced not diminished by taking them more than once. I am always impressed with your energy, passion and stamina, Ron. Thank you. I am sure for a number of participants that you have helped relight the lamp of hope.
Thank you very much for all of your hard work
Best wishes
I attended this course with an open mind, but with a degree of cynicism. However your method works, the most important thing gained was the altered relationships with colleagues (who as you know were from diverse areas of the Trust). I hope I will put into practice some of the lessons learnt from group exercises. The vision exercise was probably one of the most challenging things I have undertaken for a while. It was a privilege to spend 3 stimulating days with my colleagues and yourselves
Best wishes
Thank you for being a support. Thank you for allowing me to laugh. Thank you for allowing me to cry. Thank you for teaching me new skills. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to be a real part of a team.
Thank you for enabling me to open my eyes. Thank you for enabling me to listen most intently. Thank you for helping me to realise that it is possible to open my heart.
Thank you for providing me the opportunity to make new friends and to find new sources of support.
Thank you for being such an inspiration to work with and share time with.
Words cannot express how I enjoyed the programme and the positive changes it would have on my employment and my responsibilities. One of the things that I realized was how my staff often feel neglected by me due to my other extensive responsibilities.
My staff were able to call my attention through the 360° exercise. I would of course respond almost immediately to their ‘cries’.
I do hope other NHS Trusts and organisations will find the funding to fund more of your programmes.
Thank you and all the best of luck. Good health, peace and prosperity.