Tricks of the Trade: Tips for Facilitators - Creating a MAGIC® Culture

By Gregg Barratt

Welcome back to our feature just for facilitators - Tricks of the Trade. This feature is designed to provide facilitators with tips on how to win participants over. Send us the questions or topics you would like more information on and I will be glad to respond with some fresh new ways to address your challenges.

A big MAGIC thanks to those of you who contacted me with a variety of “how to” questions since our last newsletter. This month's topics focus around creating a MAGIC culture. Facilitators' names and locations have been changed to ensure anonymity and confidentiality.

Gregg, how can I engage an employee who has a negative attitude/or doesn't want to participate in required training? 
- George from Texas 

Dear George,

Engaging an employee with a negative attitude is a difficult task managers face. I suggest applying what is called the Situational Leadership model by asking yourself these questions:

  1. Are they able to do what is being asked of them? I.e.: do they have the skill set and tools necessary to complete the task, have they attended training?

  2. Are they willing to do what is being asked of them? I.e.: do they have a positive attitude, are they motivated?

  • If someone is willing but not able, training is a good solution.

  • If someone is able but not willing, training is not and will not be helpful.

  • If someone is not able and not willing, there is a good chance this is not the right employee for your organization.

I suggest you first ask the above questions and then explore the basic work expectations set forth for this person. If this is required training and she/he continues to have an attitude issue, putting him/her in a classroom will not help. If the person is continually problematic in a training environment, it is time to involve management.

Good luck!


Gregg, we've been doing MAGIC for quite awhile in our call center but I was recently asked if MAGIC could benefit other areas such as our marketing and accounting areas. I believe you have a face-to-face version of the program. My question is how do you see MAGIC fit into a face-to-face situation like a performance review?
- Cindy from

Dear Cindy,

I am quite passionate about this topic! MAGIC is an excellent fit for all areas of business.

Let me begin by saying I have been both an employee  and  a client at Communico. With that, I will answer your question from the standpoint of what I did with MAGIC when I was the Training Manager at Pitney Bowes.

As a training manager, I used the following five MAGIC steps, specifically, in performance reviews:
  • 1.  Make a connection: The time, environment, greeting, and tone are critical to setting the stage for a productive review. All of this creates an impression right from the start. If your tone is flat and rushed, the employee will feel like you do not care and things could easily spiral downhill.
  • Empathy is crucial in this situation. We all have butterflies in our stomachs when it comes to reviews. Expressing empathy through words and tone show that you care about the individual and his/her development. It will help strengthen the relationship between the two of you.
  • This is a quick snapshot of how I used the five MAGIC steps in the review process as a Training Manager. In addition, using MAGIC reinforced and allowed me to model the training we had implemented organization wide.
  • 2.  Act positively: Tell them you are there to help and that the purpose of the review is to provide feedback to influence future behavior. Ask permission to share your thoughts with them and allow them to share their perspective with you as well. Create a dialogue by being open, willing to listen and courteous (with a sincere and helpful tone).
  • As a manager, I did have the final word; however, the process of acting positively was an important aspect to an effective and productive session.
  • 3.  Get to the heart of the matter: This is where I would really listen and ask questions to make sure I was clear and understood on each of my points. Using TRAGIC phrases here can be very damaging. Can you imagine a statement like, “Well, I am hopeful that you will get a raise” or “Steve, we might be able to see what we could do to keep your job but I am not sure.” I sure wouldn't want to hear those phrases at my next review!
  • 4.  Interpret the facts: In this stage, I would emphasize the use of MAGIC phrases. Setting deadlines and being proactive are key actions at this point, especially if there is any developmental work that needs to be completed. Lastly, I would be sure to summarize my next steps as well as all important aspects of the review.
  • 5.  Close with agreement: While others did not always like what I had to say, I would always ensure that I got agreement on what needed to be done or what had already been accomplished. Using the associate's name and ending with a MAGIC phrase helped me close meetings with a personal touch.
This is a quick snapshot of how I used the five MAGIC steps in the review process as a Training Manager. In addition, using MAGIC reinforced and allowed me to model the training we had implemented organization wide.

Before and After
Before and After
Just one "tragic" contact can influence your customers' perception of your company (and their buying decisions). Listen to the difference MAGIC® can make.