Stories from our Graduates

From time to time Boot Camp Graduates are willing to share their story and their feedback; how the Boot Camp impacted their businesses and/or their lives.

Below, you’ll find a few of these stories…

SongTradr Post Course Interview

Rocinante Post Course Interview

I was not sure what to expect after being asked to attend a seven day 7am until 10pm “Black belt in thinking” course at the top remote mountain in New Zealand (given that I am from the UK).  I found the course itself ranged from easy to difficult on the mind and body.  What didn’t make sense one day (which sometimes left me questioning my own sanity) became clear later on during the training and of course the reason for how the training was conducted.

About three-quarters of the way through the week I suddenly had a “The Matrix” moment where everything clicked into place and all of a sudden I felt I had the ability to filter incoming information 10 times quicker than I could do beforehand.  At the end of the week, adding this to the other tools, methods of thinking and problem solving I felt like a new person.

Putting all this into practice back at the office is a wonderful experience.  The training has made for much easier interaction with other departments, individuals and overcome the difficulties specifically when dealing with contentious subjects or meetings that ramble on (which are now a thing of the past).

I am a total convert to this way of working.  My only regret was not undertaking this style of course many years ago.

To all the team at ViAGO – thank you

David Rollason

WiseTech Global

Over a month has passed since completing the BBIT course and the thrill from the experience has not faded.

I especially enjoyed challenging my brain and body to learn and operate at a higher level and under a certain amount of stress.

The Thinking Process tools we learned over the 8 full days and nights were detailed, well-structured and insightful. The practical examples you use of the behaviour shaping performance management tools make it easy to comprehend and apply in my personal and work life.

The two huge take home volumes of course material plus the workshop examples I have retained make it easy to replicate and use the TP tools in my workplace and I look forward to using them even more often to become proficient.

The fact that you compress 14 days of normal learning into the 8 days and nights is very helpful as I find it hard to block out a full two weeks of my life for training no matter what the benefit.

Of real help to me was the fact that you had up to 6 “presenters” on the course who walked around and guided us when needed during the many practical workshops that take place, there was always someone who I could connect with to explain one on one the various concepts I may have struggled with.

There were many likeminded attendees from all over the world on the course which made teamwork enjoyable, the facilities, accommodation and meals were all great.

To summarise the “no nonsense” BBIT has been the most challenging, enjoyable and useful short course I have attended, sure it required me to put in a lot, but the more you put in the more you get back out.

Grant Draper

Financial Controller, Mainfreight

The Black Belt in Thinking course is like nothing else I’d ever experienced. I had asked the other teammates here in the US for any pointers they may have, and I tried to get ready accordingly, but it definitely wasn’t enough to prepare my mind for the impending onslaught.

We started the course knowing that the last day would involve an end-to-end analysis. On the first day it seemed like this was an impossible goal, as we had two rather large binders full of course material to complete; however, when I woke up on the last day, I knew we were all ready to take the bull by the horns.

James’s teaching style turned out to be exactly what worked for me, and he and Bryce were quite helpful when I hit my various stumbling blocks. I am extremely thankful for this, as I felt I was able to come home with a priceless set of tools that have vastly improved my ability to think and communicate effectively.

I have been able to put the results of my analysis to my team’s day to day operations, and I’ve noticed a tremendous improvement in our ability to get things done. I’ve also noticed that I’ve developed the strange ability to arrange conflicts into clouds in my head, and I have noticed how silly a lot of my pre-boot camp thought processes were.

All in all, I loved everything about the course – the food, the facilities, the content, the ViAGO team members, everything. It was definitely a challenging course, but it was extremely rewarding and fun.


Andy Klinko

WiseTech Global

Please pass on my sincerest thanks to James and Bryce for the Black Belt In Thinking course I recently attended.

I was totally blown away by the course and day after day couldn’t believe where the hours went. Even though the days were long I was kept totally engaged. It was one huge learning experience and I feel that the course was only the start and that there is more (and better) yet to come from using the tools on a regular basis.

I can honestly say it was the best course I have ever attended, and I’m really looking forward to using the tools in the future. It is very obvious that they will help me both in my work and personal life.

Thanks again to James and Bryce for all their hard work (and especially their patience!!!!).

Kevin Flint

General Manager, Oasis Engineering Ltd

I would like to thank you for providing us this learning experience of a lifetime. I can confidently say that the Black Belt in Thinking course is one of the best things that I’ve done in my life in terms of personal development (and I’ve done plenty of post-graduate studies and courses).

What I like most is that the course gives you the tools to step back and identify the core problem in any situation and to find highly creative solutions in a systematic way. Prior to attending the Boot Camp I used to think that creative problem-solving can only happen occasionally, however I now know exactly how to apply deep creativity to any problem. I have already applied it to a number of situations in business successfully, and I am only just getting started.

I found that the boot camp style of the course was great for getting deep into the content without any distractions for several days in a row – something that can rarely happen in everyday life. It also worked as a team-building exercise – I don’t think any of us will forget those crazy, emotionally-charged and fun days anytime soon!

Words cannot express how valuable the Boot Camp is – it will continue to bring benefits for years to come. Once again, big thank you to you and the team!

Kate Malov

The Black Belt in Thinking course is a big investment in money and time. But what value it turned out to be. Being locked away for 8 straight days with the sole focus of using a new set of tools to solve your business’s problem, is a necessity that feels like a luxury.

Many times in business, we can’t see the wood for the trees. We know there are problems there and if they were easy to fix, we would have done it already.

So the first step is to really, truly understand what the problems are, and how they interact with each other. And the result will scare the hell out of you! It will also explain why all the stuff you’ve been trying for years never seems to fix the problems permanently.

Once you understand that the problems are interconnected and unsolvable, the next level of tools enables you to solve them. You will come up with solutions that you know will work, because you understand the problems properly. You will also understand why implementing these solutions is essential for moving forward. You will have no excuses and all the motivation you need.

Of course then you need to bring the team back at work on board. There are tools for that too. And because you can now communicate the cause of all their troubles to them, they will know you understand what they have to put up with every day.

We all know that we are supposed to work “on” our business more than we do. The BBIT course is the perfect opportunity to fast-track this process. I thoroughly recommend the course and have enrolled to do a second one, so that I can use the tools faster and benefit my clients.

Graham Scott

Owner, GW Scott & Associates Ltd

The course was amazing, since completing the Boot Camp I have found many practical applications for the skills I learned within it, and wish I had had the opportunity to learn this material a long time ago.

The Boot Camp gives a systematic process for finding options and for effectively implementing these options in any situation.

Since completing the course I have used these tools to effectively resolve numerous conflicts and  develop solutions for situations which would have previously left me confounded, just knowing that there are options has made me feel much more empowered in business.

The Boot Camp has opened my eyes to the whole of system concept, and lets me chose where in the system to focus my efforts, so that I am more effective in my role as a Manager.

James’ and Bryce’s enthusiasm for their work is transferred in the course delivery which is amazing, it is a very positive environment that is fun and enjoyable to participate in, the structure is designed to support learning through developing fluency in using the tools, and repeatedly reinforcing to the participants how the tools can be used to identify workable solutions for the most difficult of cases.

As facilitators James and Bryce were supportive and took the time to make sure that the participants of the course each individually achieved understanding of the course material, in my case aiding me to achieve a breakthrough in my own understanding and use of language.

I highly recommend the course and am pleased to say that I can demonstrate how it has improved my abilities as a manager.

Lael Meredith

General Manager, The Peoples Centre Trust

I am all rested and have used only my cloud tool and sadly very little else but found [that in] the meeting with James and Richard, I could totally follow their language… it was like having a candle to look at your room and now someone installed a light bulb… More things I notice and in more details… Thanks to BBIT.

Tammy Hamawi

WiseTech Global

I would just like to thank everyone who played a part in my BBIT journey…

We flew 11,554 km with exited anticipation and I can even say nervous tension, this course was meant to bend your brain into shape and this was daunting.

We received a warm welcome at the hotel, this place is stunning beyond words.  We met the trainers the next morning bright and early.  Peter and Bryce where awesome even when tensions ran high with all the brain bending they managed to keep their cool and calmly directed each person to get their own correct solution.

I will not lie the first few days where intense but the days did not feel long at all, each day flew by and even with the long hours I never lost concentration.  Every aspect of the boot camp is planned into a fine art of learning, shaping and problem solving.  The phycology and human study that has gone into every single part of this boot camp blew my mind.

BBIT will greatly benefit my company through the value I hope to add, and in essence I plan to use it in my personal life too.

I was so tired after the camp, my mind was so stretched, but there was no way my energised mind could be switched off.  I was so excited that we had problems to solve and I held the tools in my hand.  I know I am now a better version of me, my new zest for problem solving can be seen in everything I do and I am pumped for the future.

Thank you again and all the best for your future courses

Drizel Holtzhausen

WiseTech Global

Thank you again for the BBiT experience. I truly believe I’ve participated not a moment too soon. Had it not been for the training and tools received in Katoomba with you guys, I would not have been able to return to work and cope as seamlessly with some key staffing changes, a surge in project work / communications, and other personal stresses that happened while I was out. BBiT TP’s helped me cut out the ‘white noise’ that would otherwise have distracted me from investing my time wisely and hitting the most important challenges at work and delivering the highest impact.

Jennifer Killian

WiseTech Global

I just wanted to take a few minutes to thank you for the well delivered bootcamp for Black Belt in Thinking in February.

I found the course very useful – especially with our corporate goal to follow many of the principles that are in the course. It was truly a good use of 8 days – which initially I was thinking would be far too long for such a course but I quickly saw that there wouldn’t be much time to spare !

Having studied many of the course components in different ways over the years, it was nice to consolidate them into a structured set of tools.  The  thought process, clear terminology, relevant case studies, and effective course delivery (good combination of fast & slow!) made it a tiring yet extremely rewarding experience – importantly this is already having a positive impact on our daily business letting us get down to the real conflicts to ensure that we solve the real problems.  One of the most useful techniques is the structured listening to achieve win-win outcomes, as a group of like-minded sales managers will rarely listen to each other fully without interrupting so that he been a real gem !

So as the course progressed & time was flying by, both myself and the others appreciated the attention of the trainers and the relevance of the course material to the CargoWise mission.

Thanks again!

Simon Clark

WiseTech Global

I wanted to take the time to thank you for the Boot Camp.  I have attended many many courses over the years and can honestly say that your course is the most valuable I have ever attended.

Andrew and I learnt a great deal over the 8 big days.  Like how to take seemingly intractable problems and systematically develop workable solutions – and take the people involved in the implementation with you!  The value of properly organising collective thoughts to develop solutions to a specific situation, rather than be given a canned solution, is immense.

Just a few other random thoughts about the  workshop: it was extremely well run, whilst the days were big the time flew and was well used, Bryce and yourself provided great support and guidance as we worked through the material, the choice of exercises was spot on to help aid the learning and fluency, we have lots of takeaway material to refer back to, we had lots of fun with the other ‘students’, it was a great bunch of people and it was just fantastic to hear how Richard found the Thinking Processes instrumental in igniting and maintaining the continued development of breakthrough solutions for his company.  What a wild ride he is on!

Anyway I could go on James.  But most importantly I wanted to say thanks for the opportunity to join with you, your team and your clients for a great experience.  I hope that we can do you guys justice by using, and helping others to use, the tools to great effect.

P.G. (Jimmy) Conway

Principal, Free Flow Partners

I have been back in the UK for about three weeks now since completing the Black Belt in Thinking and now that I have “settled in” again, I’d like to share my experiences of the course.

First, the venue was beautiful and the facilities, service and welcome at the hotel were all first class! Especially the food, please warn future delegates to bring larger waist bands!

My BBIT graduate colleagues had warned me prior to the course that it would be intensive, mentally exhausting and emotional. I would have to agree that after the first two days my head was really hurting; the course covers a fair number of tools, all of which require you to use one side of your brain or the other and you do dedicate a large proportion of your day focusing on thinking – both individually and as a team. At the end of the 8 days, the pain was replaced by a numbness which made a 25 hour flight home seem like a holiday! However, between those extremes, I developed an intuition and feel for the tools which gave me a tantalising glimpse of how seemingly irresolvable issues can just evaporate into thin air.

I really enjoyed being able to switch from one side of my brain to the other to use logic and creativity to analyse and resolve work issues; some people are better at one rather than the other which made team working so much more important. I would say that individually most people would be familiar with each of the tools but combined they can create some powerful and surprising outcomes.

Having graduates on the course really assisted my thinking processes, sometimes I found that just my own terminology was obstructing me from seeing the real issue and filtering down to the core effect was often quite challenging. The graduate facilitators helped a lot to unravel the mists. As I mentioned before there were a couple of quite magical moments when the issues simply evaporated off the page because my understanding of the situation had been improved by using the tools or by recognising that a solution was already in place. Happily, we had a similar situation with a project we were looking at after I returned to work.

James is one of the most engaging and effective trainers I have ever met. The delivery was varied, responsive, focussed but also relaxed and informal.  To spend eight solid days with someone and not get bored of the sound of his voice is indeed a measure of his skill.

Three weeks on, the legacy of the BBIT is that I am much quicker to recognise the negative effects of a larger plan, I can differentiate between the ones which may require additional responses and the ones which will actually drive the required solution. I am now confident that there is a solution to any problem if you can turn your mind to it which is very liberating and spawns “interesting challenges” out of adversity.   I am so much more conscious of separating my thinking from my doing – the doing is easy when the necessary thinking has come first and is much more effective. It still feels a little bit clunky using all the tools together but I will continue to augment the ones I am comfortable with those that I am not.

My observations are that it is difficult to talk about the tools specifically with people who have not been on the course because there is almost a mystical quality about how they can be used to solve deep rooted problems – how do you explain the magic of a wand?

The tools allow you to break the emotions and beliefs which bind a negative situation and with that backdrop, there is a challenge and a skill in building new emotions and beliefs to sustain a more positive result.

The less responsible or knowledgeable you are about the issue you are facing, the more important it is to include others to widen your understanding.

All said, it was valuable and useful course and I would wholeheartedly recommend it.

Linda Rhodes

WiseTech Global

I would like to thank you for the Black Belt in Thinking course that I just recently completed.

It was a great program with great material and professionally run by Bryce and yourself.

I enjoyed the quiet location and the company of the other students as we worked through the material sharing a common goal of improving our skill sets.

I have attended many courses and I consider myself an experienced business man, but I found the material and the process learned so practical I started planning at nights in my room during the course and on the plane home.

As a result in the 2 weeks since I completed the course my team and I have already implemented many new things at work, including a second shift.

Now I feel like I have the skills to tackle any challenge my life or my business throws at me and also more ability to teach my team the logic behind the actions required.

Thanks to Andrew Cranwell for recommending it to me and thanks to ViAGO and to you for running the program.

I am now a better more capable person.

Aidan Kavanagh

Managing Director, Kavanagh Industries

Thank you for putting together this awesome 8 day course. It was intense, but very fun and worthwhile!

We all learnt much during the course, and the thinking processes enabled us to generate deep insights into our existing business problems, as well as helping us to come up with some excellent ideas that are sure going to take our business to the next level. All these happened during the workshop and so we not only learnt the tools, but took away a bunch of useful things to implement.

We’ve also learnt to communicate better with each other and to always think of win win scenarios when we encounter conflicts. I have personally applied the cloud to several conflicts already after the course, and it’s been a great tool to arrive at outcomes that satisfies everyone’s need.

We’ll sure be sending the next batch of our managers to the course, and look forward to speaking in TP (Thinking Process) terms to them all after the course.

Henry Ye

WiseTech Global

Raymond and I attended the Black Belt Thinking course in November 2012.

It is fair to say that this was the most intensive and demanding course I have ever attended. Most courses I have attended have not necessarily resulted in a lot of change for me personally or my company, but this one did. Because you designed the course to have the practical application for our own business, the key issues and possible injections become evident on day 3. Recently we made the difficult but necessary decision to restructure our firm in order to help us achieve our key objectives and eliminate the many undesirable effects we were experiencing. We expect to see some significant benefits within three months of implementing this injection.

I found the concept of Conflict Clouds fascinating and have been able to use this tool in both personal situations and working with our clients.

The course material is excellent and the course extremely well run and structured. Peter and yourself provided great support and the food was top notch as well! I would have no hesitation in recommending this course to anyone who wants to do some serious learning with practical application.

Michael Humphries

Owner, Humphries & Associates

I would like to thank you for the opportunity to be involved in the [Boot Camp] last week; it was a very powerful experience and a great group of people, if not a little humbling.

I have had some insights since being able to have a little quiet time, always good, somewhat like the rebuilding of a vitalised lump of grey matter.

David Pring

Owner, Post Form Laminating

I wanted to take the time and thank you both for the Boot Camp. I’d say we had a very enthusiastic and supportive team, great materials to support the course, with everything done in a terrific and still location.

I must mention I started with some doubts, thinking that the time spent on site is not going to be well spent or that I may not cope with the insane schedule etc. So I had my filter on.

And for the first day I thought “Boy was I correct?!”. By the second day though, things started to change, at least I thought that everything started to fall into places. Then the third day, everything became a blur again, melting brain feeling, and so on until the fourth day where actually the self created “mist” cleared, this time permanently.

I can only describe the Black Belt in Thinking Boot Camp experience as a very intense roller coaster for the brain, getting anyone dazed, dizzy, but by the end…nirvana. I ended up with more clear thinking but also with fluency in a set of tools that support the thinking process, mechanisms that may help me with finding breakthrough solutions to invigorate the company and communication (be that personal or professional). A breakthrough on its own.

Marius Ionel Toma

WiseTech Global

Black Belt in Thinking provides clarity on life’s problems. Deep down there are these natural assumptions that some problems can never be solved. BBIT unlocks you from these thoughts and lets you tackle unsolvable problems logically.

BBIT systematically and robustly designs solutions that can be implemented straight away.

The course methodically works through the content to competency and the content is fully supported with plenty of supporting documents, material and examples.

Attendees have fun, meet new people and listen to stories that are easily relatable.

You sit down, strap yourself in and hop onto a wild ride of fixing what used to be the unfixable.

Alexander Eagles

WiseTech Global