April 2017: Change, Conversion and Planning

In this Issue

Opening Remarks

In this edition of Transforming Challenges, Senior Consultant Maureen Gallagher writes about the challenges of dealing with change in a planning process for our faith-based clients.  Senior Consultant Tom Reid offers our small-business and nonprofit clients his thoughts on cultivating mindfulness in everyday life.

At The Reid Group, we have a passion for helping leaders and organizations transform their challenges into opportunities to create a better world. One of the ways we do that is through this e-letter, Transforming Challenges. Is there someone you know who could benefit from receiving it? Forward this edition to them and encourage them to subscribe for themselves. They’ll thank you—and so do we!

The Reid Group News

  • In celebration of our 20th anniversary year, The Reid Group has created several articles as resources in our areas of service, including:  The Spirituality of Planning, Six Steps to a Successful Planning Process, Self Care of the Minister, and The Power of Dialogue.  We will be posting these on our web site in the next few weeks, and if you would like to receive a copy, send us an e-mail at info@TheReidGroup.biz.
  • Maureen Gallagher facilitated a meeting for the Heartland region of the Sisters of St. Joseph on the future of the Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph in LaGrange IL, and will facilitate a second meeting of the Lakes region in Rochester NY on May 3.  John Reid is facilitating a meeting of the Atlantic region on Long Island on April 25, and the Pacific region in Los Angeles on May 17.
  • John Reid has been hired to facilitate a Mission Hospital board retreat on governance and related issues in the changing environment of health care May  19-21 in Mission Viejo, CA.
  • Maureen Gallagher facilitated part of the Region 9 LCWR meeting focusing on intercommunity collaboration on April 4 in Milwaukee.
  • The Reid Group has formed a strategic partnership with Tryon Clear View Group, a cost reduction company that specializes in Purchase Services Audits where they identify, verify and recover billing errors, vendor overcharges which are refundable to organizations.  They then secure these reimbursements from the vendors.  In addition to telecommunication, copiers, waste management and utilities charges, they also audit postal services and credit card processing. The only fee paid by the client is a percentage of the actual savings.  If you are interested in this service, contact us at info@TheReidGroup.biz.
  • The Reid Group has entered into a strategic partnership with Joseph Sankovich & Associates to serve Catholic dioceses around the country in the area of cemetery services.

So as you look at your individual or organizational future, what are your challenges? Could you benefit from skilled support? Give us a call at 206-432-3565 or send us an e-mail to start transforming those challenges into opportunities.

For our faith-based clients

Change, Conversion and Planning
Maureen Gallagher, Senior Consultant

Successful planning has an innate communal and moral dimension. The “People of God” plan by removing obstacles—and opening doors—so the Spirit can be creative as the animator of evolving change.

Much of planning deals with “conversion”—seeing with new eyes, understanding different perspectives, and hoping for a better future.  When we recognize the pain and distress some of our actions, both individual and communal, have had on others and see things differently, we become more willing to let go of things for the sake of the common good.  In the painful process of letting go of cherished practices, buildings and relationships, we get out of the way and allow the reign of God to be more apparent and a reason for our hope in a better future.

According to Jurgen Moltmann, hope and planning are interwoven.  “Unless hope has been roused and is alive there can be no stimulation for planning.  Without specific goals towards which hope is directed, there can be no decision about the possibilities of planning; but without planning there is no realistic hope.”  He goes on to say that both hope and planning have their foundation in suffering and in dissatisfaction with the present.  Suffering is part of giving up what may be good for us, comfortable for us, pleasurable to us, for the sake of another, for the sake of the common good, the larger world.  The Life-Death-Resurrection of Jesus gives us hope for the evolving future and beckons us to align our sufferings with his.  His Paschal Mystery is an anchor for us and brings meaning and motivation to let go of some things or practices for the sake of others.  When we have to let go of something we cherish—a worship site, a “motherhouse,” or a school—despite the sadness, there is a greater chance that we will see glimmers of hope and new life if we have been involved in the process.  Planning as a community will help us get through the desert or tough times.

Acknowledging pain and suffering is important to holistic planning and can be the catalyst for helping groups move forward, after they have expressed gratitude and appreciation for all that has been.  Dealing well with pain and loss can lead to conversion and help us recognize the evolving Spirit in the world.  Sharing in a communal context is vital to enabling a group to deepen relationships and move forward.  The “gratitude-pain” connection mirrors the “life-death-new life” pattern that penetrates our lives and can give us hope for the future.  It patterns the Paschal Mystery, Jesus’ life-death-resurrection.

Planning involves change, and often “dying” or losing something of great value, such as restructuring staffs, closing parishes or schools or helping religious communities come to completion.  Given the energy which flows from expressing appreciation, planning groups gain momentum to take risks, deal with loss and to move forward into the unknown with a sense of confidence that the evolving Spirit of God is in all of this.  Given appropriate time and reflection many individuals and groups will be able to come to a sense of gratitude for pain and suffering, even though it reflects the loss of something precious.  They begin to see that what they have been through has led them to deeper understandings of and responses to the realities of life.  Suffering and pain often lead groups to see their decisions in light of the moral mandates of the Gospel.

There are both “ah-ha” moments and discouraging moments in the planning process. When planners really grapple with important issues and share insights, hopes and dreams, as well as fears and concerns—this is where the Spirit is alive and “molding” the group with a vision for the future. Ownership for the plan develops through the “give and take” of the planning group as it seeks clarifications, compromises and shared responsibility.   Yes, there will be down times, confusing times, conflictual times, challenging times, pain and suffering, moments when good ideas die, but these will be interspersed with hope-filled and joyful points of convergence where hard decisions lead ultimately to new life —the Paschal Mystery in action.

The Reid Group webinar series

What comes to mind when you hear the word mindfulness?  How are you dealing with the distractions, stresses and tensions of life in 2017?  What are some of the healthy practices that enable you to live with more attention in the present moment?  

If these questions interest you, mark your calendar for The Reid Group Webinar on Mindful Living Practices.  

  • Thursday, April 27, 2017
  • 5 pm ET / 4pm CT / 3 pm MT / 2pm PT
  • Session Focus: Mindful Living Practices

In an engaging and practical experience, webinar participants will have the opportunity to:

  • Break open understandings of mindfulness
  • Name the distractions, stresses and tensions impacting us
  • Consider healthy practices to develop focus and right action

  To register for this webinar, simply click here.

For our small business and nonprofit clients

Living Mindfully
Tom Reid, Senior Consultant

Mindfulness has been “discovered.”

From psychology to education to medicine, professionals in any number of fields have embraced and prescribed the practice of mindfulness.  Business consultants coach C-suite executives on mindfulness techniques.  Prison officials institute it as a regular practice among inmates.  With the proliferation of mindfulness workshops and coaches, however, there is an equal number of different descriptions and definitions of it.

For many, mindfulness is just another term for meditation.  While both are practices of focusing attention, mindfulness carries the practice of paying attention to the present moment into day-to-day life.  Or, as practitioner Jon Kabat-Zinn puts it, mindfulness is paying attention on purpose in a non-judgmental way.

Breathing techniques are central to meditation and mindfulness.  “Befriending the breath” is a way of describing the process of focusing on the actions of breathing in and breathing out.  Concentrating on an involuntary activity like breathing—something that happens whether we’re thinking of it or not—focuses attention on the present moment, on what we are doing right now, and doesn’t leave room for “what might happen next” or “what happened yesterday.”  When you “take a breath,” you slow yourself down and short-circuit any knee-jerk reactions to external stimuli.

Psychiatrist Victor Frankl said, “Between stimulus and response there is a space.  In that space is our power to choose our response.”  Focusing on the breath gives you that space and enables you to become more response-able—able to respond rather than merely react.

The next time you are faced with a difficult or stressful situation, focus on your breathing to bring yourself back to awareness of what is happening with all dimensions of you—body, mind and emotions.  Out of that awareness, choose your response.  That’s mindfulness.

People who practice mindfulness experience many benefits:

  • Relaxation
  • A sense of perspective
  • Capacity to make choices, moving from reaction to response
  • Sustained and focused attention
  • Greater compassion
  • Increased sense of peace and well-being, decreased level of tension and stress
  • Greater feeling of compassion for self and others

Mindfulness carries the practice of paying attention into the world beyond the time and space of your meditation sessions.  It is the integration of loving attention with the happenings of everyday life.


The Art of Change: Faith, Vision and Prophetic Planning

Think about what your organization could do if the process of planning met the inevitability of change head-on—and it resulted in significant success.

bookcoverweb2Organizations large and small, religious and secular, for-profit and not-for-profit, successful and unsuccessful, go through change. John Reid and Maureen Gallagher of the Reid Group have been instrumental in helping many groups discover the power of Prophetic Planning. This book presents a complete overview with detailed information that any organization will find useful in understanding how to plan for change.

The Art of Change: Faith, Vision and Prophetic Planning, and its companion CD are now available from Liguori Publications as well as from Amazon.com.

And that’s it for this month. Look for Transforming Challenges next month–and until then, have a good day and a great week.  Kathy Johnson, Editor, Transforming Challenges
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