June 2016: Making Meetings Work

eNews Masthead - Transforming Challenges
In this Issue

Opening Remarks

Are you tired of meetings that drag on too long and accomplish very little?  Rest assured you are not alone.  In this edition of Transforming Challenges, offer some tips on making your meetings work.

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

  • Tom Reid and John Reid have completed the search for the Executive Director of the National Federation of Catholic Youth Ministries. The Search Committee, Board and the finalists all did excellent work. The new Executive Director is Christina Lamas from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Blessings, Christina, on your new ministry!
  • Lucien Roy will be offering two workshops on Workplace Dynamics to teams and departments at St. Louis University.
  • Jim Doyle and Lucien Roy hosted a group of mission leaders from Catholic colleges at St. Francis University in Joliet, IL, discussing strategies for advancing the mission of Catholic colleges and universities. Participants received copies of the Strengthening Catholic Identity series co-authored by The Reid Group and the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities.
  • Maureen Gallagher facilitated Community Days for the Sisters of Mercy of the Holy Cross in Merrill, WI the week of June 6.
  • Maureen Gallagher and John Reid have been hired by the U. S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph to conduct an organizational audit to evaluate current programming, activities, financial resources and staffing.
  • John Reid attended the 40th annual National Association for Lay Ministry conference in Albuquerque the first week in June where he offered a workshop on “Surviving and Thriving in Changing Times.”

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.

The Reid Group teleseminar series

  • Are new people joining your team? 
  • As a leader are you wondering how to bring closure to your current team? 
  • Are you thinking about how to build your new team in creative ways?

You are invited to The Reid Group Teleseminar on High Performing Teams

June 22, 2016
4pm ET / 3pm CT / 2pm MT / 1pm PT

In this interactive teleseminar, we will cover the principles and practices to bring closure to your current team, and offer practical suggestions for welcoming and building your new team.

Space is limited, so register today! 

If there is a topic you would like to see us explore, send your suggestions to info@TheReidGroup.biz.

Feature Focus

Make Your Meetings Work


We’ve all been there: you come out of a two-hour meeting and your only thought is, “That’s two hours of my life I’ll never get back.”

Then there are the meetings that seem to fly by and you come out of them with a sense of accomplishment and time well spent. So, what’s the difference? What is the magic formula for making meetings work?

In our experience, meetings are successful when participants are able to talk about and move to resolution on important issues-that is, to talk about “the heart of the matter.” Our work as facilitators begins with setting the stage for a successful interaction by paying attention to a number of elements:

Leadership style
What is the leadership style of the meeting’s convener? Command and control? Top-down communication to impart information? In our experience, meetings work best when everyone’s voice is heard. When everyone has a chance to give input, the collective wisdom of the group can be applied to the issues at hand.

Meeting preparation
Depending on the complexity of the issues the meeting will address, it can be helpful to conduct a pre-meeting survey. Ask participants what they want to get out of the meeting and what they would like to see included on the agenda.

Meeting environment
The meeting environment involves both the physical space and the psychological space. The seating configuration will have an effect on the degree and quality of meeting participation. There is a greater chance of engaging all of the attendees with seating arranged in a circle or around a table rather than a seminar/classroom setup.

Creating a supportive psychological environment involves setting up what author Patricia Hughes calls “gracious space”-such as welcoming different ideas, “thinking in public” by actively contributing to the discussion, and ensuring an atmosphere where everyone can safely offer their views.

Meeting ground rules
Establishing ground rules such as participation by mutual invitation and no one speaks twice until everyone has spoken helps the facilitator ensure that no one person or group monopolizes the meeting and that everyone has a chance to speak. (See our website for other ground rules for engaging meeting participants in respectful dialogue.)

Time management
Every meeting, whether it’s a regular staff meeting, a retreat or an ad hoc task force, revolves around particular issues. Without management, the discussions on these issues can wander aimlessly or descend into pointless arguments. It is the facilitator’s job to identify the critical issues, enforce the meeting ground rules, and identify those issues that need further conversation at a future meeting.

One of the most important functions of the facilitator is to summarize what the meeting has accomplished: what have we heard, what are the next steps, what could we do better next time? Repeating this information back to the participants reinforces their experience of the learning organization that is constantly evolving.

Successful meetings don’t just happen. But there is no magic formula either, other than investing in a competent facilitator and paying attention to these elements of meeting set-up and execution.


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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