May 2012: Engage People in the Planning Process, Part 2

In this Issue

Opening Remarks

Many planning processes stall because those who could be affected aren’t involved in the process itself. Last month, Senior Consultant Maureen Gallagher offered five tips for keeping people engaged and energized.  In this edition of Transforming Challenges, Maureen  offers five more. And Senior Consultant John Reid begins a series on one of The Reid Group’s leadership development approaches:  the 8 Faces of Leadership.

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 are conducting an administrative review for the Diocese of Victoria, B.C. They have submitted their consultant findings and short- and long-term recommendations for the administrative review of the pastoral center. Feedback will be gathered in May and the final report and recommendtaions will be delivered by June 1. Bishop Richard Gagnon will make his final decisions in time for implementation to begin in July 2012.
  • Maureen Gallagher and John Reid are working with the Mercy Sisters, West Midwest Province (Detroit, Chicago, Cedar Rapids, Omaha, Burlingame and Auburn, CA) to facilitate their April 2013 Assembly in Chicago. Maureen and John will participate in the Mercy West Midwest gathering in Chicago June 22-25 as a first step in preparation for the Assembly.
  • John Reid and Sue Secker have been hired by Providence Southwest WA at St. Peter Hospital in Olympia to search for a Director of Pastoral Care. The deadline is May 21; contact John Reid if you are interested.
  • Lucien Roy is in Stockton, CA to make a presentation to Bishop Blair and the presbyterate at a priest convocation. Lucien will help convocation participants reflect on and beginning planning for the decline in the number of active priests.
  • The Reid Group will be on our annual retreat August 6-9. We are pleased to be holding our retreat at a new retreat center in Copalis, WA–run by our very own Carol Guenther–called Sursum Corda. For more information on the retreat center, visit

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 ane-mail to start transforming those challenges into opportunities.

Quotes for Inspiration and Action

Until the great mass of the people shall be filled with the sense of responsibility for each other’s welfare, social justice can never be attained.
Helen Keller

Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action.
Peter Drucker

Reinventing the wheel is sometimes the right thing, when the result is the radial tire.
Jonathan Gilbert

Perseverance is failing 19 times and succeeding the 20th.
Julie Andrews

Success means doing the best we can with what we have. Success is the doing, not the getting; in the trying, not the triumph. Success is a personal standard, reaching for the highest that is in us, becoming all that we can be.
Zig Ziglar

Do not think that love in order to be genuine has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired. Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.
Mother Teresa

Feature Focus

Engaging People in a Planning Process, Part 2


Maureen Gallagher, Senior Consultant,
The Reid Group

Planning can be an energizing process if the people who will be affected by the plan are part of the planning process. Last month, we offered five tips for keeping people engaged in various and innovative ways stimulates creativity and enhances the chances that the plan will actually be implemented. This month we’re offering five more.
Memory-sharing and Storytelling 
Building on memories and sharing stories are good ways to engage people in the planning process. Stories often add humor as well as seriousness to planning. They help planners know and respect the values of the people who created parishes, schools, religious communities and other organizations. We return to the past not to recreate “the good old days,” but to honor those who have gone before us and the great sacrifices they made for those whom they served. We are energized by those who went before us and made a difference.

Identifying the “elephants in the room” 
The “elephants” are often something people dread or hesitate to speak about. For instance, everyone on a tri-parish planning team might “know” that all three parishes cannot survive because of changing demographics, but no one wants to bring the subject up. Once it is brought to the table, creative solutions can be sought. A lot of unneeded anxiety can be avoided by surfacing what needs to be addressed. Too much energy is often wasted on avoidance.

Using geography 
Using geography refers to getting people out of their seats showing where they stand on a continuum of preferences. For instance, one may want the whole group to see where people stand on a “change continuum” with those who love change at one end and those who resist it with a vengeance at the other end. There are no “right” places on the continuum and good discussions often follow as people describe where they are on the line. Continuums can also be used for showing preferences for various decisions or models. Circles can be used to have people take an opposite tact than what they are currently espousing. Standing on one side they can argue for the value of certain points. When they are asked to take the opposite point of view they move to the other side of the circle, etc.

Ritualizing good times and bad 
Rituals have power to heal and to energize. Celebrating the end of a planning phase with a meal together points to the bonding that is happening, the energy that is generated and the future that is hoped for. Sharing artifacts, lighting candles, blessing with water, anointing with oil, “burning the old” are all deeply held Christian symbols that help identify communities of faith and help heal the losses and the hurts. Many non-profits also employ rituals to enhance their planning journeys.

In all planning processes, there is the need to prioritize. All possible strategies are not of equal value. Sometimes some things must happen before others. To avoid loading too many action steps on the first year of a plan, prioritize. One way to do this, or at least to begin the discussion is to use “dot stickers.” If there are ten things which need to be ranked, give each participant 3-5 dotes to put on the items they think are most critical. Add the dots per item and initiate a discussion based on which items got the most dots and consequently mat be considered a priority.


The Abundant Community: Awakening the Power of Families and Neighborhoods
John McKnight, Peter Block

We need our neighbors and community to stay healthy, produce jobs, raise our children, and care for those on the margin. Institutions and professional services have reached their limit of their ability to help us. The consumer society tells us that we are insufficient and that we must purchase what we need from specialists and systems outside the community. We have become consumers and clients, not citizens and neighbors. John McKnight and Peter Block show that we have the capacity to find real and sustainable satisfaction right in our neighborhood and community. This book reports on voluntary, self-organizing structures that focus on gifts and value hospitality, the welcoming of strangers. It shows how to reweave our social fabric, especially in our neighborhoods. In this way we collectively have enough to create a future that works for all.

The Power of Pause
Terry Hershey

Terry Hershey, a popular author and retreat leader, understands that slowing down is difficult when you live in a fast-forward world. However, he also knows from personal experience that there is always a price to pay if we don’t regularly take time simply to pause—to cease activity, to treasure quiet time, and to discern the deep meaning of life’s little moments.

In The Power of Pause, Hershey uses powerful stories and meditations, inspiring quotes, and a specific call to action at the end of each chapter to help us understand the profound value of slowing down in our daily lives and taking time for the truly important things. Over the course of 52 brief chapters, we learn how to take back the life God always intended for us to have by letting go of the things that keep getting in our way.

The Great Reset: How the Post-Crash Economy Will Change the Way We Live and Work 
Richard Florida

We’ve weathered tough times before. History teaches us that periods of “creative destruction,” like the Great Depression of the 1930s, also present opportunities to remake our economy and society and to generate whole new eras of economic growth and prosperity. In The Great Reset, bestselling author and economic development expert Richard Florida provides an engaging and sweeping examination of these previous economic epochs, or “resets,” while looking toward the future to identify the patterns that will drive the next Great Reset and transform virtually every aspect of our lives. He distills the deep forces that alter physical and social landscapes—how and where we live, how we work, how we invest in individuals and infrastructure, how we shape our cities and regions—and shows the ways in which these forces, when combined, will spur a fresh era of growth and prosperity, define a new geography of progress, and create surprising opportunities for all of us.

Feature 2


The 8 Faces of Leadership

One of The Reid Group’s leadership development programs is an approach we call 8 Faces of Leadership.  Over the next few months, we will provide an overview of each Face, starting with You as a Leader.

There are many different perspectives on leadership; here are eight voices that talk about key characteristics of credible leaders:

Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.
Drucker & Bennis

Leadership is always dependent on the context, but the context is established by the relationships we value.  We cannot hope to influence any situation without  respect for the complex network of people who contribute to our organizations.
Margaret Wheatley

You cannot manage people into battle.  You manage things; you lead people. 
Admiral Grace Hopper

Transformational leaders lead from a foundation of values.  They value the ethic of care, interdependence, empowerment, diversity and social justice.
Bev Forbes

Leadership is the behavior of an individual when directing the activities of a group toward a shared goal.
Hemphill & Coons

Leadership means to facilitate – to enable others to make their contributions while simultaneously making one’s own. . . Leadership often means nudging people from behind rather than leading them from somewhere ahead.
Anne Wilson Schaef

Eighty percent of success is showing up.
Woody Allen

True leadership begins with the willingness to be someone other than who the world wants you to be.
Janet Hagberg

What these different voices have in common is the focus on the importance of:

  • building strong relationships
  • prioritizing your actions
  • leading from a foundation of values
  • directing groups toward a shared goal
  • nudging people from behind
  • showing up

It is exciting work to help leaders grow in their understanding and appreciation of the different faces of leadership while developing competence and confidence in their ability to be successful leaders working toward a common goal.  Which face of leadership are you most confident of?  Which one needs development?



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.

Organizations 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


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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