May 2017: Grieving Our Trauma and Loss

In this Issue

Opening Remarks

In this edition of Transforming Challenges, Senior Consultant Tom Reid offers advice on managing the grieving process when faced with trauma or loss.  Senior Consultant John Reid produces a checklist for organizations to ensure a successful transition for new hires.

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

  • Maureen Gallagher has been contracted to continue working with LCWR Region 9 to assist them in forming the Wisconsin Religious Collaborative which will exist to provide consultation, cooperative services and networking to Catholic Religious Institutes in the areas of mission, management, sponsorship and long-range collaborative planning.
  • Rich Shively and John Reid facilitated the second and final retreat in the parish planning process for St. Olaf parish and St. Peter mission in Poulsbo, WA.  A recommended plan from the Futuring Team will be presented to the parish pastoral council in June with implementation to begin in July 2017.
  • 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.  The first two contracts secured by this strategic partnership are a college and a Catholic parish.   If you are interested in this service, contact us at
  • The Reid Group has formed two other strategic partnerships:  with the Steier Group, a capital campaign fundraising firm based in St. Louis that works in many dioceses across the country, and with Luigi Pecoraro, Professional Development Programs which focuses on leadership and organizational development with non-profit and faith-based organizations
  • John Reid and Rich Shively continue their work with Seattle University’s School of Theology and Ministry on an archive project capturing the 50-year history of the School and its predecessor organizations which were formed as a follow-up to Vatican II.  Three receptions are being held in April and May for graduates, current and former faculty and current students to reflect on the impact of theological and ministerial training.

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 nonprofit and small business clients

Grieving Our Trauma and Loss
Tom Reid, Senior Consultant

It is about grief
That I wish to write

About how sometimes
I dance with grief
And we go for walks
Down through the meadow
And into the woods
Where there is space
To cry . . .

And how sometimes
Grief feels like a wave
Slapping me over
Into an undertow
That grabs hold of me
And won’t let go*           

What do you think of when you think of the word grief?  Sorrow?  Pain?  Loss of control?  Or, as a friend of mine says, the journey that none of us wants to take.

We don’t want to take it and, when faced with grief, many of us avoid it in any way possible.  And most of us figure out eventually that there is no way to avoid it—there is no way around it or over it, there is only through it.

Another friend told me recently that if we don’t deal with our grief, we can forget about hope or wholeness—not only for ourselves, but for those around us.  When we allow ourselves to open our wounds, we open ourselves to empathy with the wounds of others experiencing trauma or loss.

It changes you, you know
It changes life
The textures of everything are different
Joy is still there
But different
love is still there
But different*           

It is one thing to commit intellectually to deal with grief, but how do you actually do it?  There are a number of practices that can help:

Keeping a journal or other reflective writing
Grief is ongoing work, and every day brings different feelings.  Writing helps to capture those different feelings and how they affect our lives in the moment:  “I’m sad that . . .” “I’m angry that . . .” “I fear that . . .”

Finding a community of support
The experience of grief can be a lonely and isolating one.  The support of a person or group with whom you can share that experience can open you to new perspectives on your own journey and insight into the journey of others.

Observing rituals
A funeral or memorial service is one example of a ritual practice that aids the grieving process.  Marking anniversaries, holidays and other occasions with special meaning is also a way of dealing with the reality of grief.

This journey that none of us wants to take is one that nevertheless we all will travel at some time in our lives.  We are not taught how to deal with grief—it is on-the-job-training for everyone with an outcome that has the potential to bring us hope and new life.

So grief
You can have your way with me
As I see your stealth mission
Is to open me
To living and loving
More fully*

*From “Grief:  You Can Have Your Way With Me” by Megan Walrod

The Reid Group webinar series

What comes to mind when you hear the word practice?  What are some of the healthy practices that enable you to “reset and refocus?”  What would a menu of healthy practices look like to help you live with less stress and more ease in life and work? 

If any of these questions resonate, mark your calendar for next Reid Group Webinar:

  • Thursday, May 25, 2017
  • 5 pm ET / 4pm CT / 3 pm MT / 2pm PT
  • Host for the Call:  Tom Reid
  • Session Focus: Cultivating Your Field of Practices

At The Reid Group, we are focused on helping leaders and organizations transform challenges into opportunities to create a better world. 

In an engaging and real-world exchange, webinar participants will have the opportunity to:

  • Name the grounding or centering practices that have been or currently are helpful in living a more balanced life
  • Receive powerful, useful information they can incorporate into their daily life
  • Consider healthy practices to develop focus and right action for home, life and work  

Space is limited, so register today.

For our faith-based clients

After the Hire:  A Checklist for a Successful Hire
John Reid, Senior Consultant

“Well-begun is half-done!” 

This adage applies to the process of hiring new leaders for an organization and following up with an orientation process that helps them succeed in the new position, contribute to living out the mission and living into the vision of the organization.

Too often, governing boards and search committees think their job is done when they have hired the new leader.  In fact, their job is only half done.  The second half—orientation and transition—is just as significant as the important decision to hire one highly qualified person from a field of candidates.

In The Reid Group, we have served as the search consultant for many organizations in the last 20 years and have learned key lessons that will make the job of governing boards and search committees easier and more effective.  While the organizations do not have to do all the things on this checklist, it is important for the success of the process that the governing board and search committee ensure that the transition process happens and includes many if not all of the following elements. 

Checklist for the departing leader
The departing leader has an important role to play in ensuring a successful transition by leaving with integrity and lessening the learning curve for the successor.

Identify the tasks they must complete before leaving.

  • Begin a task list for the new leader to consider in the first 30-45 days.
  • Bring appropriate closure to key relationships in the organization.  If some of these relationships are strained or broken, the departing leader has a choice to accept that or, where appropriate, make overtures to heal the relationship.
  • Say thank you and goodbye in as many ways as possible.  This both facilitates the transition of the departing leader and serves the organization well.  When people have a chance to say goodbye, they have more space to say hello to the new leader.

Checklist for the Governing Board or Executive Director

  • Share the traditions, learnings and challenges of the organization.  This sets the stage for conversations on how to honor those traditions, implement the learnings and transform the challenges to new opportunities.
  • Clarify the expectations implicit in the job description.  Answering the questions of what is expected and by when prevents frustration and disappointment in all parties.
  • Provide coaching or other ongoing support for the new leader.

Checklist for the new leader

  • Resist the temptation to make wholesale changes right away.  Rather, the key task will be to listen and learn before acting and responding. 
  • Conduct in-depth sessions with key stakeholders.  The “new kid on the block” can’t presume the trust of those who have a stake in the organization—the trust has to be earned. 
  • After 6-12 months, the new leader should gather the appropriate people to form a new or renewed vision and plan of action for the organization.
  • Practice self-care.  There will be many pressures on new leaders as they navigate the orientation and transition processes outlined above.  In this new environment with a new position and new responsibilities, leaders must be encouraged to make a strong commitment to their own physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.

Finding new leaders and securing their acceptance of the position is the “well-begun” half of the search process.  However, long term success requires careful attention to the orientation and transition work that goes beyond the original “yes.”—this is the second half of a successful hiring process.


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

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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Any part of this newsletter may be reproduced with full attribution.