April 2012: Engage People in the Planning Process

In this Issue

Opening Remarks

Many planning processes stall because those who could be affected aren’t involved in the process itself. In this edition of Transforming Challenges, Senior Consultant Maureen Gallagher offers some tips for keeping participants engaged and energized.

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 subscribefor themselves. They’ll thank you—and so do we!

The Reid Group News

  • We are very pleased to welcome our newest Senior Consultant, Rick McCord. As the former Director of the Secretariat of Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Rick brings a wealth of experience to our consulting work. He will focus on dioceses and religious communities. For more, see below for our interview with Rick.
  • Maureen Gallagher is working with The Grail, an international women’s organization, on Board Development.
  • We have been hired by Providence Hospital in Anchorage, AK to conduct a search for a Director of Ethics. Sue Secker and John Reid are the consultants for this search.
  • John and Sue will also conduct a search for a Director of Spiritual Care for Providence Hospital in Olympia, WA.
  • John and Maureen have been hired by the Sisters of Mercy, West and Midwest Province, to facilitate their 2013 Assembly in Chicago.
  • The second in the Strenthening Catholic Identity series The Reid Group is producing in conjunction with the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities has been published on the topic of “Visibly Catholic.” You can read this pamphlet as well as the first in the series, “Mission Leaders,” on our web site.

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.

Quotes for Inspiration and Action

[People] often become what they believe themselves to be. If I believe I cannot do something, it makes me incapable of doing it. But when I believe I can, then I acquire the ability to do it even if I didn’t have it in the beginning.
Mahatma Gandhi

When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free.
Catherine Ponder

We are formed and molded by our thoughts. Those whose minds are shaped by selfless thoughts give joy when they speak or act. Joy follows them like a shadow that never leaves them.

We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily differences we can make which, over time, add up to big differences that we often cannot foresee.
Marian Wright Edelman

Most people do not receive nearly enough appreciation. How can this be when appreciation is free, easy, and readily available? All you have to do is speak. Go give some away now.
Roberta Shaler

Feature Focus

Engaging People in a Planning Process


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. Engaging them in various and innovative ways stimulates creativity and enhances the chances that the plan will actually be implemented. Five best practices for engagement are briefly described below. We’ll give you five more in the May newsletter.

Getting people to realize and accept the fact that now is the time to plan can be a major hurdle for some. A short film “We are the Ones” (Star Thrower) can inspire the tepid to “let go of the shore” and jump in the river because now is the hour! Putting off planning can be a recipe for disaster. Planning with a group can provide the support and imagination to build a strong plan.

User Friendly Data 
Planning needs to be built on reality. Reality is found in facts, figures, and attitudes. Facts and figures can be graphed to make them easily accessible. Attitudes can be measured on Likert Scales or agree/disagree statements. Whatever can get to the heart of the matter quickly so people know the reality they are dealing with needs to be employed.

Solidarity with the Past 
A brief and creative “history lesson” showing the roots of the organization, noting its purposes, the changing times, the presenting opportunities and challenges can give people a sense of solidarity with those who have gone before them.

Prayer and Faith Sharing 
For faith based organizations, taking time to reflect, pray and share is at the heart of sharing the past, living in the present and being animated for a great future. For organizations that are not faith based, the same pattern of reflecting on the past to shed light on the present and prepare the group for the future is worthwhile and provides a sense of stability. At the same time it gives confidence to move into uncharted waters.

Capturing Wisdom 
Planning, while logical, is not always linear. To help creativity blossom have a “Wisdom Wall” of newsprint prominently displayed. Distribute colorful “post-its” and invite planners to add to the Wisdom Wall as ideas come to them. Often it is the “what if…” ideas that are generated which become the heart of creative planning. Provide time for all to stroll past the Wisdom Wall for ideas.

Next month: Five more best practices.


We Are The Ones

We Are The Ones is Star Thrower Distribution’s inspirational short program that encourages us to look to ourselves for leadership and positive change. Taken from “A Message from The Elders,” Hopi Nation, Oraibi, Arizona, We Are The Ones will help any organization come a step closer to recognizing and achieving their goals.

The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal 
Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz

As Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz demonstrate in their groundbreaking New York Timesbestseller, managing energy, not time, is the key to enduring high performance as well as to health, happiness, and life balance. Their Full Engagement Training System is grounded in twenty-five years of working with great athletes — tennis champ Monica Seles and speed-skating gold medalist Dan Jansen, to name just two — to help them perform more effectively under brutal competitive pressures. Now this powerful, step-by-step program will help you to mobilize four key sources of energy and balance energy expenditure with intermittent energy renewal.

Feature 2

An Interview with Rick McCord

The Reid Group is pleased to welcome Rick McCord as our newest Consultant. Rick began work with us on April 1 after 24 years with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington D.C. Rick’s extensive experience in planning, program management and leadership development is a valuable addition to our efforts to provide our clients with excellent, comprehensive services.

After almost a quarter of century working with the U. S. Bishops, what led you to say yes to The Reid Group?

Well, for one thing, it’s pretty hard to say no to John Reid! His enthusiasm for the work you do is contagious, and I was intrigued by the possibility of using my experience and talents in a new environment. I have known many of the people involved with The Reid Group for many years and I look forward to working with them and learning from them in new ways.

From your perspective, what are some of the issues in the next five to ten years that will be particularly challenging for our clients?

I can really only speak to the challenges facing the Catholic community, based on a lifetime of work at the parish, diocesan and national levels. But many of the challenges the Church faces also affect other organizations and institutions as well.

Demographic changes: The aging of the population means that in the next ten years, a huge number of priests will be retiring or scaling back their ministry. There are replacements, of course, but not in large enough numbers to close the gap completely. Increasingly, we will need to find other ways to staff parishes.

The growth of the Hispanic population is another demographic change with far-reaching ramifications for the whole country, not just the Church. Twenty-five years ago, it was only the dioceses close to Mexico or Cuba that had significant numbers of Hispanic people-today, every diocese needs to find ways to serve this group of parishioners.

Technological changes: We are undergoing seismic changes in how we communicate with each other, especially with the rise of social media and other tools we didn’t have 10 years ago. The Church which, when you think about it, is all about communication and community, has been fairly slow to embrace these new media. That is changing, however, as more bishops create their own blogs and parishes are finding new ways to be the place “where two or three are gathered.”

Accountability and transparency: The media spotlight has sensitized people to the issue of sex abuse-and that’s a good thing. It has also raised expectations about screening of candidates for ordination and the transparency of diocesan operations in general-also good things. If the Church is to stay vigilant on this matter, parishes and dioceses need effective strategic planning and leadership development processes. The Reid Group can be a tremendous resource to organizations in this and many other areas.

What are you most looking forward to as you begin work with The Reid Group?

The mission of The Reid Group-“to help leaders and organizations transform challenges into opportunities to create a better world”-captures my imagination. Creating a better world is a pretty tall order, and I want to be a part of an enterprise that helps organizations see beyond their challenges to the opportunities they have to create that better world.


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 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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