December 2013: Recharge Your Organization through Planning

In this Issue

Opening Remarks

Many of us equate “planning” with “booooooring!”  Not so, says Senior Consultant Maureen Gallagher and she identifies several elements that contribute to a stimulating and enlightening planning process.

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

  • Season’s greetings!  As 2013 winds down, and the holiday pace revs up, we hope you take time to reflect on the blessings and challenges of the past year and the promise that lies ahead in 2014.
  • The 12 Reid Group consultants working in the Archdiocese of New York have completed cluster training sessions for the 368 parishes that are in 75 clusters of 3-6 parishes each.  The Reid Group team is grateful for the excellent cooperation we are receiving at the parish, cluster and archdiocesan levels.
  • The next in our teleconference series will be held on January 23–see below for more information.
  • Lucien Roy, Greg Cascione and John Reid will be facilitating the first of three parish meetings at St. Pius X in Granville MI, moving toward a parish plan.  The plan will be finalized in June 2014, with implementation beginning in July for a five-year period.
  • Maureen Gallagher facilitated a meeting of the leaders of the National Catholic Mission Association in Washington D. C. earlier this month, looking at the viability of each organization and finding ways to thrive, not just survive.
  • Maureen Gallagher is conducting a search for the San Jose Dominicans for a half-time Director of Human Resources.   Contact Maureen with a letter of interest and a resume if you are interested.  The deadline is December 20.

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.

We are pleased to announce the next in The Reid Group teleseminar series.

You are invited to attend our call on January 22, 2014 at 5 pm ET. The call will be co-hosted by Tom Reid and Maureen Gallagher, Senior Consultants with The Reid Group.

At The Reid Group, we are focused on helping leaders and organizations meet the challenges that threaten their future viability as an organization, and to transform those challenges into opportunities for new growth. We created the Sustainable Future Audit tool to help leaders discern the precise nature and scope of their challenges so they can address them in a comprehensive way.

During this teleseminar, important questions and suggestions will be presented for how to support your current leaders, identify and develop leaders from within your organization, and recruit new leaders. 

Feature Focus

Strategic Planning:  Use it to Recharge Your Organization


Maureen Gallagher, Senior Consultant

Planning is a great opportunity to re-energize faith-based service organizations.  It provides an opportunity to study the current reality, to look for trends and to express a bold preferred future.

Four factors contribute to the power which planning can bring for an organization:

The involvement of those who will be affected by the plan.
This includes staff, those served (parishioners, students, health care providers, dioceses, school systems, the marginalized, etc.) and the stakeholders (boards, leadership teams, councils, benefactors, etc.)  There are many ways to invite people to be part of the process:

  • user friendly on-line surveys
  • planning retreats
  • focus groups
  • town hall meetings
  • one-on-one interviews

Many successful groups use a combination of on-line processes and group interactions.

Collection of data.  
Effective planning for the future involves understanding past efforts and using what is relevant to today’s realities.  Building on quantifiable data going back 3-5 years is essential to successful planning.  It is important to collect data about those served as well as those doing the serving.

Besides personnel data, the financial realities involved in serving, including all streams of revenue–fees, endowments, annual giving, and various forms of third source funding–are critical to planning for the future.  The data itself does not tell the story.  It is the analysis of the data that contributes to planning efforts.  Answering questions like:  What are the trends indicated by the data?  What is increasing, decreasing, remaining stable?  This is the rational basis for planning.

Understanding the strategic issues facing the organization.
Strategic issues often arise from the analysis of data.  They may involve environmental factors which we have no control over–changing demographics, the rising use of technology, conditions of property, political factors in the church and world, etc.  They often call for us to make changes “in the way we do things.”  They challenge us to be bold.  Sometimes the issues involve growth; sometimes diminishment; sometimes total disruption; sometimes a windfall of opportunities.

Bonding and deepening cohesiveness.
The “extra rational” added benefit to involving many participants in planning is that people have the opportunity to develop or deepen relationships. Conversations about the data help us imagine a preferred future, to dream things we never thought possible, to truly be innovative, and to “try on” what it might look like, if we were 10 times bolder.

A process which maximizes the power of planning involves opportunities for storytelling, for faith sharing and for visioning.  Planning opens the door to looking at the “heart of the matter,” and to share what that means.  Planning gives rise to loss, to “letting go” and the need to grieve together.  It challenges people to see what they value most.  In dealing with limited resources, groups prioritize their actions based on their mission, values and vision.

Planning, done well, has the power to revitalize relationships within the organization/community as a whole.


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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