July 2013: Planning–The Heart of a Sustainable Future

In this Issue

Opening Remarks

Planning is vital for organizations seeking to assure their sustainability into the future.  In this edition of Transforming Challenges, Senior Consultant Maureen Gallagher describes the  mission, values and vision components of successful planning.

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

  • John Reid and Maureen Gallagher joined Timothy Cardinal Dolan last month in a successful presentation to the priests, deacons and leaders of women and men religious in New York on Making All Things New, the upcoming parish restructuring project.  Introducing John and Maureen as principals in “the acclaimed Reid Group,” Cardinal Dolan expressed his trust in their assistance with this vitally important project.
  • Tom Reid, Carol Guenther and Kevin Reid will be participating in “Healing the Heart of Democracy,” a series of workshops presented by the Center for Courage and Renewal and featuring Parker Palmer.   The Reid Group is a sponsor of the event.
  • John Reid and Maureen Gallagher will facilitate the Community Days for the Sinsinawa Dominicans on their theme, “. . . Boldly Together . . .”  Barbara Marx Hubbard will speak on one of the Days on “Thank God Our Time is Now.”
  • Rick McCord represented The Reid Group in Anaheim CA at the meeting of the National Leadership Roundtable for Church Management last month.
  • Maureen Gallagher will go to Orlando FL in mid-August for the Leadership Conference of Women Religious assembly.  If you’re there, make sure to stop by The Reid Group booth.

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

Hope is the thing with feathers, that perches in the soul, and sings the tune without words, and never stops at all.
Emily Dickinson

When it comes to the future, there are three kinds of people: those who let it happen, those who make it happen, and those who wonder what happened.
John Richardson, Jr.

Don’t be pushed by your problems. Be led by your dreams.

Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.
Maria Robinson

Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love, time is eternity.
Henry Van Dyke

Feature Focus

Planning: The Heart of a Sustainable Future

maureengallagherwebMaureen Gallagher, Senior Consultant,
The Reid Group

For communities or organizations to ensure sustainability–their existence into the future–they need to be clear about why they exist, what is their purpose and identity, what are their values or operating principles or beliefs and what is their vision for the future.  These planning fundamentals are essential for future organizational development and sustainability.

Mission statements articulate the reason the organization exists.   Mission statements for sustainable organizations need to go beyond preserving the nature of the organization toward having a positive impact beyond itself on the world.  For instance, the mission of Scouting is to contribute to the education of young people through a value system that helps build a better world where individuals are fulfilled and play a constructive role in society.

An example of a religious community’s mission impacting the world is found in its “recognizing its call to proclaim the Gospel through the ministry of preaching and teaching in order to participate in the building of a holy and just Church and society.”  A parish mission statement points beyond itself to “Live the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Commit to worship and lifelong faith formation.  Serve others in need.”

Value statements speak to how the organization intends to function-what are its operating principles.  They are essential to all planning processes. If an organization is committed to sustainability both on a micro and macro level, the way it uses resources, both human and material, will be paramount.  A sustainable future is created when resources are used at a rate equal to or less than the rate at which they are created.  Values in sustainable faith based organizations often include:  practicing good stewardship of resources; reverencing the earth as created by God, respecting the dignity and life of each person, honoring the presence of God in each person and all created things.  One of the enemies of sustainability is consumerism or materialism where one’s value is based on what one owns.  Intentional applications of sustainability’s resistance to consumerism are needed in organizations that claim to be contributing to a sustainable universe.

Vision is what keeps us going when the going gets tough!  It illustrates what we want to look like in the next five plus years.  It is often more poetic and full of imagery that motivates us on dark and cloudy days.  It points to the success of operating out of a sustainable framework.  It brings hope during times of change when both personnel and financial resources may be diminishing.  It pictures other ways to go about living out our mission, undergirded by our values and encouraged by our vision for a sustainable faith-filled world.  In faith-based communities, the vision often reflects the “Paschal Mystery” in action, finding new life in the midst of darkness.

Planning is the main girder in creating sustainable futures.  Its pillars are mission, values and vision.  When these are connected to something broader than enhancing the organization and are based on values and vision rooted in a sustainable world, they are guaranteed to create a better world no matter what the particular mission of the organization is.


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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