March 2016: 10 Characteristics of Successful Diocesan Planning

eNews Masthead - Transforming Challenges
In this Issue

Opening Remarks

For almost 20 years, The Reid Group has assisted dioceses and archdioceses with strategic planning processes.  In this edition of Transforming Challenges, we identify the ingredients that our experience tells us are key to the success of these projects.

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 is working with the Archdiocese of Winnipeg as they implement the recommendations from Tom’s study of the Stewardship Office and review of the Annual Appeal.
  • Maureen Gallagher and John Reid continue their work with the Sisters of St. Anne in Marlborough, MA on implementation of their new three-year strategic plan, “On Fire for Life.”
  • Maureen Gallagher will facilitate the upcoming Community Days for the Sisters of the Humility of Mary.
  • John Reid, Tom Reid, Karen Castellon and Cleo Molina will conduct regional training sessions March 15-16 in the Diocese of Trenton as Faith in Our Future moves into the cohort phase of the planning process.
  • Maureen Gallagher facilitated a city-wide parish planning process for four parishes in Waukesha, WI.  The parishes, while remaining individual communities, will share one pastor and some associates by 2017.  They are developing one plan for all four, with varying action steps for each parish.

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.

The Reid Group teleseminar series

What are some of the healthy practices that enable you to grow stronger through adversity and loss?

You are invited to the next  Reid Group Teleseminar:

March 23, 2016
4pm ET / 3pm CT / 2pm MT / 1pm PT

Session Focus: Growing Stronger by Overcoming Trauma, Loss & Grief

In an engaging and reflective experience teleseminar participants will have the opportunity to call to mind a trauma or loss that they have experienced or are currently dealing with. Healthy practices to move with and through trauma, loss and grief will be explored.

To register for this teleseminar, simply click here.  Materials and resource information to be used on the call will be sent to all registrants.

Space is limited, so register today.

If there is a topic you would like to see us explore, send your suggestions to

Feature Focus

10 Ingredients of Successful Diocesan Planning

At The Reid Group, we facilitate strategic planning processes for many kinds of organizations, with a special focus on helping dioceses and archdioceses. In almost twenty years of experience, we have identified elements of planning that are particularly essential to the success of diocesan planning:

#1  Pascal Mystery

The Paschal Mystery is at the heart of effective planning and implementation processes. In a similar way that Jesus’ life, death and resurrection leads to new life, planning processes that honor the life, struggles and new possibilities for diocesan life can also produce new life and new opportunities.

#2  Prophetic Planning

Our approach that we call Prophetic Planning is what distinguishes us from many other planning firms. The ultimate goal of our approach is to help a diocese discern the movement of the Spirit and God’s will through honoring the past and being centered on realities of faith, conversion and healing while also having the courage to be bold and creative.

#3  Managing Change

On personal, practical and organizational levels, planning and implementation processes are all about managing change through effective communication, working hard to lessen resistance to change and building trust in those leading the change process.

#4  Listen to the Resistance

Careful listening to people throughout the planning and implementation processes is necessary in order to understand the causes of resistance to change and to lessen that resistance. According to the Alban Institute, there are five key reasons why individuals and groups resist change:

  1. A desire not to lose something or someone of value–personal investment
  2. A misunderstanding of the change and its implications
  3. A belief that the change does not make sense for me or for us–the “why” of change is never answered sufficiently
  4. A low tolerance for change
  5. A limited trust in those leading the change

#5  Shared Vision

For a diocesan-wide project, having a shared vision for the desired end result of planning is absolutely critical. This vision should be expressed through clear and understood project goals and assumptions as well as accepted criteria for viable parishes and vibrant schools.

#6  Custom Design

Every planning process must be custom-designed because each local Church is both unique and distinctive.

#7  Diocesan Planning Commission

The appointment of a diocesan Planning Commission (with both lay and ordained members) adds to the credibility of a planning and implementation process and builds trust in those leading the project.

#8  Implementation

The planning process must lead directly to an implementation process. The keys to this transition are good communication and clear directions for leadership on how to move forward over the next year and beyond.

#9  Regional Training

Training sessions for parish and school leaders at each phase of the planning and implementation process are needed to equip them to deal well with the future structures that will emerge and with change. People do not feel so alone when they experience the reality of other parishes and schools going through their own transitions.

#10  Accountability

Accountability is key to the success of implementation. Developing action plans and presenting regular progress reports assures accountability and strengthens the viability of parishes and schools–the primary goal of the planning and implementation process.

There are a lot of “moving parts” that affect the success of a strategic planning process, but our experience tells us that careful attention to these ten ingredients will go a long way toward assuring that success.


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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